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Nov-7-2012

Supervisor Eric Mar is re-elected for another term

After a hard-fought race for District 1 Supervisor, incumbent Eric Mar came out on top last night, earning 54.0% of the vote.

Challenger David Lee received 38.5% of the vote, despite his list of impressive endorsements from the likes of Senator Dianne Feinstein and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, and campaign funds that neared the half million mark.

Lee tweeted this to supporters towards the end of the night: “A big THANK YOU to those who helped the campaign…my staff, my wife & family, my volunteers and all the residents!”

The District 1 race set a new record for campaign “soft-money” spending. SF Appeal reported over the weekend that “there was $714,745 in third-party spending in District 1″, the most in any San Francisco district election.

SFAppeal went on to report that of that spending, “$550,806 was spent on supporting Lee or opposing Mar, and $163,939 was spent on supporting Mar or opposing Lee, according to records.”

The spending was very evident here in the neighborhood, as most residents’ doorways were papered with campaign flyers from both candidates nearly every day, and campaign workers were out in force across the neighborhood for the last week.

Sherman Dsilva, the third candidate in the race, earned 7.5% of the vote in last night’s tally. Not bad for a man who pledged to only spend $500 on his entire campaign. Dsilva fared much better in our poll here on the blog, where he earned 16% of the votes.

Mar did not post any statements on his website or social media last night about his win, but told the Chronicle, “Richmond District voters have sent a strong message that our neighborhood is not for sale,” making reference to the pace of Lee’s campaign spending which far surpassed Mar.

For more results from yesterday’s election, visit sfgate.com.

Sarah B.

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9:30 am | Posted under Eric Mar, Politics | 234 comments
  1. Susan said:

    Mr. Mar- the residents of the ‘hood would like you to focus ON our neighboorhood for the next 4 years, yesterday after voting I walked down Clement…. the busvan for values building is STILL empty, it’s been over 5 years…. there are so many empty storefronts throughout the Richmond – stop positioning yourself for whatever your next political goal is & be a representative of the people of the Richmond. Perhaps a chain store or two would bring MORE business & allow the residents of the area to shop close to home. No more Happy Meal projects…… show what you can do within our city and area.

  2. Leigh said:

    I have got to refute that doors were papered everyday by both Mar and Lee. Lee’s papering well outnumbered Mar’s.

  3. BigHeart said:

    Anyone who covers the neighborhood with those stupid door hanger papers should never, ever be allowed to refer to themselves as “green.” Unlike phone books, political speech is more protected than commercial, so there’s nothing to be done about it other than throw them right in the recycling as soon as you get home.

    Regardless of the outcome, I’m just glad this whole thing is over with. Now I can go about my life without being bombarded with election stuff, even though I knew how I was voting months ago.

  4. Derek said:

    :^{

  5. Derek said:

    Did you know that those people standing on corners holding Mar signs were shipped in from Chinatown and paid $60?

  6. Peter Lauterborn said:

    Susan- Thanks for the comments. And so you know, this is the work Supervisor Mar has been working on it. For example, he brought in Grocery Outlet to 27th to fill that space. He isn’t opposed to chains, but just doesn’t want ones that supplant existing businesses.

    On Clement Street, our office got their merchants association back up and running and are helping get their December 6 “ClemenTime” street party going. And without sharing too much of private conversations, the Busvan site is empty to help ensure that any new business is a great neighborhood fit. The owner is just being patient.

    BigHeart- I totally understand your point. And while many did make up their minds early, others did not. A campaign does need to, well, campaign. But unlike the David Lee campaign, our team focused much more on actual interaction with voters and not just mail + doorhangers.

    Derek- Those people were not directly affiliated with our campaign. But they are San Franciscans. The Lee campaign had been hiring outside people for weeks.

    Big picture: Our office is here to serve the Richmond and the City as a whole. Always feel free to contact us directly.

    Peter “Third Aide” Lauterborn
    Legislative Aide
    Supervisor Eric Mar, District 1
    Peter.Lauterborn@sfgov.org
    Office: (415) 554-7411

  7. ClementStResident said:

    An important victory for the Richmond District and San Francisco. This incredible double digit win by Mar is an indication that Mar’s progressive policies are what our neighborhood needs/wants for another four more years. Mar cares about our neighborhood and every single person in it. I look forward to working with him and his office, to ensure that our neighborhood needs are met! I’m excited for the opening of the Grocery Outlet, the renovation of the Alexandria Theater, and the Richmond’s first parklet, and so many other improvements that Mar has championed!

  8. Greg said:

    I am so relieved that Eric won! And I do mean relieved. Elated would be too strong a word, because I haven’t been thrilled with every vote he’s taken… 8 Washington, Mirkarimi, etc. But Eric is decent, and wow… the alternative would have been absolutely dreadful.

    Eric Mar won for a number of reasons.

    1. His campaign was true grass roots, while Lee’s was pure astroturf. I don’t know if someone was paid to hold a sign on the last day, but I’ll say that none of our canvassers and phonebankers were getting paid. The other side relied MOSTLY on paid canvassers, with a minority of real neighborhood volunteers. And it showed. Just like money can’t buy love, money can’t buy grassroots. Real grassroots is done from the heart; fake grassroots paid for at $15/hr will never match that.

    2. The money itself was just overkill. It’s probably going to be a million bucks spent for Lee when all is said and done. And people just got turned off. Voters can be manipulated, but this looked like such blatant theft that it was becoming obvious that someone very rich was just trying to purchase the election. My elevator pitch toward the end went something like this: “Think about what kind of people have this kind of money. These people don’t make donations. They make investments. And if their candidate wins, they’re going to want a return on that investment.” Folks got the message.

    3. The issues. The anti-Eric stuff didn’t resonate. The other side tried to pin a whole lot of dirt on Eric -happy meals, support for freeing political prisoners, a joke about hot tubs, neighborhood schools, non-existant official misconduct (possibly the biggest whopper of them all), and most disgustingly, some opponents tried to turn his divorce into a campaign issue. Well guess what? Nobody gives a rat’s behind about that stuff. Maybe the neighborhood schools… but even that is unclear. Yes, a majority of D1 voted yes on H because everyone wants to get the school they want, and people vote their self interest… but a lot of people didn’t… and even among those who did, a lot of folks understand that Eric has to take the interests of the whole city into account, and most importantly, the Board of Supes has no control over the issue.

    So what did resonate? Rent control resonated. That’s what the real estate money was really all about. And the message got out. They wanted this seat, and BAD. Renters got the message that the candidate not funded by realtors and Ron Conway was the only one who’d protect their interests. Jobs resonated. MUNI resonated. All that stuff, Eric is solid on. He’s done everything a supervisor can in order to fill those vacant storefronts (which are not his fault, but a result of the economy that national Republicans drove into the ground); he’s pushing for BRT, 5 Fulton Express -what more do you want? I think people didn’t have any problems with the job he’s done as supe.

    4. Mar himself. You may not know it from all the nastiness, but Eric Mar is just one of the nicest people in politics. He was a consensus builder on the school board who dramatically changed the tone after we booted the likes of Heather Hiles, and he carried that over to the BOS. But at the same time, he stands for what’s right… *almost* always. And incidentally, I just want to say that many of us do like the fact that our city government pushes the envelope on national issues. Yes, we need to take care of the local first (which Eric does), but I also think it’s valuable to make your voice heard on the national. It’s one of the things I love about living here. We push the envelope. You want a city council that deals only in dog poo and bus routes, you got San Jose and Merced and Vallejo and a hundred other character-less bland cities for that.

    5. Mar’s campaign was a professional operation. What they lacked in money, they made up for by working smarter. One of the organizers came out of OFA, and it showed. Lee’s approach was brute force -collect massive amounts of money, and carpet bomb the Richmond with dead trees and an army of paid mercenaries. But for all the overwhelming cash, it was nowhere near as well executed as Mar’s campaign. It would have made the difference in a close race, but because of everything else I mentioned, it wasn’t close.

    Incidentally, the poll on this blog turned out to be the most accurate poll I’ve seen in any supervisor race in the city… ever, actually. Go figure!

    I was a little surprised -both by the fact that the readers of this blog responded the way they did, and by the accuracy. Some of the comments on this site made me cringe (see the article about the debate). I’m glad that the haters don’t represent the real majority. Maybe I should never have doubted the good people of the Richmond. They give me a scare every four years, but in the end they come down on the side of Good. 4 out of 4 times now, we’ve elected decent, progressive Supervisors. Sure, we flirt with some pretty unsavory characters, but in the end we’re all right here in the Richmond.

  9. tarniv said:

    I have to say I’m pleased that Eric Mar won the election, but my vote for him was definitely with great hesitation. Had David Lee not received the third party funding he did, I’d have voted for him. But there were just too many red flags there, and ultimately, better the devil you know… I’m also immensely pleased that the Supervisor made the right decision on the Sheriff. Had he voted to reinstate him, he would’ve completely lost my vote.

    I hope that Supervisor Mar will take this time to reflect on the fact that his victory was narrow, and many of his constituents are not happy with many of his priorities. I still feel like he was completely absent when the predatory ADA lawsuits were hitting local businesses, and his fixation on happy meal toys has literally done nothing but made us a joke. I think if he works to help out his constituents, and avoid far reaching political goals, he’ll gain the approval of a much larger portion of the Richmond.

    Congratulations to Supervisor Mar!

  10. Rachel said:

    Congrats, Supervisor Mar!

  11. nancydrew99 said:

    I voted for D’Silva because he was the only candidate that seems fed up with the general dirtiness and “state” of the Richmond District. I’d like someone in office who really focuses his efforts on those/the District residents who vote him into office instead of being distracted by trivial issues (hello Happy Meals). Maybe Eric Mar will focus a bit more on District 1 in the future. I’d be happy if we could start by educating the people that live in the District that illegally dumping your unwanted furniture and trash on the sidewalks IS NOT OKAY. #crankywhitelady

  12. LuLu said:

    I just hope he will work to guarantee anyone here can send their child to school here, it is only fair. It really ruins your life to live near a school and have your child sent far away. I hope he can find a way to guarantee it. Washington had better test scores when it was the Richmond. Our kids work hard. My son should be able to go to Washington. I hope he will fix this.

  13. Gman said:

    He is a self serving oxymoron! Getting Grocery Outlet should not be considered an accomplishment and neither should Fresh n Easy or CVS. More garbage for our neighborhood just like all the campaign trash on my doorway. His lack of skill is also reflected in the eyesore that is the Alexandria and the ADA b.s. that these mom and pop merchants suffered thru. His crowning achievement the happy meal deal and ultimate buffoonery was in full display on the Daily Show. I agree that perhaps the devil we know was re-elected and he did the right thing by voting against the sheriff’s re-instatement but what else was he to do if he wanted to be re-elected. The guy is only out for himself and doesn’t care about his constituents. I am always optimistic but I am not holding my breath on this one.

  14. Route53 said:

    I agree with Susan & Gman & nancydrew99, and don’t think Pete gets it. That is all rhetoric. Actions speak louder than words. I live one block outside of the district (but used to live in that district for many years). and wish I could still vote in it.

    The filth and lack of responsible community is becoming overwhelming. Grocery Outlet is not a great deal. And the landlord of Busvan waiting for a great deal? No, he is trying not to get scammed by the people who have all turned Clement St. into a “hot mess”.

    I dare you all to stand around Clement St. at 2am in the morning. Yes those are raccoons running around on the street, Those are also Raccoon -sized rats running across the street too.

    Eric’s handlers should keep the guy away from TV and media and have him focus on broad issues and stop mettling on the diets of the people of his district. Surprised he hasn’t run off Jack’s and Burger King from Geary Blvd.

    I can’t even bring my business to the Richmond District because it is considered a “franchise”. Besides, it probably isn’t in Eric Mar’s diet either.

  15. Route53 said:

    One more thing…let’s move on….who cares how or why he won and what the other candidates did or did not have.

    Nice or Not…we need a LEADER. Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg are not NICE people. But they cleaned up one of the dirtiest cities in the world (New York) and made it so liveable. I’d rather raise my kids in “Hell’s Kitchen” than the Richmond District.

    Eric, the platform is still yours…do something.

  16. Susan said:

    Mr. Mar may not have spent a lot of money on the election mail that filled my mailbox for the last few weeks – but people on his behalf did, as most days it was 50/50 on the junk mail. And to the “third” aid – I wrote to Supervisor Mar a couple of months ago, when my company chose to leave SF due to payroll taxes, thus adding 45 minutes to my commute each way and adding another corporate bus to the streets – and I got NO response………

    And the busvan building… being patient? or waiting for a great deal on rent? I miss the scrapbook store on Clement – they had their rent raised so closed… and the building is still sitting empty. Landlords want to make big rent $$$ – they will wait & leave us with empty stores.

    My shopping dollars don’t generally go to Clement Street – they go to the mix of local & chain stores at Laurel Village, on Chestnut & Union, and now, Foster City.

  17. Jared Fong said:

    The thing is, most people don’t pay a lot of attention. In 2008, 3,000 people voted but didn’t vote for Supervisor, just in the Richmond. I don’t see a way around the door fliers.

    Maybe if as a neighborhood, we agreed everyone would attend a couple of debates, but it is hard to get everyone to agree on that, and once there’s one exception allowed there are hundreds, thousands. I feel both sides had no choice but to use fliers. The calls were overwhelming.

    They did get silly though. I too hope Mar finds a way to guarantee every child in the neighborhood can go to school here. And I think they should re-open Cabrillo and turn it into Russian immersion or anything, just open up enough to guarantee no kid in the Richmond who wants a school here can’t go to school here if they want.

    You have to realize, no incument has ever lost after a full term since they came back to district elections (Olague was in only a year). Sue Lee could have bought 2008 with 20k more, easily. Maybe 10. But being an incumbent is a huge advantage. It’s almost automatic.

    If David Lee comes back in 2016 he will win easily. There is no one with name recognition who could win. Maybe McGoldrick but I’m not sure if you can be out and come back, is it 8 years consecutive or for life? If not Lee will win if he spends half that amount he spent. A million wasn’t enough to overcome name recognition.

    Grocery Retail is a huge improvement, have to give Mar that. I just hope he finds a way to end any kid having to leave the neighborhood for school, or maybe if so say max 3 miles, inner sunset, Laurel Village/Western Addition, but not across town. And the Russian point is interesting, they should have a guarantee above others due to language issues and they look white so they really get beat up bad if they go to a school in the Fillmore, they’re seen as the man when they’re really just a confused Russian kid, this happened to a friend of mine. He permanently lost a tooth, not fair to force that.

    I also know that there were paid people on both sides. It was bizarre having people, on both sides, who didn’t care and knew nothing. Lee had people who thought his name was David Hehrmouth and left 2 hours early. Mar had people who were from Chinatown tongs working to pay back their debts (for college, opening a business, passage here, who knows) who spoke not one word of English, not even hello. It was bizarre. I’m glad it’s over.

  18. Peter said:

    From my calculations David Lee paid $70 for each of the votes he received ($550,806 for 7,876 votes).

    Talked to the “campaign workers” holding Lee signs up across the street from me yesterday. A pair of friendly latinas from the mission district who didn’t really even know who David was other than the guy who’s campaign was paying them.

    And to Route53: as a Manhattan resident in the 80s and 90s (and like a lot of NY residents) the so-called cleaning up of NYC was done at the expense of destroying some of the character of what made New York special. And even with that “clean up”, I really question your statement of preferring to raise your children in Hells Kitchen than in The Richmond. Cool neighborhood but not for raising kids. And by the way, Mayor Bloomberg and Eric Mar share the same opinions on fast food.

  19. Jack said:

    In a country in which a failed president gets reelected with a record of unprecedented unemployment it does not come as a surprise that Eric Mar gets reelected as well

  20. BigHeart said:

    Mr. Lauterborn,

    Haters gonna hate, campaigns gonna campaign. I get it.

    However, “do as I say, not as I do” is the rule here. How can one vote to ban the distribution of phone books by playing the green card and then turn around and carpetbomb the neighborhood in the same manner? (Elsbernd excepted)

    For a City that passes all sorts of “green” initiatives that affect the common person’s everyday life (no plastic bags, .10 for paper, forced recycling/composting, transit first/extra vehicle fees, etc.) – why is it that the very people who put these laws into place are allowed to circumvent them?

    Like I said before, political speech is more protected (in fact, the highest) than commercial speech. So there is no way that these flyers [political speech] could conceiveably be banned if the Seattle ruling killed the phonebook ban [commercial speech].

    I just think that people, particularly those in power, should put their money where their mouth is and actually be green – rather than just telling others to be.

    I also like the whole “oh, we did _______, but they did ________ more” rationale. That’s akin to being “kinda pregnant.” Either you did or you didn’t. And you did. Wear it.

  21. Gman said:

    I agree with Susan about spending money outside of the neighborhood. Yes I do some of my grocery shopping on Clement but I spend way more in the Sunset and the Mission. We lack interesting businesses even though our demographic is getting younger. Mar gets paid to do nothing. He is an embarrassment and he is a progressive which says it all right there. They are not to be trusted to make sound decisions. They serve themselves but play this bleeding heart image which makes my eyes bleed!

  22. Khaki said:

    To the “this proves what the Richmond District residents really want” people: No, not really. It’s what we had to choose from. One more repulsive than the other, but take a pick. And the third one? Nice guy but not enough money/exposure and perhaps too naive.

  23. Nate Miller said:

    To correct the numbers, over $1,000,000 was spent to support Lee or attack Mar by the biggest Landlord and big business interests (right now $940,000 being reported but after the final reporting it will be much larger). This should be illegal. It breaks every record by far, but is protected by citizen’s united.

    In other words, Lee and his backers spent $119/ vote and handily lost by over 15 percent!

    I’m proud of all of the 850 volunteer shifts that were filled from Saturday – Tuesday.

    Anyhow, I agree with what a lot of people said about not liking all of the trash that is produced by these campaigns. If anyone has suggestions of how to effectively get a message out without doing this, I would love to hear it. I think all sides do this because that is how you win. Unfortunately I have never seen a campaign that doesn’t send mail or door hangers go anywhere at all.

    Now that the election is over, I am going to head out and work to remove the left over door hangers, and sweep up the streets with some other folks.

    Go Richmond!

  24. Route53 said:

    Peter….I lived in Hells Kitchen in the Dinkens and Giuliani era and I can tell you the difference. If getting held up in NYC means “character”then that is not the character I want. Peter, you were a resident of NYC in the ’80s and ’90s? Of course you were? how old 5? As a Manhattan resident in the ’80s, I have property in NYC and the value improved greatly and my friend raises his kid in that Hells Kitchen loft (oh that’s right, we renamed it Clinton now). Or perhaps you liked those “wilding incidences and syringe stabbings”. Yeah, that’s character. Tell it to my friend who has permanent brain damage from her beating.

    Did you grow up in the Richmond District in the 70s,80s and 90s? I did. it was a lot better than it is today. A LOT safer and cleaner. BTW, the character of the Richmond district has changed as much as that of NYC. Not complaining about the character change (sure I miss King Norman,s Baskin Robbins, and Busvan as well as the Holy City Zoo), but the cleanliness and safety change (traffic, etc.) which has gone downhill. Rodents roaming the garbage around Clement St. is not character in my mind.

    At this moment I could care less what David Lee paid or what Eric Mar paid and who said what. Get back to business of cleaning up the district.

    PS….Yes Bloomberg wants to” limit the size” of sugary drinks. He is not out to eliminate them. He is not telling people how to raise their kids. He is all not making a laughing stock of himself and “not getting it”. Peter, as his “aide” you have a tough job to clean up after. Just guide him on the right things rather than speaking out for him….

  25. Alissa said:

    I’ve lived in the neighborhood for almost 10 years and recently opened a small business. For those complaining about empty storefronts, well, I actually did something about it and opened an interesting store. People have asked me why I would open a shop “like mine” in the Richmond and not Hayes Valley or the Mission. Because it is my home and I love it here! I am happy to contribute to the diversity of neighborhood shopping and I put the dollars I make DIRECTLY back into the community by shopping locally myself.
    I have had nothing but positive experiences working with Supervisor Mar’s office and am looking forward to continuing to work with him and other local small business owners on projects such as the ClemenTime holiday party, a parklet, and a possible farmer’s market. I have traveled all over the world and truly believe the Inner Richmond is a fabulous place to live for young people like myself, families, and the elderly. The diversity of the neighborhood can be seen on a daily basis: little old ladies grocery shopping at 8 a.m., writers and artists shopping at Green Apple and Park Life, and people from all over visiting bars and restaurants at night. The elementary school next door is filled with families who feel blessed to raise their children in such a great neighborhood. For those who think it is “dirty and crime-ridden”, spend some time in another neighborhoods like the Tenderloin or the Mission lately and watch your step. You live in a CITY, a bustling urban environment, that sometimes has (gasp!) some garbage or a couch on the sidewalk. Don’t like it? Pick it up. Call 311. Don’t blame your supervisor, take some responsibility. I am proud to live here and congratulate Eric on his win. Instead of complaining, improve your community with your dollars and SHOP LOCAL! Even better – OPEN A BUSINESS!

  26. Route53 said:

    Congrats Alissa,

    What is your store? Park Life is a great store.Green Apple, Clement St. Restaurant, Giorgios, Hamburger Haven, See’s, Blue Danube, Eat’s and Toy Boat all go back to an era of days gone by, but neighborhoods change (good for some and not for others). My mother owned 3 huge stores on Clement and California when I was growing up. They had to move eventually just like the people who shopped at her store. no sour grapes though.She moved her location to a more profitable place.

    The Richmond District is still a great residntial/commercial mix. I would even venture to say that the Mission has been more “gentrified” in some places, perhaps at a loss to some character. Of course neither is like the Tenderloin which has more demographic issues and not sure it makes a good comparison. I do hope the Tenderloin does become a more habitable neighborhood some day.

    The plight of the Richmond is the same for all districts. How do we enhance/clean up the infrastructure (school, law enforcement, transportaion,etc.) in a giant melting pot with diverse interests and scarce resources? My guess is that the people here who are active enough to demand for change are people who are vocal and say something and make requests. Sometimes those requests get anwered and sometimes they don’t. For example, I made a request for something to be done about stopping people from making U-turns at Trader Joe’s on Masonic and to prevent people from crossing the street illegally or to add a crosswalk. The MTA sent me a note saying this was not a problem.a month later, a young lady was struck dead trying to cross the street illegally.

    Personally I don’t blame Eric Mar. The Supervisor position is to represent the District on Citywide issues and hopefully focus on those issues rather than get distracted by issues.That is the only request (whether in his district or not) that the people of San Francisco can ask of him.

  27. Peter said:

    Route53… I don’t really want to get into an argument about this. But don’t make assumptions about me (and sorry if I made assumptions about you). No I wasn’t 5 years old in NYC. I’m 59 now and grew up in the Richmond in the 50′s, 60′s etc. Graduate of Washington HS. Maybe I know you. I try not to look at the past with too much nostalgia. I had a gun pulled on me in the old Doggie Dinner at Geary and Arguello by gang kids way back. We had rats and skunks and racoons cruising through the backyard when I was growing up. Lived on the LES 1981-1999, for what its worth.
    Cheers

  28. John T said:

    I’m not sure if Eric Mar won because of his accomplishments or because of David Lee’s inept campaigning? Lee was virtually unknown when he was chosen by big real estate and downtown business interest to take on the incumbent in District #1. Lee spent nearly a $1,000,000 to unseat Mar, but it was the most amateurish campaign I have ever seen. The volume of door hangers and mailers stuffed in my mailbox was unreal. Lee should get cited for pollution, because the stuff is still all over sidewalks and in the street, waiting to be washed away by the upcoming rain. The final straw for me, that told me, not only was Lee desperate, but unethical, was the hit piece by Warren Hinckle and his Argonaut. That trash rag was a vicious rant of half-truths, illogically connecting Eric to crimes committed when he was in grade school. Any politician who allows such sleazy attacks on his opponent is not to be trusted, or will ever get my vote.
    Mar gets blamed for empty store-fronts and the vacant Alexandria Theater property, but these are issues he’s tried to address, but are more tied to stagnant economic conditions. As the economy improves, I’m hoping merchants will recognize what a great place the Richmond District is to do business. I think Eric Mar got the word from this election, that larger social issues can’t draw you away for your primary role to advocate for you constituents.

  29. Derek said:

    “Derek- Those people were not directly affiliated with our campaign. But they are San Franciscans. The Lee campaign had been hiring outside people for weeks.”

    @ Peter
    So what you’re saying is that a group of seniors living in Chinatown paid by Rose Pak and bussed here to the Richmond district should have a voice on what goes on here?

    “Richmond District voters have sent a strong message that our neighborhood is not for sale,” said Mar.

    The Richmond is not for sale but YOU were bought and paid for by Rose Pak….

    As for Lee’s “paid” and “outside” people they were high school students who *live* in the neighborhood.

  30. Route53 said:

    @Peter Lauterborn All I was saying is that the rhetoric is gone and we should move on, and the attacks on the other candidates (while maybe more inept or not) is meaningless now. That said, while you say he doesn’t oppose chains, and opposes only those that supplant existing businesses, that is not his job. That is the evolution of business. It is also not his place to say if it does or not. The Russian bakeries and the other boutiques that used to exist on Clement St. succumbed to normal business evolution (higher rents and new landlord wishes). Do I miss them? Yes. But let them die on their own. As I’ve read here, if we don’t allow it in District 1, then the opportunites in District 2 will bring the large pet store in that will supplant businesses in District 1. People will shop outside of the Richmond if we don’t start giving more of the impression that we are friendly to ALL businesses.

    Yes you made an assumption about me..so I made the assumption that this is you (29 years old): https://www.facebook.com/Peter4DCCC#!/plauterborn. Sorry if that isn’t you, but I’m sure you agree that makes sense.

    Sorry about Doggie Diner….loved that place. They sold product from my grandfather. Unfortunately now the gang kids just beat up on Yale Choir boys during holiday parties. (yes that’s a bad joke)

  31. Jean said:

    Congratulations Supervisor Mar.

    All these comments tell me that there are lots of us who love the Richmond, but want to see it get even better. But there’s only so much one person can do. I’d like to suggest that in addition to asking Supervisor Mar to focus on important issues, we should all start taking more personal responsibility, too. A couple of ideas:

    Work wih SF Safe to organize a neighborhood watch on your block.
    Find a local church or community organization where you’d like to volunteer. Even if it’s only once a months for a few hours, it can make a big difference.
    Help keep the streets clean. Make sure you pick up litter in front of your house or apartment, and call 311 whenever you see dumping or graffiti.
    Stay informed and join a neighborhood organization like Planning Association for the Richmond or a local political organization. I attend lots of these meetings, and it seems like the same people always show up. We need some new blood.
    Be kind to your neighbors.
    Support your local merchants.
    Smile when you walk down the street.
    Don’t try to beat the fare on Muni.
    Tip generously.
    If you drive, please stop for pedestrians. If you walk, please pay attention when you cross the street.
    Go to City Hall meetings when there’s an important issue. Speak out, even if your voice trembles.

    Together we can make a difference.

    Let’s keep this list going and growing.

  32. Peter "Third Aide" Lauterborn. said:

    Thanks everyone! With the campaign over, I see all these as legit constituent concerns you want dealt with.

    It doesn’t make sense for me reply to everyone’s issues here. But again, PLEASE send me an e-mail and we can talk about any issue you have. It’s always my please.

    Peter.Lauterborn@sfgov.org

    A lot has been talked about: New supermarkets, educating people on illegal dumping, what Eric Mar’s legislative accomplishments are, and so forth. I want to talk to each of you. So please take me up and send me a message!

    -Peter “Third Aide” Lauterborn.

  33. Annie said:

    Two questions:

    1. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal statute. It is also a civil law, not a criminal law. Can someone explain what a local city official could do to prevent private persons filing lawsuits in federal court under a federal statute (which is the only recourse under ADA).

    2. I voted for Eric Mar for one reason only: he voted to remove “Sheriff” MIrkarimi from office. Since he was retained after all, we now have a sheriff who was convicted of a crime and we — or the supervisors who voted to retain him — in effect ratified his months of lies and denial. Somebody explain to me how that’s OK.

  34. renee said:

    BigHeart (#3 post): I couldn’t agree more with your comments. Mar and Lee: pay your campaign stumpers money to pick up all the trash (i.e., campagin leaflets, door ads, signs, posters, etc ad nauseum) that have polluted this neighborhood for months. The onslaught of the same stuff over and over was not enlightening; it was an assult. Now, thankfully, it’s over. And now, Mr. Mar, show us that you care about OUR neighborhood. And don’t disappear from this blog. It receives comments from your constituents, and you would do well to “listen in” and comment regularly. Thank you (in advance).

  35. Peter Lauterborn. said:

    Re: ADA- We are actually working with the Mayor’s office to get assistance for businesses to get the support they need for ADA compliance. If you want more info, send me a message.

    Re: Cleaning up the District: Stay tuned, we’re planning something!

  36. MS said:

    David Lee’s ugly campaigning method was one of the main reasons I voted for Mar. I hated all those door hanger ads, I could have filled a recycling bin with a week of that junk. I think that SF residents were smart enough to see through all that ad BS because we can think for ourselves. If anything, we would rather if the candidates had donated money for a good cause vs. sending out that junk, it would have probably won some major points.

    I agree with Alyssa 100%! I think people should do less complaining and do more actions such as opening up a business, help with street cleaning, shop local and volunteer. I know that I can’t fulfill all of that, but at least maybe have done a couple on that list. It is just really easy to whine about what any politician hasn’t done yet, which is useless. So instead of that, please think about what have you done to help, please do something about it. Just ask yourself – would you do a better job than Mar? If you don’t think so, then please do something to contribute or go to his office to challenge him ans offer to help.

    P.S. – I would like to see Mar doing more on the ADA issue, that prob prevents new business owners in the neighborhood.

    Congrats to Mar…Yay for Obama too!

  37. Jared Fong said:

    Yay for Obama. I must say, if Mar’s job is to represent the Richmond, it would benefit us to have a guarantee of a school here. Your job is different on School Board, representing all of SF, vs. as Supervisor, representing the children in a district with some of the best schools. It doesn’t help our residents to have the lottery.

  38. phil said:

    Solution to empty storefromts: Give the landlord one year to fill the space. After that, the landlord pays to the city the equivalent of the last monthly rate for the property before it went vacant, EVERY MONTH until the property is rented.

    There are too many landlord that sit on vacant commercial space, and simply use it as a write-off. They don’t care about the community. The above action would not only make them “care” (because it hits their wallet), it would compel them to rent at a rate that the market will truly bear. If the market is slow (like now), and a formerly $10K per month space will only rent at $7K, the rule I stated above would create an incentive for the landlord to rent at the lower rate, because otherwise she is going to have to pay the city the full amount that the last tenant paid, EVERY MONTH.

    Next, serious fines for letting the facades of commercial buildings go to slumlord standards. I am sick and tired of seeing broken down facades that make the district look junky.

  39. Jared Fong said:

    Good idea Phil.

  40. Egg said:

    …as if a *dreaded* chain store wants to lease the space and gets rejected by the Planning Commission year after year? Who owes whom?

    I believe in free enterprise and competition to keep the mom and pop stores honest and fair…

  41. Route53 said:

    Really (#38)? Are we back to dictating what people must do for themselves like what they can or cannot eat (Happy Meals)? I agree we want to fill those spaces, but THAT is not a solution. Permitting and other issues can take up to a year in some cases. Also, what if the payments on that property area above the market rate and that person is trying to re-finance. I wish the solution was as easy as you say. If that is the case, I have about 100 houses that I think are ugly paint jobs that I’d like to demand that people re-paint because I don’t like fluorescent pink, blue or green because it lowers the value of the properties around them. Incentives are good, but don’t think forcing them to happen is the proper way.

    I’m still trying to figure out the discrepancy of the “Third Aide”‘s statement (#27) and this information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Lauterborn . Can anyone clarify since Mr. Lauterborn seems to want to bury the truth. A nice clarification would be helpful.

  42. Peter Lauterborn said:

    The “Peter” in #27 isn’t me. Don’t know what truth you think I am trying to bury.

    Quite the opposite. Wanna ask about an issue? E-mail me at Peter.Lauterborn@sfgov.org

  43. Egg said:

    I live in the Outer Sunset but I do frequent the Richmond District area often (Clement St. Chinatown, Geary corridor, $5 lunch at the 6th/Geary KFC-Taco Bell which is about my standard affordable range). I’m not a fan of Supervisor Mar’s politics and goofy higher-profile legislation…but the Richmond residents have spoken.

    It is a little disheartening to read the comments listing just the one reason for voting for Mar (rent control, too many campaign flyers). Smacks of one-dimensional thinking while missing a big picture (what has he done for everyone else in the neighborhood? Quality of life outside one’s walls or political thinking? What do the other guys see?). Finding a candidate that sees a bigger picture outside of the single voter’s tunnel-visioned universe is pretty rare these days.

  44. Yana said:

    “I too hope Mar finds a way to guarantee every child in the neighborhood can go to school here. And I think they should re-open Cabrillo and turn it into Russian immersion or anything, just open up enough to guarantee every kid in the Richmond who wants a school here can go to school here if they want.”

    I completely agree with Jared Fong on this issue. There is a large Russian community in San Francisco, but no public school offers Russian as a foreign language. Russian immersion school at Cabrillo would be great and a very convenient location in the central Richmond district. I feel it’s only fair since there are many language immersion programs in the city, but Russian is not one of them.

  45. ALY said:

    I am disappointed that our district could not produce a proper challenger to the incumbent Mar to represent us in city hall. My problem with progressives is they think they know what is best for the World at large , and those who do not agree are dismissed as lesser humans in need to ‘education”. If our district was not in a dire state I would not have such an issue with our Sup. But we need someone to focus on Richmond not national issues. Our middle class is being destroyed; we have draconian rent control laws (I had been a renter for 26 years and I still thought our rent control was overboard ); our business life needs help, our streets need help, our schools need no more bussing. SFGate suggests that Mar won because he voted against Mirkarimi. At least on this issues I am in complete agreement with Mr. Mar. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Sheriff-Ross-Mirkarimi-recall-in-works-4018582.php#page-2. I have but little hope that Mr. Mar would change his attitude and start actively working for all us instead of pushing his own progressive agenda. But who knows ?

  46. Egg said:

    “San Francisco Progressives” and “Humility”. Not exactly written in the same sentence often much.

  47. ALY said:

    @Yana – I am confused why should our public schools offer Russian? I get offering Spanish, German or French – both spoken worldwide, or Mandarin – a huge population (~19.5% in SF alone) and major trading partner. But why Russian? There is just 6% of Russians living here, ( 850K of Russian speakers at home in the whole of US.) Lithuanians and Ukrainians and others do not normally see themselves as “Russians” and actually take offence when qualified as such. Not all of 6% Russian here have school age kids and not all of those who have kids want them immersed. I understand you want your child to speak your mother tongue but why should tax dollars pay for that? We just had a tax hike to pay for whatever we have . If Russian community wants a Russian cultural immersion, why not create your own after school program and pay for it out of your own pocket?

  48. phil said:

    @Route53 (#41) Really (#38)? No, we’re not using your straw man example (i.e. “Are we back to dictating what people must do for themselves like what they can or cannot eat (Happy Meals)?”. You sound like a campaign flyer.

    If permitting takes up to a year, so be it. THAT will make commercial landlords more proactive about changing the permitting process; THAT will get commercial landlords off their too-often lazy rear-ends and start looking for new tenants right away, after a space empties (or after they force someone out with higher rent and end up making as much in tax write-offs as they do from the rent, even if the space doesn’t fill!!)

    Landlords, whether they like it or not – are *community members*. As such, they are not, and have not been held to a community standard. Just look at the graffiti situation. San Francisco had to pass a law that fined landlords if they didn’t remove graffiti. Imagine that. That kind of lack of community involvement and responsibility to *one’s neighbors* is UNACCEPTABLE.

    About your straw man (“argumentum ad absurdium” – argument to the absurd) example about me trying to force you to paint your houses a certain color. Seriously, your response again looks like a campaign flyer that exaggerates for impact.

    What I’m asking for is not a certain color, it’s rather to compel commercial landlords **to simply paint their run down buildings, and fix outside facades in the first place** INSTEAD OF DOING NOTHING AT ALL – which is the current case.

    Look at the Alexandria Theater. That place has been vacant since 2004!! That’s almost NINE YEARS! That is absurd, beyond any standard that I can imagine. In that situation alone, that absentee landlord doesn’t even live here (he’s international). What right does he have to sully an entire neighborhood, causing health and other hazards, just because he feels like it. If I let my front lawn go for one year, I’m going to hear about it, and be forced to cut it. What about commercial landlords? They get off with no restrictions.

    Let me be very clear about this. Commercial landlords are NOT landed gentry; they owe a certain standard of involvement and decency to their neighbors.

    What about the buildings adjacent to the Alexandria – to Walgreen’s, and others? Those businesses also start to look trashy and unappealing because of the derelict values of the person who owns the Alexandria. In that specific case, I would love to have seen a Supervisor with guts introduce legislation that would ask the city to condemn and repossess that building unless the landlord didn’t take action within a very strict span of time. Enough is enough!

    The trash; crumbling facades; purposeful lack of community involvement, etc. is largely responsible for the sense that the Richmond has begun to do downhill.

    Out-of-community and in-community vandals and criminals are drawn to that kind decay; they feel they can violate more property and person, at will.

    I, for one, am going to let Mr. Mar’s staff know that I want action on these issues, and if nothing is done, I can guarantee that I will let whomever he runs against in his next campaign, no matter where that is, see the pictures I have taken of the insult to our community that too many of these commercial properties represent.

    Frankly, I support Mr. Mar’s attacking the Happy Meal fiasco. I like that. That said, he and other Supes in this city need to develop some backbone when it comes to challenging landlords and developers. Those two constituencies have too long had their way in this town, with commercial landlords falling entirely under the radar. Those days are over.

  49. Peter Lauterborn said:

    By the way, I think many of you will appreciate this: Eric is directing supporters to join him in cleaning up the district. We’ll be meeting tomorrow (Friday) at noon to go and pick up all the doorhangers and leftovers from the election.

    Join us at 5812 Geary Street.

    Optional Facebook RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/440954202636254/

  50. gman said:

    @ Lauterborn-Eric and David should walk hand in hand and pick up their garbage on their own. They created this stupid mess and they should clean it up themselves. Tired of this lack of accountability!

    @ Phil- Nimbys are equally at fault in every neighborhood. Do you own any real estate? It can be an extremely difficult process to get consensus on developments as well as commercial tenants. The challenge is when everyone wants input and to be heard. People can be very unreasonable. Just look at the chalet in Golden Gate Park. People are up in arms about artificial turf being installed. In my opinion that would be reasonable however none of the fields that have natural turf are taken care of properly and are riddled with gopher holes among other things that can cause serious injury. This is nimbys at work thinking they know the greater good for everyone else. Complete utter B.S.! Very frustrating to say the least. I understand that some property owners can be a pain but so can everyone else. Easy to point fingers but more difficult to find solutions. Nimbys are a royal pain in the ass and usually don’t own real estate. They feel entitled and are certainly righteous. They are progressives who do not understand compromise.

    As for the happy meal thing…no one and I mean no one should feel empowered to dictate what others do with their lives. We live in a free country. If someone wants a happy meal with a toy so be it. I’m glad Mar went on the Daily Show. He got exposed for what he really is and that is a jackass!! He deserved it and I had a great laugh at his expense.

    If Mar wants to follow someones example and be a better representative of his district he should look no further than Carmen Chu. Look at how vibrant that neighborhood is.

  51. Route53 said:

    @peter Lauterborn Thanks for the clarification. Definitely agree with your statement in #32

    Gee Phil..not sure what a campaign flyer sounds like. Just saying that I think there are better ways to get those buildings filled without telling people what they can do with their own assets. Definitely don’t like the vacant buildings and the loss of great treasures like the Coronet and Alexandria. I was being a little facetious about house colors….. to make a point. Sorry if you missed that. Kind of like how Mar missed the point in the Daily Show.

  52. Jared Fong said:

    6% Russian, 16% Eastern European. For one, some Russians put other, so it’s higher. Add Ukranian, Moldovan and Byelorussian, which language is very close to Russian and want their kids to learn Russian because it is the common language of the region (kind of like Mandarin over Cantonese) and you have a high %. 16. That includes 1% Polish and 1% Hungarian but 14% is former Soviet. You can’t offer every language, but just as many Korean and Cantonese and Vietnamese kids want to learn Mandarin, most Lithuanians and others want to learn Russian as Lithuanian isn’t that valuable but Russian is spoken by over 200 million worldwide and is a business language for many, and is very close to Ukranian, kind of like Dutch vs. Afrikaans, they’re basically dialects of the same language.

  53. nancydrew99 said:

    @Alissa

    Glad you opened up a store and are contributing to the local economy – that’s great! I try and do the same thing by shopping locally and taking care of my street.

    However, you wrote: “You live in a CITY, a bustling urban environment, that sometimes has (gasp!) some garbage or a couch on the sidewalk. Don’t like it? Pick it up. Call 311. Don’t blame your supervisor, take some responsibility.”

    I clean up trash DAILY on my block (700 block of 9th Avenue) and call or e-mail 311 DAILY to get trash picked up on the route I talk to get to the bus stop. Yesterday I put in 5 online sidewalk cleaning requests. Public education would be better than having the city spend $$$ picking up trash. We are enabling people to do the wrong thing. I just think that quality of life issues such as this are in the purview of our local supervisor. Don’t even get me started on the state of our streets, bussing kids across town to schools or the general filth and corruption that is Clement St.

  54. ALY said:

    @Jared – where are you getting that Ukrainians or Lithuanians living here want their kids to speak Russian? There is ethnically Russian population in Ukraine and Lithuania but Lithuanian language is not even Slavic it is old German based. Hungarians are not only not Slaves let alone Russian speakers, their language belongs to a rare Ugric language group.

    6% as far as I know is reflective of population which identifies itself as Russians, so if any of Ukrainians or Belarusians ID themselves as Russian they are already included. But lump summing every Easter European and former soviet republics together just because they were forced to be a part of Soviet Empire is just wrong on so many levels.

  55. ALY said:

    Correction to the #54: meant to say Lithuanian is Baltic, Old Prussian based.

  56. Greg said:

    I’m still trying to get over ALY’s statement in #45. “Draconian” rent control laws??? Yikes! We need *stronger* renter protections, not weaker! It’s already unaffordable here.

    And I love how the same people who will tell you one day, don’t worry about rent control. David Lee and his buddies the realtors are 100% pro-rent control. And then with the other side of their mouths they denounce rent control as “draconian.”

    You guys ain’t foolin’ no one. I’m glad we still have a supe who doesn’t regard rent control as “draconian,” but rather as something necessary to protect people who live here.

  57. Jared Fong said:

    Greg, what if you bought a home and could rent it out for enough to cover the mortgage, or close, but then the rents in the neighborhood go up and up, but you are stuck renting for half price. I think there should be some control, but you shouldn’t be forced to rent a $2500 apartment to someone for $850 just because they moved here a long time ago, that is redistribution. It causes people to sell homes, which drives prices down. Maybe they should cap it at 33% of income or the rent, but some people make 100k plus and pay 850 for a place worth 2500, and their landlord makes less than they do. Maybe they should means test it.

    You can always take a side job or go to night school to get a higher paying job. I don’t think landlords should have to pay for that.

    And trust me, David Lee is for rent control. I argued with him for 45 minutes at one of his cafe meet and greets. How it artificially inflates rental costs by limiting supply. If you buy a home, in my view, you have the right to raise the rent to market rates, or at least if it is less, make a cap because in some cases the renter is taking advantage of the landlord, not the other way around. They’re stealing value monthly, not fair. So eventually the landlord moves back for 2 years, because they’re being robbed monthly by this law. Who owns the place, the people who spent years saving a down payment and bought it, or the person who never saved and rented it?

    I am not totally against rent control, for instance I don’t think you should be able to raise rent 10% 3 years in a row, then double it, as happened to a friend of mine in San Jose and another in Belmont. However, I do think you should be able to say make it at least 75% of market rate, some discount to help the impoverished but as we all work hard to improve the neighborhood landlords should also benefit.

    As for language, Cabrillo was a small school. I think they could fill it up. The Richmond is more than 6% Russian, you can just tell. You can’t have a Lithuanian immersion, Polish immersion, Ukranian immersion. It sounds nice but the end result of these proposals is to muddle it and have no Eastern European immersion. Russian is the biggest group and could fill up so they should offer it. Lithuanians or others would help their career by learning Russian, and some Chinese, whites, blacks, Latinos, etc. would join for interest in the culture as happened with Japanese. Japanese immersion has lots of black kids, white kids, etc. Spanish immersion is very diverse as well.

    They should have French as well. That would fill up.

    SFUSD isn’t interested in any immersion that isn’t minority-based, regardless of whether or not it would fill up. There are fewer Koreans in SFUSD than Russians, but they’re Asian. Chinese is a big group, but it’s hard for me (Cantonese) to find a program for my kids, only if it’s Mandarin.

  58. ALY said:

    @Greg Do you rent your property out and feel your rent is too high?, Or do you rent and want your own rent to be cheeper? Just trying to gauge where you are coming from. I think our laws are draconian because they do not differentiate between owners of apartment buildings, evil slam lords, and a single apartment or small owners. But in any case this is getting seriously off the subject, so I leave you to get over my comment on your own. But more to the point, people who live here include a lot of home owners. So if our Sup, according to you always sides with renters and has no concern for the rest of his constituency, he is not doing his job. Because his job is to represent ALL, and even those who did not vote for him, instead of using his office for promotion of a political agenda.

  59. Yana said:

    “@Yana – I am confused why should our public schools offer Russian? I get offering Spanish, German or French – both spoken worldwide, or Mandarin – a huge population (~19.5% in SF alone) and major trading partner. But why Russian? There is just 6% of Russians living here, ( 850K of Russian speakers at home in the whole of US.) Lithuanians and Ukrainians and others do not normally see themselves as “Russians” and actually take offence when qualified as such.”

    ALY:
    My closest friends are from Lithuania and Ukraine, and they only speak Russian and English. Where do you get your information from? There is a Japanese immersion program in San Francisco’s most popular public elementary school, Clarendon. Do you think there are more people who speak Japanese than Russian?

    The Russian-American population is estimated between 4 and 5.5 million people (http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/249307.html).
    According to Wikipedia, Russian is the 4th most spoken language in the world by total number of speakers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_language):

    “Russian (???????? ?????, russkiy yazyk, pronounced [?rusk??j j??z?k]) is a Slavic language spoken primarily in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Moldova, Latvia, Estonia, and to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics of the USSR.[22][23] Russian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages and is one of three living members of the East Slavic languages. Written examples of Old East Slavonic are attested from the 10th century onwards.

    It is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. It is also the largest native language in Europe, with 144 million native speakers in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Russian is the 8th most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers and the 4th by total number of speakers.[24] The language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.”

    From http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/249307.html:

    - “The Russian-American population is estimated between 4 and 5.5
    million people.

    - The major areas of concentration are NY Tri-State Area, CA, IL, PA,
    MA, FL and Washington DC/Maryland.

    - The main cities of residence are New York City, Los Angeles,
    Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit, Philadelphia and
    Washington DC.”

  60. ALY said:

    @ Jarod – There is data available per zip code and according to it Richmond is 6%. I was born in Russia, and more over taught Russian for almost 4 years as my first job here decades ago. I run cultural communication seminars for 7 years for Russian newcomers. I love Russian language, and I think it is well worth it for kids to learn and keep. But I do not think it is a public school job, at least not at this moment. I would prefer money spent on math, science, advance English skills, history and arts. Just MO.

  61. Yana said:

    “@Yana – I am confused why should our public schools offer Russian? I get offering Spanish, German or French – both spoken worldwide, or Mandarin – a huge population (~19.5% in SF alone) and major trading partner. But why Russian? There is just 6% of Russians living here, ( 850K of Russian speakers at home in the whole of US.) Lithuanians and Ukrainians and others do not normally see themselves as “Russians” and actually take offence when qualified as such.”

    ALY:
    My closest friends are from Lithuania and Ukraine, and they only speak Russian and English. Where do you get your information from? There is a Japanese immersion program in San Francisco’s most popular public elementary school, Clarendon. Do you think there are more people who speak Japanese than Russian?

    The Russian-American population is estimated between 4 and 5.5 million people (http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/249307.html). According to Wikipedia, Russian is the 4th most spoken language in the world by total number of speakers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_language).

  62. Yana said:

    ALY:
    My closest friends are from Lithuania and Ukraine, and they only speak Russian and English. Where do you get your information from? There is a Japanese immersion program in San Francisco’s most popular public elementary school, Clarendon. Do you think there are more people who speak Japanese than Russian?

    The Russian-American population is estimated between 4 and 5.5 million people (from google answers). According to Wikipedia, Russian is the 4th most spoken language in the world by total number of speakers:

    “Russian is a Slavic language spoken primarily in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Moldova, Latvia, Estonia, and to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics of the USSR….”

    “It is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia and the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages. It is also the largest native language in Europe, with 144 million native speakers in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. Russian is the 8th most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers and the 4th by total number of speakers. The language is one of the six official languages of the United Nations.”

    From google answers:

    - “The Russian-American population is estimated between 4 and 5.5
    million people.

    - The major areas of concentration are NY Tri-State Area, CA, IL, PA,
    MA, FL and Washington DC/Maryland.

    - The main cities of residence are New York City, Los Angeles,
    Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit, Philadelphia and
    Washington DC.”

  63. ALY said:

    @Yanna – There is a difference between Russian population and Russian at home speaking population. I get my information on cultural and language identity from sociological surveys, research I was personally involved in; census data; academic sources, google, wikipedia, And of course we all have “friends” – and some of my Russian friends for instance do not want their kids immersed, others are obsesses with Russian culture to the point of wearing a sarafan. Most of my Ukrainian friends are seriously insulted when they are called Russian, so opinions vary.

  64. Yana said:

    ALY,

    I feel a bit insulted also when I have to classify myself as “White” on all the forms, not Russian. People in the former Soviet Union had to speak Russian as their primary language, in all the fifteen republics, including Ukraine. Also many people from Mongolia and even Germany can speak Russian. They don’t call themselves Russians, but they speak Russian language.

    I worked as a census employee on the last 2010 census, and I don’t remember a question about the language spoken at home. There was a question to classify your race and ethnicity. There was no option to put “Russian” on the form. Maybe there was an option to put “Other” and then hand-write, but I am not sure. I think that most Russian speakers (not just Russians, people from Ukraine, Latvia, etc.) were classified as White.

    In addition, I myself say on the forms that I speak English at home since my husband is American and doesn’t speak Russian. That’s the case for many many families that have only one spouse who speaks another language. Since my daughter was born, I tried to speak Russian to her, but we still speak English as a family when my husband is home. My daughter can understand Russian but cannot speak, she doesn’t have any practice or Russian kids around.

    My cultural identity is still Russian even though I speak mostly English now. Does it mean I have to forget my native language and my culture completely? Many Russians speak English to each other as well, including me and some of my friends. That’s what it means to be bilingual and bi-cultural, I believe, to be able to speak two languages fluently.

  65. ALY said:

    @Yana, I think you may have misunderstood my point. When the school districts were flush with money I advocated teaching as many foreign language as possible; as I said, I used to teach Russian to adults though, and to crate training materials and even computer aided courses in Russian. I just think that right now the money is very tight, we have teachers laid off because if the cuts, and the general level of education is really getting worse, so money can be better spent on basics.

    I do not know how Clarendon finances their Italian and Japanese programs, they have been around for a while; what I am saying is that Russian community could band together and find a way to create a Russian language/culture program for their kids. Besides, as long as we have bussing and kids are send all over it offering Russian at a school would probably be not very productive.

    As to cultural identity, that is a personal issue, and no one could tell another what they should feel themselves to be. Not sure I understand why being classified as white is insulting though.
    Data on # of Russian speakers in the US is available on wikipedia.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_American

  66. Egg said:

    SF Weekly news article on Eric Mar victory. Contains profanity.

    http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2012/11/eric_mar_wins.php

  67. Yana said:

    ALY,

    This discussion is hypothetical anyways since Cabrillo school is still closed. If they re-opened it, and had any Russian language program there, it would attract many parents and not just Russian speaking. Language immersion programs are very popular in San Francisco, as well as the schools that offer any foreign language.

    They believe that learning a second language is very beneficial for a child’s brain development. In my daughter’s current school, parents discuss their school choices for the next year and schools that offer a foreign language are on top of their list.

    There is an after-school Russian program at Alamo that I think is about $350 a month but I am not sure. What if my daughter doesn’t get into Alamo?

    I still feel it’s unfair that with so many foreign languages offered in SF public schools, Russian is not one of them. If I have to pay for my daughter’s Russian classes and spend time taking her to these classes after school, I would not be able to contribute to the school with time and money.

    Foreign languages offered in public elementary schools: Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, Chinese, Filipino.

    Information on Language Immersion Programs from the Parents for Public Schools website:

    Dual Language Immersion Programs

    Designed for 1) native or bilingual speakers of Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, or Spanish; and 2) non-native speakers of those languages. Students in the Language Immersion program are educated in both English and the target language. The goal is for students to be bilingual, biliterate and bicultural. Enrollment in dual Language Immersion programs is targeted to be balanced between ½ to 2/3 native/bilingual speakers and ½ to 1/3 non-native speaking students (generally English speaking). Students entering dual immersion programs, second grades or above, must pass target language proficiency.

    At the middle and high school levels, the elementary Immersion and Biliteracy (see below) pathways merge into the Secondary Dual Language Pathway where students take two academic classes in the pathway language.

  68. mel said:

    Egg: Who knew Mar had a potty mouth that he was willing to share with the public?

  69. Tanya said:

    ALY- the Russian-speaking population in SF is around 65,000-70,000. That includes Russians, Ukrainians, Armenians, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Moldovans, Belorussians, Azerbaijanians, Kazakhs, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Tatars, Mongolians, and so on. Historically, people from these countries speak Russian in addition on the other native languages. If some of those people don’t want to speak Russian, no one is forcing them, but they do speak the language, and most of them don’t take political disputes out on language. They understand the value of knowing several languages and aren’t foolish enough to deprive their children of that advantage, though they’re free to do so if they wish. Furthermore, Russian is the 5th most spoken language in the world. It’s one of the six languages spoken in the UN. Russian literature is among the best in the world (and even more powerful in the original language). The Russian economy is growing and they’re becoming more globalized. Why NOT teach Russian?

    I should add that both German and French are less spoken in the world than Russian. Yet you “understand” teaching those. There are far fewer native French speakers and native German speakers in SF, yet that’s not important when it comes to teaching those languages in school. This makes me wonder, do you have something against Russians?

  70. Tanya said:

    I should add that by the time I wrote that comment, a few new ones were posted which makes mine sound redundant. My bad :)

  71. ALY said:

    There are 29 countries in the world where French is official language. Spanish is official language of 20 countries. There are 7 countries where German is official language, and more where some derivative is spoken. Russian is an official language of Russia and second official in 3 more countries of which one is Belarus. Mongolians, Tatars and the rest on your list may be speak Russian as a foreign language, but by the same token some Russians speak French and German and Mongolian. So your post makes me wonder do you have anything agains the French or the rest of the world?

  72. Tanya said:

    ALY- I’m merely pointing out how flawed your argument is. The quantity of countries that speak French or German don’t matter, it’s the quantity of people. For example, Hebrew is the official language of 1 country. Gosh, that’s the same number of countries that speak Russian! Those languages must both be as equally important and equally valuable to know in the world! Swahili is spoken by more countries in the world than Russian, does that make it more practical to know?

    I’m just pointing out that if we’re talking logically, Russian is more useful than, say, German. So, I’m trying to understand why is it that you’re so against Russian being taught?

  73. Anniecat said:

    @ALY at 58 — the rent control ordinance DOES differentiate owners of small buildings. Rent control does not even apply to buildings of 4 units or less if one unit is occupied by the building owner. It also does not apply to buildings constructed after the ordinance was passed.

  74. Sam said:

    As the owner of a single-family home, I believe it’s time that the Supes took a look at the rent control laws and distinguished between multi-unit buildings and single-family homes. My biggest concern is the issue of owner move-ins. It’s my understanding that under the City’s rules, if I lease my home to someone for a year and then return to reoccupy it, (in accordance with the lease) the tenant can refuse to leave, and I must take legal action to evict him/her/them. Further, once I’ve finally been able to move back into my own home, I am barred from renting it again for 3 years. I have a job that sometimes requires me to relocate for 6 months to a year. Because of the City’s unfair laws, I must leave my house vacant.

    I’d like Supervisor Mar to tell us if he would consider changing the rent laws that apply to single-family homes and situations like the one outlined above.

    Another problem: One of the unanticipated consequences of our rent control laws is that landlords do not want to spend money maintaining rental property, since they can’t raise the rent to off-set the cost. As a result, the quality of housing in areas where there are a lot of tenants, such as the Richmond, deteriorates. I’m shocked at how homes in the area have deteriorated

    We need to find a way to balance the needs of landlords with the needs of tenants. The current rent control laws are out of whack.

    Thank you.

  75. Sam said:

    As the owner of a single-family home, I believe it’s time that the Supes took a look at the rent control laws and distinguished between multi-unit buildings and single-family homes. My biggest concern is the issue of owner move-ins. It’s my understanding that under the City’s rules, if I lease my home to someone for a year and then return to reoccupy it, (in accordance with the lease) the tenant can refuse to leave, and I must take legal action to evict him/her/them. Further, once I’ve finally been able to move back into my own home, I am barred from renting it again for 3 years. I have a job that sometimes requires me to relocate for 6 months to a year. Because of the City’s unfair laws, I must leave my house vacant.

    I’d like Supervisor Mar to tell us if he would consider changing the rent laws that apply to single-family homes and situations like the one outlined above.

    Another problem: One of the unanticipated consequences of our rent control laws is that landlords do not want to spend money maintaining rental property, since they can’t raise the rent to off-set the cost. As a result, the quality of housing in areas where there are a lot of tenants, such as the Richmond, deteriorates. I’m shocked at how homes in the area have deteriorated

    We need to find a way to balance the needs of landlords with the needs of tenants. The current rent control laws are out of whack.

  76. Nadia said:

    If Mar is supposed to represent this area, he should put it on the ballot again so kids can have a guarantee of a close school if they want it. Busing only hurts our residents, maybe helps others but if you represent the Richmond, you should do what helps people here, not in the Bayview. The Supervisor from the Bayview is to look out for the residents there, no?

    As for Cabrillo, it could guarantee anyone can go to school here who wants. If you take the Russians being sent elsewhere and have a school they can choose, and maybe one not too many non-Russians choose, you could guarantee a school for at least the Russians. It’s harder for us when we are bused because we are a culture. Chinese have other Chinese where they are sent, and there are always some white kids and white kids are better at making friends with other groups, but Russians are often nervous and like to have friends who understand their culture. I know I did. I went to Galileo and there were very few Russians, about 10 of us, and it was awkward, in the ’90s. There were more Italians than Russians, maybe 30. It was hard to be white there, blacks saw you as being oppressive but really we just wanted to study, get into college, become successful and mind our own business. We didn’t have anything to do with slavery or Jim Crow, we were being massacred by the Czar and Hitler and Stalin when all that stuff was happening. They should guarantee us an immersion school so every Russian kid has at least one bulwark option against forced busing should they choose. It would not be all Russian either, it would be popular among Mongolians and some other races. I have a good friend who is black and speaks fluent Russian because he worked for military intelligence, he’s way older than I but I talk in Russian with him at the cafe I go to and he’s a very nice man.

    As for rent control, I think you need a balance. If someone is being driven out of their home and couldn’t afford it, it’s fair, but if you make good money and are just taking advantage of rent control to steal money from your landlord that you could afford to pay and still live well, that shouldn’t be allowed. Sometimes they only allow a 2% raise and the market was 5 or 10%. Maybe they could set a base rate and you can’t go below 75% of the market rate unless you are low income, and in that case you could give section 8 money to the landlord so the landlord gets a fair amount. I know old Russian women who have owned houses for 50 years and inherited them from their husbands and are getting $550 for a house worth well over $3,000. And the people who live there make $150,000 between them. They don’t have to pay property tax, just $550 plus bills. These are pretty well off people. That isn’t fair. Maybe they could say they have to pay $2300 at a 75% max and therefore these old ladies who are living cheap, social security check to social security check, could at least afford to visit Russia once a year and eat decent food. Social security is about 1200 for one of them, not enough, she counted on that home but is getting robbed by the renters. That isn’t fair to me. She can’t legally evict them until she dies. When she dies her children can evict but if she does she has to give them more money than she has in the bank and not rent for 3 years, and it isn’t sure she will live 3 more years.

    It is just a sad situation. She inherited it from her husband 40 years ago and she told me stories of how she was brought over as a mail order bride and he was abusive to her and now her daughter doesn’t talk to her and she is all alone and living poor while these renters profit from this law. I know each case is different but Greg, it isn’t in each case that the renter is liberal and a victim and the landlord is conservative and evil. In some cases it is the opposite. Any renter with basic morals would say, forget rent control, you’re a poor old woman, go ahead and raise it at least close to market level, but these people are in their late ’50s and just keep paying $550. Next year she is only alloed to raise it to $561, 2%.

  77. Greg said:

    Anniecat,
    You’re correct of course. But I would add that it *should* cover all buildings, big and small, old and new. Tenants are tenants, and they need to be protected against arbitrary increases at the whim of landlords.

    To those who say that Mar should serve the entire Richmond, and not just renters, I think it’s instructive to remember that the vast majority of the Richmond are renters. About 2/3. Yes, there are “a lot” of homeowners. About 1/3. But keep in mind, rent control doesn’t do anything against the interests of mere homeowners. It only affects those owners who are *landlords*, which are a rather small subset of homeowners. And that subset may or may not live in the city, let alone the district. Yes, the supervisor should of course take everyone’s interest into account. But you know what? Sometimes there’s just no compromise. When BOMA is asking to weaken renter protections, and renters are asking to strengthen them, there’s really no compromise between the two positions.

    The argument that Jared Fong makes… well this is one I find particularly puzzling. So let’s see…

    “what if you bought a home and could rent it out for enough to cover the mortgage, or close, but then the rents in the neighborhood go up and up, but you are stuck renting for half price.”

    Half price of what, may I ask? Your mortgage doesn’t go up, does it now? Unless you took an ARM, but then that’s your problem. Don’t be greedy, buy a house you can afford and get a 30-year fixed, or don’t buy. But let’s use your example, which probably fits most landlords. So the market rent goes up. So what? Your rent is still covering YOUR mortgage. Your renters are still parting with their hard-earned cash building YOUR equity. YOU are still getting the big tax break, while your renters get nada for all the money they’re paying to build your equity. What’s the problem? Oh, you say you want to charge more! Not because your mortgage has gone up, mind you, but because the *market* has gone up. In other words (let’s call things by their own names, as they say in my country)… you want to charge more *just* *because* *you* *CAN*!!! Uh… sorry dude. I’m not down with that.

    “that is redistribution. It causes people to sell homes, which drives prices down.”

    From your lips, to god’s ears! Another side benefit of rent control -it drives prices down and makes home ownership more affordable. What you consider a bug, I consider a feature.

    “Maybe they should cap it at 33% of income or the rent, but some people make 100k plus and pay 850 for a place worth 2500, and their landlord makes less than they do. Maybe they should means test it.”

    First, let’s remember that if you’re paying 850 for a place “worth” $2500 on the open market, then you’ve been there for quite a while. That means the landlord has also owned the place for quite a while, and probably has a crapload of equity that the tenant has built for him with over the years while getting NO share of the profit, and no tax break. In addition to the equity that the tenant has created for the landlord with the sweat of their labor, the landlord has ALSO built up additional equity as the property value has increased, likely amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, of which the tenant will see not one red cent. Don’t pity the poor landlord -he’s doing just fine.

    Means testing is a “means to an end” -the end of rent control. BOMA and the real estate lobby know that ending it outright is very unpopular, so they look for ways to make an end run around that. One clever frame they came up with is the talking point that you just advanced. The goal is to take a large portion of the population off the rent control rolls, so that support for rent control goes down. They know that if only *some* tenants are eligible for rent control, then at that point they can start playing divide and conquer games to split the tenants and come back and do away with it completely. Sorry, we don’t want to play that game.

    Fundamentally, I don’t see rent control *merely* as a means to protect a few low-income tenants. I see rent control as a way to enforce the principle of “fair price for goods.” This is actually a very ancient notion; it’s existed at least since biblical times. The concept of fairness is deeply ingrained in human nature. It’s only in the last hundred years or so, that we’ve somehow descended into this perverted morality where greed has been elevated from a cardinal sin to an ideal to be admired.

    I reject this Ayn Randian notion that the market should be the sole determinant of prices -that landlords should charge whatever they can get away with. Just because someone makes *enough* to pay $40,000 a year for a 2-bedroom hovel, doesn’t mean they *should*. To say that someone should get to charge whatever the heck they can get away with, is the philosophy of a reptile, and I don’t share that. We need to check the runaway excesses of the blind laws of the market with human laws that are guided by sanity, reason, and compassion, and rent control does just that.

  78. Nadia said:

    Greg, in most Cities you can charge the market, people will prefer to buy in Burlingame or Arizona. The renter got a benefit for their money, they didn’t build up for the landlord, they paid for a good they received, the right to live in a nice place. They got something important for their money. I feel your thinking is communist. It didn’t work in Russia, China is abandoning it, and it won’t work here. It is unfair for anyone to rent a 2500 place for 850, just so unfair. Why should a landlord give cash to a renter? If they really need it that’s one thing but 40,000 a year is fair if the couple makes 150k. If they’re poor, maybe we should pay higher taxes on income and give that to rental subsidies, but rent control forces one poor victim to suffer. Just like the school lottery, it forces one victim who loses to suffer. Why not tax private schools, they cause the most segregation. Private schools hurt public schools tremendously. There’s no sales tax on the tuition.

    Also, I looked it up. The biggest reason poor kids fail in school is lack of trying, not where they go. Look at this article. White kids spend 286 hours a year, which is pretty low, studying. Asians spend 676, still not huge. Black and Latino kids spend less than the white total. If you add 500 hours a year to the workload of black and Latino kids, the achievement gap will disappear, though I admit we may need to raise taxes to pay for more tutors also, a public Kumon covered by a sales tax on private school tuition?

    The data shows that on average for a whole year, including summer vacations, non-Hispanic white students spend 5.5 hours per week studying and doing homework, and that Hispanic and non-Hispanic black students spend even less. At the same time, Ramey found, Asian students study 13 hours a week on average.

    Ramey said the controversy that raged over Chua’s book was caused in part by the stereotype of Asian academic success, according to UC San Diego’s news release about Ramey’s research.

    “And statistics back up that stereotype,” the news release said. Four of the world’s five top-scoring countries on academic tests are in Asia, and in California, Asians account for a third of UC admissions but only 12 percent of high school graduates, the campus release said.

    Academic success matters, according to Ramey, because it leads to financial rewards. Doing well in high school affects college admissions, and a college degree significantly boosts income. “The latest U.S. Census figures show that Asians as a group are much more likely to have college degrees and also have much higher household incomes,” according to the UC San Diego report.

  79. mel said:

    Yes, landlords should be able to raise rents based on what the market bears. Rents are high in SF because it is a desirable place in which the demand exceeds the supply. For some, property is a major source of income, and for others it may be their only source. Owning rental property comes with a risk; however, that risk should not be dictated with legislature that disallows a homeowner to compete within the market, (assuming they are not working in collusion to establish a monopoly).

    This is from someone who owns property in another state (we have not raised the rent on our property in the two years that our tenant has live there) and we rent here in the Richmond, flat that is a condo and subject to potential rent increases.

  80. Marie Zhang said:

    @Greg, you seem to feel if someone is doing well they are abusing someone or it’s unfair. Say there are two people. The first as a child studies 1,000 hours a year. They graduate from college, maybe get a postgraduate degree. As an adult, they only call in sick if they are really sick, work weekends, work late nights, and work hard to impress their boss and help their company. They always do their best, would never, for example, take money from an employer and then not work hard as you suggested with the David Lee worker. If they’re being paid, they give 100%, and over time this leads to them being paid more. When they have kids, they spend time teaching them, limit their TV, focus on their nutrition, make sure they study long hours to get good grades, etc. If they aren’t getting along, they stay together anyways and don’t argue more than absolutely necessary because their kids come in #1. They don’t drink and do drugs. They spend as little as they can, have roommates, forego luxuries to save money to hopefully invest.

    The second person watches more shows, hangs out, studies only 200 hours a year in school. They drop out of college. They don’t do their best at work, do the minimum to not be in trouble, don’t put in 100%. They have kids but let them watch TV, they don’t work hard to teach their kids or push them and just figure whether they’re a good student or not is primarily genetic. They let their kids not do their best. They drink, smoke pot, and spend every dollar they come across, never saving. As a result, they will take advantage of rent control, food stamps, welfare, unemployment, even if they don’t need it so they can spend more on their own pleasure.

    Do you think both of these people deserve equal respect? Equal pleasure in life? Should they have an equally good life?

    I feel the first person is helping make this country great and the second is hurting the country. The first deserves a far more pleasurable life, and enough to make their life higher quality despite the fact that they work more, which requires a significantly higher income. The second deserves to suffer enough that it makes them change and work hard.

    I’m not a Republican and do think taxes should go up on the rich. But I fundamentally believe this country is made up of basically good and basically bad people and we should reward and encourage the good. You seem to want to reward, excuse and encourage the bad, those who hurt us.

  81. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    Everyone should pay what they can afford. If renters had honor and only used rent control if they were poor, there wouldn’t be much of a problem, but most renters don’t have much honor, they are people who don’t save even with the reduced rent, which is why they are renters. Let’s face it, in the late ’90s and 2000s, anyone who works hard can make enough to save and buy a home here. Most renters are dishonest people who will take advantage of any loophole they can find to have more money for drugs, alcohol, prostitution, junk food, they don’t have a work ethic or basic moral values. My sister is a renter but she told her landlord to go ahead and raise it to a fair rate, because she has moral values. She is saving to buy a house one day. I bought a while back. She could have screwed her landlord over, but felt guilty and is paying close to market rate.

  82. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    Greg, I think it comes to morals. When you are taking rent control, you are hurting someone. If you need it, OK, but if not, you should feel guilty and decline this protection if you have honor and personal dignity.

    It’s like welfare and unemployment. I was making 120k as a programmer in the late ’90s. I was laid off in 2001 and jobs were scarce, I could only find work for 50k for 2 years. I could have made that much on unemployment including food stamps, other benefits. But I took a lower job because I feel you should only take government money if you have done your absolute best to take any job you can get. The same thing happened again in 2008, I got up to 140k for a while, then was down to 60, fortunately I’m back to 110k. But I never took unemployment. I would if I were starving. But I know people who say they won’t take a minimum wage job, only $15 an hour, $20 an hour. I met a guy recently and he said he was on welfare, owns a car, lives in the projects and has a free parking space, gets unemployment, food stamps and because he’s not working has an apartment for about a hundred a month, plus reduced bills. Now someone is paying for this, we taxpayers suffer. It’s not free. He’s making us all suffer each a little bit each day, and he’s making some rich people who pay a lot of taxes suffer a lot. The total value of it all is probably as much as he’d make working, even more.

    To me, for society to function, you only take welfare if you absolutely need it, not just because you can get it. I am his friend and didn’t say this, because we play basketball, but I’d be ashamed to do that. You shouldn’t take welfare or unemployment unless you can’t get a job.

    The thing is, some who have been on welfare 2 years say I don’t want to take a minimum wage job. Well what about those who have been on minimum wage for the past 3 years, not hurting any taxpayers, not adding to the deficit. If minimum wage is $10, and there is a $12 job available, in fairness these people should be able to get those jobs first as they haven’t been hurting society during that time, haven’t been hurting better, harder working, higher-earning people. They should start at the bottom, unless they learned a skill with their time. They should start at 10. That is fair. They shouldn’t hold out for 15 if that job isn’t available. In a sense, the market determins your wage. This is fair. It is what makes America great. People who would take unemployment and turn down a job offer make it worse.

  83. Sarah Fong said:

    This is why when I rent I try to only rent to Chinese or other immigrants, they have morals and won’t take advantage of rent control, which is basically welfare. I worry when I see some of the type of people here who make no effort to find a way to make more money, go to night school, take side work, etc. and feel entitled. More hippy types keep moving into the neighborhood, many who volunteer for Mar.They are entitled types, not ambitious. If they keep moving in this neighborhood will be bad like Bayview. I want people who can work hard and hold their own. I would never rent to someone I felt had the potential to demand cheap rent from the rent control law for my building. It makes me prefer immigrants and Chinese because they are more fair people who don’t take advantage. My biggest nightmare is to rent to a white guy who wants to stay forever, clockwatches at his job, leaves right at 5 or 6, doesn’t work hard, and then demands cheap rent for 40 years from me when I suffered years to buy it. I suffered many years in college, had no money, was a stripper for 8 years to get through graduate school, did some things I’m not proud of, but I blamed myself and did what I had to do, and when I’m old I won’t be robbed by a lazy white hippy when I worked so hard and lived so cheap for so many years to afford to buy a building. It is abuse. I own what I worked hard for, not you. I bought it in 1991 and have not yet had anyone demand rent control, but I don’t rent to white people or other various losers, only Chinese or other immigrants. And I graduated from high school in the ’70s and suffered as much racism as any black person, pure harassment from the whites at that time, the Irish SDI guys would grab my ass on the bus and leer at me and I figured I might as well be paid to be treated like that. I suffered a lot to earn what I have and owe no one a free ride.

  84. Alai said:

    Someone keeps saying that landlords keep buildings vacant as a tax write-off, but I doubt it. To forego thousands of dollars in income to save hundreds of dollars in taxes makes no sense. Neither does it make much sense to me to hold out for $10000 when the market’s $7000– sure, it’s reasonable to do for a few months, but not years. So there must be other reasons, and I’d like to know what they are.

  85. Myrtle Beaumont said:

    Sarah not all white people are like this and some who use the rent control law really need it. But admittedly, the ’60s really changed our basic values and some people who use rent control but don’t need it are shameless. But talk to people, don’t stereotype. My grandchildren are in their 20s and would never take advantage of rent control unless they absolutely need it, but they go to church and have good morals. Some people are just shameless, it’s really too bad.

  86. Peter Lauterborn. said:

    Wow– what a thread! I am not going to directly respond to any of the issues here but simply re-invite everyone to directly contact me if there is something they want to ask about Supervisor Mar, his plans, and his record.

    Peter Lauterborn
    Legislative Aide
    Supervisor Eric Mar, District 1
    Peter.Lauterborn@sfgov.org

  87. Greg said:

    I knew it wouldn’t take long for someone to call me “communist.” And yep, 4 lines into the very first response, there it was. I’m not, of course. I’m actually pretty moderate. I think a mixed economy is best -one where people are allowed to own property and businesses, but wherer a (democratic) government also takes an active role in society to make sure the powerful don’t take advantage of the powerless and aggressively works to reduce inequality. If someone like me, who supports a system that has elements of both capitalism and socialism, sounds like a flaming radical, well that says more about how far right-shifted this country’s politics are than it does about me.

    What I believe, however, doesn’t come out of ideology. Rather the ideology comes out of experience. I’ve been in many countries, seen what works and what doesn’t. I’ve occupied different places on the economic ladder here in the US, and come to realize that being smart and hard working is only a piece of the puzzle (luck has as much to do with it as anything else). I grew up conservative. I grew up in the binary mentality of the cold war. But I think one of the hallmarks of becoming an adult is that we can start to think about things in a more nuanced way than this binary thinking of “either you have capitalism, or it’s Soviet style communism.” Unfortunately, a lot adults in America haven’t been able to move beyond the capacity to hold only two ideas in their heads. There is an “in-between,” you know.

    And you know what else? It’s the in-between that works best. And depending on your definition of “works,” this is where we may be able to find common ground. If your ultimate goal is to become as rich as you possibly can and to hell with everyone else, well then a system where landlords charge whatever they please and employers pay whatever they can get away with is best for you. There’s really no compromise with that.

    But I think most folks want pretty much the same thing -good schools, safe neighborhoods, people living long and healthy lives, freedom and security. Well if that’s what you really want, then you need to carefully examine what kind of system delivers that best. And you need to be prepared to challenge, as I did years ago for myself, beliefs that you hold at your very core. Believe it or not, research has been done on these issues. A great place to start is to read Wilkinson and Pickett’s Book “The Spirit Level.” The woo-woo title aside, it’s an incredibly well researched book that examines a whole variety of social ills across nations. And they find something surprising and maybe counter-intuitive. If you look at a whole cross-section of social ills -crime, teen pregnancy, obesity, mental illness, drug addiction, life expectancy and infant mortality, imprisonment, children’s educational performance, and yes even social mobility…. they find that for all these variables there is one thing that correlates strongly across nations (and US states). And that variable is inequality. Not income or wealth per se, but inequality. With the important caveat that a *certain* level of wealth and income must be acheived, but that level is much lower than we may think. Beyond that, inequality is what matters. Inequality is pernicious and corrosive to the social fabric in many ways that we don’t think about every day.

    Which is not to say that everyone should be 100% equal in outcomes, but if you want to reduce social ills, then you need to work for a society that pursues much more redistributionist policies, for lack of a better word, than this one. If you really do the research, you discover some fairly shocking things that may be difficult to accept. You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that America ranks 37th in life expectancy. But you’d probably be shocked to learn that we rank near the bottom of the OECD in social mobility. Yes, that much-vaunted social mobility that our dynamic capitalist system supposedly produces… and the great American middle class. We should be #1 in that, right? Wrong. Nearly dead last. We have one of the smallest middle classes among the developed nations, and the worst outcomes in terms of social mobility -that is, being able to get out of poverty. Another deeply held belief that probably hits close to home for you “neighborhood schools” advocates: I’ve heard it expressed that when “bad” kids are put into school with “good” kids, the “bad” kids don’t become better and the “good” kids just get worse. Research shows the exact opposite is true. Hard to accept? Most definitely. But I’m sorry, these are the facts.

    And these things are hard to accept when you really haven’t lived anywhere else to compare. Even harder to accept when you’ve only lived under one other system, and that country happened to be worse. You tell this stuff to a Swede or a Frenchman, or a New Zealander, and it’s like, “Yeah, of course.” They live in it. They know it works. But here… it’s just hard to break through this mentality of “I’ve got mine and I’m not going to share it with anyone.” But if we’re going to cure many of these social ills this country suffers from, break through we must.

  88. Indoor Camping said:

    After four years of ZERO response, it appeared that Eric Mar was more concerned with Happy Meal toys than he was with the small but vital issues in his district. There was an ancient traffic signal in front of my apartment that caused several peoples’ deaths during his tenure. We had accidents once a week, and every time, the first responders told us to contact our supervisor. We did, every time. Not one acknowledgement from Eric Mar. Nothing.

    Giving up on Mar, a tenant made one email to the new Police Captain, Sharon Ferrigno, and guess what? Updated traffic lights that are more visible when the sun sets right in your eyes, heading west on Fulton in the evening. Almost immediately. Our neighborhood still is in shock and full of deep gratitude.

    Sharon Ferrigno is the reason less people are laying dead in front of my home, not Eric Mar. Some people aren’t interested in a job just to see themselves on The Daily Show. And that’s why I will continue to vote for anyone else.

  89. renee said:

    Greg (per #75) and to others on this thread who are debating the merits or problems with rent control: Greg, I thought your comments were pure poetry–you expressed my beliefs spot on. To cut to the chase: I know of no landlord who was forced at gunpoint to buy or keep a building. If you think you are being discriminated against and the majority of voters disagree with you, take your profit or cut your loses and sell your building. Just stop whining about how you can’t get “market rate” for a building you have chosen to buy. I have been a tenant in my current Richmond apt building since 1985. Before that, I rented another apt in a 4-unit building in the Richmond for 7 years, until I was unceremoniously evicted (the landlord literally hid behind a corner and then ambushed me with an eviction notice as I was opening my front door). The landlord claimed he was moving his mother into my unit (which he did for 3 months and then moved her out so he could jack up the rent with a new tenant–yeah, I sued him for wrongful eviction, but what a friggin hassle.) So life goes on, lesson learned: I will never rent a unit in a building with 4 or fewer units again. I am a model tenant. If I could afford to buy a condo, I would–and get a terrific tax write-off, which I could sorely use. But I can’t. All the money I’ve passed on to the landlord (who has owned this building outright for at least 20 years) is lining his pockets. He complains constantly about the unfair laws that prohibit him from doing all kinds of things….but he never sells the building, though good economic times and bad. So, what does that say? Must be something in it for him. He lives on the Peninsula in a beautiful house. He doesn’t need this apartment (or maybe he does, eh?). I’m not anti-landlord, I just don’t like the woe-is-me. BTW, landlords CAN pass along certain capital expenses to tenants (e.g., roof replacement), just not all at one time.

  90. renee said:

    #85, Peter Lauterborn: Peter, how about Eric Mar reading these comments–and addressing his constituents’ concerns? If he’s “too busy” to do that, you as his aide could summarize them (which is potentially problematic, but because you could misinterpret). For various reasons, people may not contact your office to discuss issues, but obviously there are issues expressed here that Mar should know about and address. We are his constituents; he needs to “put the pedal to the metal” and be visible and responsive.

  91. ALY said:

    @ Greg: Rent control is not only about rent amounts – which others addressed. It is also about TIC and Condos, OMIs, the fact that you cannot get your own place back without paying though the nose to the renters to move out. My landlord of 26 years wanted to increase my rent by 50% – he could not because contrary to what you say , his 2 unit building, in which he himself lived, was covered by rent control. Nor could he get me out on OMI besides he wanted to continue to rent. As Dilma says above, it comes down to personal choice. I did not hold a gun to his head and demanded he pay me off to move, as so many renters do in the city. I went out and actually bought a place for the first time. Only this time I had to deal with 4 people living in the TIC unit I was buying paying below the market , with 3 not even the lease ( does not matter to the city) , who were offered to buy first but did not wnat to. I was required by the city to pay each of them over 4K and 3k in addition for a ‘minor”. That is 19 K for what our city calls ‘moving expenses’ . Moving? You can move to the moon for that amount of money. And of course the renters came to me and asked for more to “avoide OIM.” If they refused to go on OMI I would have had to sue to the tune of 20-50K. I am one person working in my family, first time buyer, this is a huge deal for me.. I said no and went through with OMI for the bargain price of 19k. I call it legalized extortion. There also are endless restrictions on condo conversion and sky high fees even if you qualify, and the lotery takes on everage 8 -10 years. And meanwhile you have to pay almost twice the mortgage rates because you are not a condo, and there are only 2 banks in the whole of US that finance TICs. So yeah, I think it is diaconal and unfair.

  92. Sarah Fong said:

    Thank god many renters are moral like Aly. Rent control should be a hand up, but not a hand out. It will last another 5-10 years, but not forever, at least not as is. When I rent, I am very careful. I know some try to rent to people who won’t stay forever, which is why the Marina is so flightly, they find whites from suburban areas, make sure they are a little racist (don’t want their kids in a diverse school, even with Asians who outperform whites), talk to them a bit. My brother in law does this, has a building in the Marina (in common with 2 siblings). So there’s no community there. There’s some here.

    I do try to rent to people with good moral values, but it’s hard to predict. If I can even imagine someone being a complete ass and paying 1000 in 20 years for something that’s worth 4000 and demanding a “right” to it even while they pay 10% of income in rent or less and have plenty of spare money to save, travel, and for luxuries, kind of a phony liberal who is really selfish, I don’t rent to them. I avoid people who seem like they have that potential, but you can’t always tell. Very few Asians will do that to a landlord because they respect their own and the landlord’s integrity.

    If everyone used rent control to extort as is legal, this City would be a worse place. There are organizations which advocate people to demand every right, which is damaging to hardworking landlords.

    Now Greg, you say you demand and insist on equality. I agree, but do you also demand of white and Latino and black middle and high school students to work 800-1000 hours a year on homework since Asians are? If they are to get the same income, isn’t it fair they make the same sacrifice during their childhood and put in the same work? If they get equal income but don’t work as much, in reality they are getting more. There are some who don’t give much effort in school, don’t even pay attention to teachers or show up every day. This is usually sold by the far left as they have bullets flying around and are in deep poverty and don’t have enough to eat. I call bullshit. You go to the library on San Bruno Avenue on any Saturday and it’s full of Asian kids. You go to the park, some Asian, some white, some black, some Latino. These kids are happy, healthy, some are fat, not starving, not scared, and fully capable of being at the library but choose not to. That choice is later punished. As Obama said, no one is so poor they can’t possibly turn off the TV and study and do their homework. Asians do lots of work even when poor. We need to hold all students to a higher standard.

    And I was made fun of for studying hard, not admired. I had homework stolen, my head stuck in a toilet by black girls, slapped by black girls, for minding my own business and studying. I was called nerd, chink, four eyes, bitch. I was scared to even talk to them because they would hit me, never tried to convince them to study as I would now, but if I had they wouldn’t have listened and no one asked me why my grades were so good and how they could be like me. I had one friend who was black and she got good grades, but she was like that anyways and we connected, it wasn’t my presence that convinced her. The teacher would say my name and that I studied and did well and other kids would sneer.

    I agree, good kids aren’t hurt by poor, the stats show white kids at James Lick do as well as white kids at Presidio and Asian kids at Denman do as well as Asian kids at Presidio. But we are hurt in terms of sleep and health and emotionally. We are not admired. We are scorned.

  93. Annie said:

    @Sarah Fong –

    I’ve worked since I was 17. I have sometimes worked two jobs. I went to night school to get more skills.

    I’ve also lived in my apartment for more than 20 years and yes, I have rent control. It’s not a welfare payment. My landlord is not paying me. My landlord, who has owned the building for 30+ years, has been getting the benefit of prompt rent rent payments with no hassles. I suggest you lose your stereotypes and sneers.

    Aly, I think your landlord had some misinformation. But what’s stopping you from giving him another 50% of your rent amount, if you think the rent laws are so awful?

  94. Sarah Fong said:

    I do that Annie, I pay $2000 and could be paying $1147. Market for my place is about 2500, so I get some discount, but I try to be fair and told my landlord to raise it to 2100 in January. I won’t use laws that are unfair. The question Annie, is whether or not you can afford it or if you need it. I also own a building with my brother and so far none of my tenants has not done that. But that’s because I rent to Chinese people almost exclusively. I have yet to have someone insist on rent control, but if they do I will have to honor it so I try to make sure when renting to not rent to someone who thinks like Greg and you. I try to have a conversation and get an idea of their heart. There are Asians who do this but very few.

    I can say if you are insisting on full rent control and can afford more, this is immoral of you.

  95. Sarah Fong said:

    And Annie, he is giving you money by the force of the government’s immoral law and your immoral willingness to take advantage of him. He’s giving you money as surely as if he handed you cash. It’s the same thing. You are his dependent and taking advantage of a loophole for your own benefit. If you have higher income and are paying 20-year old rents, you are immoral.

  96. Julian said:

    Sarah, I agree rent control is often, but not always legalized theft (when the person is not poor), but so are the tax breaks given the rich because they use political power to lobby for them, oil companies, capital gains, etc. So is it when cops let drug dealers go for the money. So is it when bosses pay lower wages than they can afford and which are fair, like Walmart. So is it when people like Romney avoid taxes by having money on the Cayman Islands. So yes, this should change but so should a lot of things that help the poor. They should be changed together, not just we change but the rich don’t change. Like Prop 32, alone it seemed fair, Unions shouldn’t be able to control policy that gives their members money. But Sheldon Addison shouldn’t be able to spend $62 million on elections in one year. There should be a per person cap of $5000, and maybe a per union cap, if you limited the rich and the unions, OK. The unions do bad with donations, but the rich do worse. But no, they wanted to limit union donations and at the same time let Shaldon Addison and others do that and claim they were liberal victims being denied free speech by Citizens United. So you fix both together. No rent control reform without raising taxes on the rich, and no Prop 32 without limits on the rich in controlling elections too. Don’t sucker us in. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but we should give up this wrong when the rich give up their wrongs, and not a nanosecond before!

  97. 4th Generation Richmond Districter said:

    Dearest renters, I am not a landlord but I do own my home. Every time there is something on the ballot to raise taxes for schools, you approve it and it gets added to my property tax. Rent Control laws prohibit passing along this additional expense (that you approved) in rent increases. One upon a time my property tax bill was a single line item, it now has at least eight additional items added to it over and above the assessed value of my property. I remember renting before rent control, we signed leases, they were good for a specific period of time, usually one year, and there were absolutely no funds paid for moving out. If I didn’t like my place or neighbors, I moved at my own expense, which I did several times. I just spent over $24,000 out of pocket for systemic improvements to my home and will enjoy no leaks in my roof, no leaks from the water heater, and a quieter furnace. I will see increased property tax and increased insurance costs as the result of keeping my home safe. I saved this money by not taking vacations, dining at home, infrequent clothing purchases, no movies or other other entertainment and spouse using a 14 year old vehicle. How many decades would your landlord have to wait to recoup this sort of expense under rent control?

    It is extremely unfortunate that the Progressive agenda has gutted all funding for infrastructure so that the voracious Health and Human Services (“inequality”) beast can continue to be fed. H&HS consumes over 2/3 of the City’s money after debt service (paving streets gutted to $13 million/year so we can have more debt) payroll, pensions, employee & retiree (and their family) benefits. The City has zero Certified Arborists on payroll and trees just dying to fall on us. Hopefully the debt I will be paying for the next three decades might get one tree properly trimmed.

  98. ALY said:

    @Annie I do not know who you are and where you get your information on who is subject to rent control and who is not, mine came directly from the Rent Board and the Tenant Union and then from 3 different TIC attorneys when I had to deal with OMI. So if what you say is true, that means there is a lot of misinformation being given out . Have you been on the tenant union page lately? With calls to vote for Mar? And the little animation of hitting a fat land lord on the head with a fist? I have not seen anything so repugnantly class warfare like since I had left Soviet Union in the middle of the cold war! And even there is existed only in the movies about Social Revolution.

    What prevented me from paying my landlord more? Did I say anywhere I do not pay him? My rent became high enough though that it made sense to buy. You think that a landlord gets ‘value” because you pay rent way below the market on time? Paying on time is a renter’s contractual obligation not a value. I am not suggesting that there should be no rent control at all, or that people should be kicked out of their rentals at will. But giving landlords no option but to subsidise your housing or pay exorbitant amounts just to get their own space back it insane. And creating resentment between homeowners and renters because of these laws and polarizing population of the city is irresponsible.

  99. Julian said:

    Everyone just needs to be honest. I would never take rent control welfare because I don’t need it, I’d pay the market rate because it’s the right thing to do, bug if Greg is really poor and trying his best to make more money so he can raise what he pays his landlord to market rate or as close as possible, I don’t begrudge him. If he feels he’s hitting a fat guy on the head and just using the extra money for fun, well then he’s not a true liberal and is taking advantage. Only Greg knows if he’s being honest about it. There is a moral code with rent control welfare but not all follow it.

  100. Stormy Saunders said:

    Not every white hippy as you say takes advantage of rent control. I have a 1 BR which is pretty nice and I could be paying $876 for it and I’m paying $1500, I told my landlord I can afford 1500 so fine, charge me that, but keep the 876 on file and we can agree if I’m ever unemployed I get that until I get my job back, and he agreed. Now he could probably get $2000 for it on the open market, and I can’t afford that, but I am making significantly more money now than when I rented it for the inflation equivalent of 876 in 1990, so I did the right thing. I’m as hippy as you can get but I have morals so don’t stereotype us. I don’t think I should have been driven out of town because I don’t have $2000 or forced into the Tenderloin but I also feel sympathy for my landlord and the market rate. Maybe a compromise on rent control would be fair, like it can never dip below 70% of market, or 50% if unemployed. I must say I do feel more secure that he agreed in writing that if I ever lose my job I can pay 876 until I find another one, because I could pay that from unemployment if I lived real cheap.

    My main point is many hippies are very moral people and most of the ones that aren’t aren’t real hippies. A real hippy would never pay 850 for a place worth 3000, and a real hippy would care about the environment and never support a kid not being able to walk or bike to school. I don’t own a car. That’s another thing that could have forced me to move but my son got into Lafayette. On appeal. Greg is not representative of liberal hippies he’s willing to take full advantage just because he can and he hates people with success. I don’t agree with Greg, but I also don’t think we should pay market rate if it goes up too high.

  101. Phil Lu said:

    Greg, you are supposed to pay rent on time and before anything else. One thing you don’t consider is some people rent and don’t tell you they’ve exhausted their unemployment or pay to fix their car before paying the rent and stiff you. Once I got stiffed for 4 months by a renter before he left. In fact, about 10% is lost due to dishonest renters.

  102. RANDY said:

    GREG I’M A HIPPY AND YOUR NOT YOU DISGUST ME! YOUR NO HIPPY YOUR TAKING ADVANTAGE OF RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE TAKING A PISS OUT OF THEM! I’M A LIFELONG RENTER AND YOUR VIEWS DON’T REPRESENT HIPPIES!

  103. mel said:

    Stormy, well said. Although I advocate market rates, I do not advocate a 110% increase in rent for an existing tenants. The market rate typically goes up in relatively small increments from year-to-year. This is partly due to inflation. In booms, the market rate can skyrocket very quickly. Even if the market is showing such an increase, I think a rent increase of of 10-15 percent is much more reasonable for existing tenants in markets that reflect a rate increases. This can be reviewed annually… that is assuming you have a lease and not going month-to-month. BTW, I have never lived anywhere in which so many live month-to-month (my own landlord did this after out first year). In the other places I have lived, the month-to-month rates were a lot higher than one-year leases.

  104. mel said:

    I disagree with Greg’s commentary, but to be fair Randy, he never said he was a hippy. The whole “hippy” thing came up when Sarah made wide-sweeping and derogatory characterizations about hippies (also white people in general, Latinos, and African Americans).

  105. ALY said:

    @Greg: ‘You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that America ranks 37th in life expectancy. But you’d probably be shocked to learn that we rank near the bottom of the OECD in social mobility. Yes, that much-vaunted social mobility that our dynamic capitalist system supposedly produces… and the great American middle class… And these things are hard to accept when you really haven’t lived anywhere else to compare. Even harder to accept when you’ve only lived under one other system, and that country happened to be worse. You tell this stuff to a Swede or a Frenchman, or a New Zealander, and it’s like, “Yeah, of course.”

    Wow. That is one arrogant statement. Allow me just a few humble points:
    Things were worse in Soviet Union from where i came because a group of ’19 century progressives decided that the remedy for what ailed Russia was ‘redistribution” . What ailed Russia was really nasty, only remedy was much worse, and more over it did not cure anything it just re-distributed and magnified the problems. I find your disdain for my and others’ like me experience chilling.

    As to France – it is in recession , with 10.2 unemployment and in the middle of one of the worse identity crises ever. Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with 80% of population active in Lutheran Church – not a multinational multi cultural multi everything republic. It is one of the world’s most wealthfare state going broke with unemployment at 8.8% with the second highest taxes among developed countries. Fun fact: 1/3 of its population immigrated to the US in 3 decades before the WWII. I wonder why.. NZ. ?? Are you seriously comparing issues and economy of an island constitutional monarchy scaled for a hobbit to the issues facing the US? Or are you just looking to crown Mar? Yeah, US is the 37 in life expectancy, I hope Obama Care will address that somewhat at least; but the statistic takes into account life expectancy of the massive immigrated population, not a homogeneous one like in Japan . As to mobility it is not about where you get to , it is about where you had started from.

    Oh BTW, I had lived years in 3 different countries before I came to the US, including one in the social-democratic Western Europe you seem to admire so much. My close family lives their and I visit yearly. So I have a clue on what and how things work there; or do not. The US is by no means a paradise, and unchecked capitalism in my view is a horrible idea; but the remedy you just proposed is much worse than the disease.

  106. Greg said:

    Sarah… you are a poster child for why we need to license and regulate landlords.

    You know, I’m a model tenant. I pay my rent on time. I don’t trash the place. No neighbors have ever complained about me. I’m probably more lenient than I should be in terms of getting on my landlord’s case to fix stuff. But I do know my rights, and I’m not afraid to exercise them. What you want, are tenants who don’t know their rights. And no, I’m not about to tell my landlord, “Please, charge me more ’cause I can afford it.” My landlord has had this place for many years, and makes an enviable ROI between rent, tax breaks, and equity. Nobody forces landlords to buy properties. They know rent control is the law of the land. If it wasn’t profitable, they wouldn’t be doing it.

    I don’t regard it immoral not to pay the maximum you can afford. I regard it as stupid. What’s immoral is allowing landlords to charge whatever they want not just to cover their expenses, but just because they can.

    Think about this for a second… any other situation where we see people profiteering off scarce resources, it’s considered immoral. Let’s say your village is starving, and you have the only grain in town hoarded in a silo. Let’s say you got it perfectly legally. But now you decide to jack up your prices to something ridiculous, because after all there are a few rich people in town willing to pay that. Well, the other villagers will come after you with the pitchforks, and they’d be right. Or say you’re the lucky owner of one of the few grocery stores left standing in town after a hurricane, and you jack up your prices 300% or 400%, because… hey, less supply, more demand -free market sez you can! Well, you can bet that before long your market really will be a free market because people will recognize you as the greedy swine that you are and they’ll loot the place.

    Note: the problem in these situations is *NOT* that you’re raising prices beyond what people can afford. Many people might be able to “afford” your prices -in fact if you’re trying to make money you won’t jack up your prices beyond “what the market can bear.” So that’s not the problem -the problem, is that you’re taking advantage of scarcity to make a profit far and away beyond what you need to cover expenses and make a reasonable return. That, in and of itself, is morally wrong.

    So if we don’t allow this kind of piggishness with food, why do we allow it with housing? Why do we think it’s Ok? It’s not OK. When you have a mortgage on a property that’s $850, plus maybe a few expenses, and a big tax deduction that amounts to a third of that mortgage back in your pocket, for money out each month amounting to maybe $700 (NOT counting your profits in accumulated equity), and then you turn around and rent that place for $3500 just because the “free market” will allow that, that is immoral.

    Incidentally, it’s also bad policy to allow that from a macro-economic perspective. Any time you redistribute wealth from poor(er) to rich(er) people, as rent control repeal would surely do, you’re taking money out of the economy, particularly the local economy. That’s because the poorer you are, the more of your money gets spent, and thus recycled into the economy to create jobs and economic growth. Dollars that go to the rich… some of those dollars will undoubtedly be spent, but some will be hoarded and not be put into productive use.

    But I digress. The above is really just another side benefit of rent control. I differ with many of you on something more fundamental. What you are arguing for is letting the market run amok. I fundamentally don’t believe in that. I’m no communist, but I believe the government has a role to play in regulating markets to smooth out their rough edges. Not *just* to help the needy -and this is important -but to regulate the entire market to ensure fair play for *everyone*, regardless of how “needy” they are.

  107. Greg said:

    In response to Aly’s few “humble” points:
    You may have relatives in Europe, as do I, but you are sadly misinformed.

    I also know quite a bit more about the Russian experience than I let on. I’m no supporter of the old Soviet state -far from it. But there are certain observations that cannot be denied. I posed the following dilemma to my father not too long ago. I told him to ponder on this little factoid: As bad as things were under what was incorrectly referred to as communism, the people of Russia had a higher material standard of living during those 70 years than they have ever had before… or since. My father, quite the rabid Republican these days, could only say, “It’s more complicated than that.” Yeah, it is… and it isn’t.

    Sweden… as it happens, we hosted a couple Swedes at our house this summer. I have to tell you, your conception of Sweden is very misinformed. 80% are not active in the Lutheran Church. As a matter of fact, over 50% say they do not believe in god, making Sweden a much less oppressive place for people of different religion or none at all, than say, America. And fully 20% now have foreign background. Your conception of Sweden may have been correct 100 years ago, but it has little resemblance to modern Sweden.

    France… regarding unemployment, Europe counts differently. We don’t count discouraged workers, part-timers working at least 1 hour per *month*, and basically anyone no longer on unemployment. And our unemployment is much less generous than theirs. Their top-line reported unemployment rate is more akin to our U6 rate. Which is about 14% last I checked.

    Life expectancy has nothing to do with homogeneity. Some of our longest-lived people are actually immigrants, particularly Asians, and surprisingly, Latinos. But we lag behind homogeneous countries, and we lag behind countries with high immigrant populations, like Canada, France, Sweden, and New Zealand. We lag behind EVERYONE in the developed world.

    Nor does scale have anything to do with it. If anything, social programs should work better in large scale economies than in smallscale ones. The more you pool resources, the less risk. But really, scale is a red herring that’s often advanced as a talking point by defenders of unbridled capitalism. Beyond a few million people, things pretty much work the same. Yeah, we have more people to serve. But we have more people paying in. So this is really a non-issue.

  108. Anniecat said:

    @Sarah Fong — as far as I’m concerned, the people whonarevreally on welfare are the Mitt Romneys of this world, who pay a much lower tax rate than I do on a vastly higher income. If my landlord is subsidizing me,then I’m subsidizing Romney — and he could afford to pay more tax.

  109. Anniecat said:

    @Sarah Fong — as far as I’m concerned, the people who are truly on welfare are the Mitt Romneys of this world, who lobbied the government for a much lower tax rate than I pay on a vastly higher income. If my landlord is subsidizing me,then I’m subsidizing Romney — and he could afford to pay more tax.

  110. Sarah Fong said:

    Greg, why don’t you own a home or building if it’s so easy? It takes years of saving and you deserve a return. You are a parasite, a squatter, to believe it’s OK to do that. You should at least pay 70% of market rate if you can afford it. You are immoral. How can I tell you know you’re stealing? You told a woman paid by David Lee to intentionally not work and take the pay, to sit around in a restaurant, buying food and a newspaper with David Lee’s money, then not do the work she had contractually agreed to. And you feel it’s OK not to pay landlords market rent just because the law allows. I agree with rent control stopping a doubling, but it’s people like you who make it not work, people who just manipulate and take advantage. I’m so glad I never rented to you. You are a horrible person. The landlord owns it, has to make repairs, and deserves to increase his income if the market improves. You openly told a woman to take pay and not do her best, and you don’t do your best to pay more rent if you can. You are from the anarchist wing of the Democratic party, just willing to do anything to have extra money.

    If everyone had morals like Stormy, rent control works.

    As for social mobility, you are 100% right Greg. The U.S. has less than the rest of the advanced industrialized world. This is a fact. However, part of it is people here have a low opinion of themselves. Many view doing well in school as genetic. Asians in the US have a higher rate of mobility than all these nations, because they view themselves as actors in determining their level in society. Active agents. Many poor whites, blacks, some Latinos, view society as determining their level, or view academic success as genetics. People say we are smarter.

    We aren’t. Try spending 10 hours a week reading to your kids and doing puzzles and math, limiting TV. Then try giving your kids tutoring and extra books from age 4-10. Then try insisting they do 20+ hours a week from age 11-17. If you do all this, the brain is a muscle, you tend to get smarter, just as if you run wind sprints every day, you’ll be pretty fast. It’s not genetic, it’s habit-based.

    Also, we stay together more even if fighting for our kids. Our divorce rate is very low and black and Latino rates are high, and white rates are far higher than ours. Studies show kids of married parents have double the odds of a degree, and double the odds of a UC or higher degree. This alone explains half the difference between blacks and Asians.

    You’re right we don’t have much social mobility, but students in Europe study more and harder than here. There is more merit. There are more laws against nepotism, higher inheritance taxes, more public funding for college, health, etc. I agree with many of these things. But the reason our social mobility is so low is many of our poor embrace poor culture, be it rap/ghetto, barrio, hillbilly/redneck, alcoholic Native American, etc. Sub-levels of English combined with 2-4 hours a week studying, sometimes less, social promotion, resistance to testing, resistance to studying hard, resistance to Tiger Parenting, resistance to everything which could ameliorate their poverty and help the next generation achieve. People actively discourage others from being a good student, studying “too much”, being a nerd.

    It can be done Greg, but Asians are the example. The honor we have is seen as boring, but we vote more liberal than whites and genuinely want black and Latino Americans to follow our example and achieve success. We voted more than Latinos for Obama. We aren’t racist or conservative, often marry other races in the 3d generation. We just have a certain pride in not hurting others. We are rarely homeless. We commit few crimes. We commit 1/7th the amount of murder whites do, which is not that high either. 1/35th what blacks do. We don’t resort to violence when we feel upset, we work harder. But we also won’t hurt a fellow human being. I know many Asians with white landlords and black landlords and we don’t abuse rent control. We use it a bit, but not the maximum.

    I guarantee you the person who rented to you unfairly lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to your abuse. They worked hard, maybe had roommates, worked weekends, lived cheap. It’s hard to save $100,000, the average down payment. They may have had to do horrible jobs, be a bouncer (my brother), a prostitue (me), 80 hour week restaurant worker (my cousins), to be able to make a profit and save. And I saved $30,000 a year while voluntarily paying my landlord $5-700 (inflation adjusted, it was a long time ago) more than I could have under rent control while suffering as a prostitute, which your society sees as criminal but which never hurt anyone and helped many men who had no other outlet, for many years. He didn’t know what I did and I didn’t do it in the neighborhood, and my name is fake as I know I’ll be looked down on if people know as I’m over 50 and you’d never guess. But I felt a sense of shame so I paid more than I had to to be fair to my landlord. And eventually I was able to buy.

    It’s not profiteering Greg, they are getting what anyone in any other City would get outside of SF, Berkeley and Oakland. In Daly City, they can raise it. I would have bought there if I didn’t know how to rent only to people with honor. I suffered a lot to become a landlord. I didn’t enjoy what I did. I now work long hours as a professional, got a master’s and have a good job, and live cheap to save more. Not many Americans do that.

    I never was arrested but by America’s laws I was a criminal, and you were not. But in reality, morally, I feel it’s the opposite.

    You can pay what you feel is right. No one requires you to take full advantage. Most don’t.

    You think those who work hard and are honest are stupid, suckers. You even think if that woman being paid by Lee actually did the work she promised, she’d be stupid. You think it’s OK to steal from people richer than yourself. You even used the word envious. You are controlled by envy. You are an example of someone who doesn’t move up. I doubt your kids would move up, you would treat them as stupid if they work and study long hours and just teach them to try to take advantage of rich people.

    I agree mobility is lower. That’s a fact. But part of it is a total lack of moral values. If you stay married, do your best in school, and learn a skill people will pay you for, odds of poverty are very low. If you have integrity and don’t take advantage of people, like a landlord you do take advantage of, I believe good charma comes back to you. If you believe you determine your future and not genetics or contacts, you work hard, you can move up. It is possible and Asians prove that, as do Russians, Africans, Cubans, many other immigrants.

    If all Americans acted like Asians I believe the mobility would be much higher. If all acted like you, it would be much lower. I’m not Republican but it is possible and your dad probably has some points.

  111. Rick said:

    Forget about Greg, he has no morals. Greg will do what’s good for Greg and come up with a reason it’s right. He admitted he’d take money and not work his hardest, and he won’t pay fair rent. Just be careful never to rent to someone like that. Forget him, he has no morals and can rationalize anything. Very few people are as immoral as he is. I don’t know anyone like that. I too pay more than I could get away with. Rent control is a guideline, you don’t have to be a dick and take full advantage. Actually I take it back I do know one person like Greg, has a 3 BR with a converted dining room, very cheap, and rents to 3 roommates for so much he hasn’t worked in 10 years, just lives off the difference in the rent, smokes pot all the time, skateboards, drinks, and he’s in his 40s. Total scumbag. The landlord has no clue, is very old. I hope when she dies her kids kick his ass out and sell it. I should introduce you to him you two would get along great. Total pieces of shit! You make a mockery of this nation. A big fuck you to the Gregs of the world from those with morals.

  112. Sarah Fong said:

    Anniecat I fully agree with you and Obama on taxes and that Romney and the rich should pay the Clinton era levels and no one should be able to put money in the Cayman Islands and capital gains should be taxed at the level of work. With you on that but two wrongs don’t make a right, so both are wrong, Greg who rips off his landlord and Romney who rips off all of us.

  113. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    I agree with rent control for a year or two if you are having hard times, but not 20 years later or 25, paying a third market rate when you can afford more. I think if you are stiffing your landlord like that, you should go to night school or take a side job, do anything you can to try to pay market rate. Rent control was started to help the poor, not to help people take advantage of others. I pay more than I have to partially because I don’t want my landlord to have an incentive to kick me out. The guy down the hall and I both could pay $942 I think, moved in the same year. I know he’s paying 1500 so I pay 1600, it’s both by choice, but I feel comfortable knowing if there’s a move in eviction, he’s going before I do so there’s a warning and I’ll raise it further. Market rate for my place is probably 1800-1900 so I feel lucky to pay 1600. If you’re poor it’s one thing but I feel this is like a tax and instead of us all paying it, like food stamps, with taxes as a percent of income, whichever landlord is unlucky enough to get an unscrupulous renter who believes they owe them a huge favor of 33% rent and stay forever like Greg gets stuck with a tax of $20,000 a year, whereas another landlord like Sarah pays no tax. It probably causes discrimination in housing and prevents us building a community. Like if I were a landlord I’d be careful not to rent to ugly guys, they’ll stay for life, or ugly, weird women, they’ll never marry and fuck you over, or to someone getting a place bigger than they need, or with a job where their income is likely to go down or never go up, you have to be paranoid you get a Greg who feels you owe them the world. I’m glad I’m not a landlord. Wow, maybe that’s why pretty girls get a place more, and handsome guys, I have noticed the new residents are better looking than those who moved here 15-20 years ago. I would be doing everything I could to make sure not to rent to Greg or anyone like him. I would feel extremely guilty to do what he does but he feels nothing. Reading what he writes, wow, that’s insane.

  114. Mike said:

    First off, it’s great to hear so many people with negative views on rent conrol. Rent control discourages building upkeep, keeps people from moving, and in the end, raises rents for the small number of available units. That said, there are quite a few comments that do not reflect the laws currently in place. For example, rent control covers all multi-unit buildings including 2-4 unit buildings (of which the Richmond has quite a few). Second, paying or accepting rental rates in excess of the annual allowable rent increases is strictly prohibited and subjects the landlord to potential penalties. Third, allowable rental increases are only 60% of consumer price indexed inflation which over time results in a rental rate that has significantly lagged the rate of inflation.

    To those of you who think that all landlords are greedy or evil (as the Tenant’s Union believes), how do you justify classifying someone who chooses to provide housing as a business as evil? Are farmers evil and greedy for charging too much for food? Are artists and musicians evil and greedy for charging too much for their work? Is Apple eveil and greedy for charging too much for an iPhone? Providing housing is a naecessary service to those who for whatever reason opt not to purchase a home/condo. And you should note that the majority of Richmond landlords are small time property owners who have their life savings invested in their buidling. Is this evil? Or is it more of a “property is theft” narrative as we see with some anarchists and marxists.

  115. Greg said:

    The comments here continue to amaze. Rental housing may be the only area of life where we think it’s A-Ok to profiteer, and people claim to pay more than they have to, just because they’re “moral.” (Meh… color me skeptical about that last part).

    Fortunately I don’t think the comments on this blog represent the city, the Richmond, or even the readers of this blog. Nearly 100% of the commentators on this board except me were against Eric Mar, but the poll on this very blog showed Eric Mar winning by 20 points. He won the actual vote by 16. And rent control is supported by a supermajority of this city. That’s why BOMA can’t get it repealed.

    But a small minority of right-wing commentators (who all love to claim to be such big liberals) have the audacity to call me immoral, hypocritical, whatever. That’s OK. I know you guys don’t represent the city or the neighborhood, and I like to mix it up. I think it is people like Sarah Fong who are immoral. Not for working as a stripper/prostitute. That part is perfectly fine by me. I’d vote to make it legal. I did vote for Prop K (as did Mar by the way… didn’t want to say that before the election, because it would likely have been used as another smear against him). But the part about seeking out tenants of certain races. I mean… multiple people on here are openly talking about racial discrimination and profiling of potential tenants. Openly! And proud of it! Wow. And you have the AUDACITY to call ME immoral!?! You’re lucky nobody reports you!

    Incidentally, not that it matters, but my own situation with the whole landlord/tenant divide is complex and multifaceted. Let’s just say I make a point about not voting purely out of self interest, but rather for what’s good for the city. I do rent where I live, however, and I am exactly the kind of tenant that any landlord would want. Unless you’re the kind of landlord who wants to abuse tenants’ rights, like Sarah Fong. I won’t pay more than what’s allowed under rent control, which is immoral to ask of me, as I’ve outlined above in other examples of profiteering. And apparently as Mike says, it’s also illegal! But I do pay my rent on time and keep the place looking nice and don’t cause trouble, which is all anyone can ever ask for in a model tenant.

    If anything, I’m probably more mellow than I should be. But I do know my rights, and will not stand for abuse. I had only one incident where I pissed off a (former) landlord. (I’ve since moved out of that place, because I wanted to move to a different neighborhood). And it was a case where the landlord was breaking the law. The landlord wasn’t paying me interest on my deposit (incidentally, listen up, all you tenants out there), which is against the law, and also very immoral. For years, MY money was sitting in his bank or investment account, making money for HIM, and he wasn’t paying me even the pittance the city requires. But like I said, I cut the guy slack, because… well, he hadn’t raised the rent in 10 years. But then one day he took all his allowable banked rent control increases over the years and added them together and raised the rent in a substantial way. He slid a letter under my door and said the new rent would be due in July (a couple months from that point). That’s allowed, but it certainly causes the tenants some financial pain. Well, at that point I said, OK, Mr. Landlord… if that’s how you want to play it… I wrote him a nice, very polite letter, saying that I understand the rent increases, yadda yadda, but the economy was causing us tenants the same kind of pain that it was causing him, so now would be a good time to ask for my accumulated interested on the deposit, which he should have been paying me each year as the law provides. I didn’t threaten to turn him into the city for breaking the law -didn’t even hint at that. But I did ask him to kindly pay me the hundreds of dollars he owed me in accumulated interest… by July, the same time as my rent increase. And I slid it under his door. Oh, was he ever pissed! He called me a “manipulator.” At that point, I decided to do a little public service and went around to all the tenants in my building and inform them of their rights under the law. One lady had been there for 20 years. He probably owed her 1-2 K.

    I acted legally and morally. My landlord acted illegally and immorally. And yet he was the one who had the audacity to be pissed at me. It’s the same kind of mentality that’s pervasive with some of the comments on this board.

    Actually, the only thing that bothers my conscience a little about the whole incident, was that I wasn’t motivated to do this good deed for my fellow tenants until I was pushed. I’d known about the rule, and I had a hunch no one else in my building did. But I kept quiet because I didn’t want to make waves. Really, we tenants need to show more solidarity with each other.

  116. ALY said:

    @Greg “As bad as things were under what was incorrectly referred to as communism, the people of Russia had a higher material standard of living during those 70 years than they have ever had before… or since. ”

    Wow. Don’t know what you are smoking, but on that I leave you to enjoy your alternative reality. Hope it does not bite your in the butt one of these days.

  117. ALY said:

    @ Mike – (#112) Thanks for posting on rent control rules. That is the exact information I was given. Our Supes in their wisdom passed ordinances that supersede contract law. I think that between school bussing – that turns away many families from buying here , and the rent control this city is loosing tax revenue on both properties and rent income; and then hikes taxes, cuts services and increases fees to make up for it. Everybody gets hurt. Not to mention it forces people to make all sort of private arrangements because the laws are so blatantly unfair to small owners and in some cases cause them real hardship. I wonder if there is a way to challenge some of the most egregious of the ordinances in courts.

  118. Greg said:

    Aly,
    Aly, maybe there’s an element of we all see what we want to see. But there are also objective facts. Here’s another objective fact that you can look up: Since the end of the old regime, average life expectancy has *fallen* 10 years. The new Russia is good for the New Russians. For the rest of the people, not so much.

  119. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    I checked and it’s not illegal to voluntarily pay more. I checked with my lawyer before I did it. Almost everyone I know who has been here over 20 years voluntarily pays more. If you moved here in 1990 and paid what you could, you’d be seriously screwing over your landlord. I agree with Greg that rent should be limited somewhat and people shouldn’t be driven out, but if the market rate is 2500 and you’re paying 800 you’re nothing but a scumbag. I wouldn’t be surprised if some places end up with poison in the water or something, if you are stealing $20,000 a year, 200k in 10 years. People kill for less. I wouldn’t tempt fate so I choose to pay more. I doubt it happens much but people kill for $100 and go to death row, and landlords control your water pipes. I wouldn’t tempt fate. My landlord was KGB, I doubt he’d do that but I sleep better knowing I pay an honest rent. I’m so happy I’m not a landlord when I read this and I put my money in stocks, which can go up and the dividend goes up, rather than real estate with these draconian extreme laws.

    As for discrimination, well would you discriminate if it could lead to you being robbed 200k every decade if you rented to a Greg? I understand why Chinese rent to Chinese or Russians to Russians. If I were paying 800 for a place worth 2500 owned by an older Russian lady in the same church, the Orthodox Church, well people would talk to me and I’d be an outcast until I came up with something fair. I wouldn’t be required to pay 2500, but believe me in the Russian community the custom is more powerful than the SF law because you become an outcast if you screw someone over like that, so my landlord is probably happy they rented to me and not Greg. If you’re from outside the community, you’d feel no social pressure and do whatever you want, which in Greg’s case means costing the landlord thousands of dollars in excess of already having ridiculously cheap rent.

    And you’re wrong about Russia. It’s very corrupt, but the short lifespan is due to alcoholism and nuclear and oil pollution that happened under communism. Russia is on it’s way to a better day, but it is still not free. Look at Pussy Riot. They are good people and in jail for years for free speech. It is still communism now, more like fascism. They haven’t embraced our style of Democracy and freedom.

    And Greg, what are you talking about rent is the only thing, everyone charges what they can get for everything. Lawyers make the BAR hard to pass not because you need it to be a good lawyer, but because it restricts entrance and keeps rates high. Everyone charges whatever they can for everything. That’s capitalism. Competition is what keeps it down. If we create a community more people want to live in than can, money is a fair way for them to compete.

    Rent control will last a while but probably not another 20 years in it’s present form. I’d estimate 12.

  120. Greg said:

    Just want to add a couple points regarding the whole studying issue. You can’t mandate studying by law, nor should you. But if you integrate schools, kids do pick up better habits depending on the kinds of peers they go to school with. That’s why integration between different races and classes works.

    That said… personally I studied maybe an hour a day, mostly on the bus. Incidentally, my school commute was about an hour, so in a city where you can get across town in 45 minutes max (from end to end, which few students have to do), you can guess what I think about the bussing issue. I still managed to graduate near the top of my high school class, and got into UC on a Regents Scholarship -as an out-of-stater, mind you. Not bad for a kid who studied maybe an hour a day.

    I know not everyone has the talent to do that, but to those who suggest that the remedy is to have kids study 800-1000 hours a year, I disagree. That works out to 5 hours a day for each school day, which frankly is ridiculous. Kids need time to be kids. I do know some people who made up for their lack of natural academic talent by studying 5 hours a day, but they also weren’t very balanced or creative people. Maybe an hour isn’t enough for most people, but you need some balance in order to be a well-rounded human being and citizen.

    Plus, studying is no guarantee of success, even if you measure success by money. I know totally uneducated people who got their AA, did a year in the police academy, and presto, they’re out making 90K/yr + benefits at age 21. When they retire at age 50, they’ll be making $250,000 per year or the inflation-adjusted equivalent. I know others who never went to college at all, but if you can dress nice and have the gift of gab, you can go sell houses and make six digits. The job you do isn’t any harder in San Francisco than it is in Kansas City, but because real estate is inflated here, you make much more money BS-ing your way through life here, than in Kansas City. Still other, completely talent-less people I know… people who haven’t produced anything real in their whole lives, go out and get a Masters in Bullshit and Asskissing (MBA) degree, they put on some nice clothes and get a job as an HR Director or something. They go “blah blah blah… that’ll be 150K per year, thank you.”

    Of course connections also help to get these do-nothing jobs. Knowing the right people. Getting into the right frat, etc. Not just anyone can go out there and make 90K per year as a “voting rights educator” like our buddy David Lee. Oh no, that takes family ties and years of careful asskissing of the corporate and political elite.

    The problem is the values that this country holds dear. Maybe when we start valuing people who make things and study and help other people -you know real stuff, over people who buy and sell crap and game the system to make money for themselves… maybe then more people will go into professions you actually have to study for.

  121. James Lee said:

    There was a rent control murder in New York. The landlord was on death row till they got rid of the death penalty and is now doing life. Greg you disrespect success so much. You grew up before the tiger parent trend. I’m Chinese but half Japanese and my mom was a hippy and not a tiger parent but I am because if you aren’t your kids have no chance and fall behind. You see Asians earning more and more. Knowledge is power and the more you study as a kid the higher you earn as an adult. When you raise kids you go with the standard. Exceptions are an excuse to slack. For you busing came out of play time but for 2012 kids in tiger dominated San Francisco it comes out of sleep time and eliminates any social time. You’re living in the past.

  122. James Lee said:

    I bet there have been other rent control murders no one was caught for the incentive is jus too high. Greg you ar not a winner. Why not adopt a foster child if you know so much. You have no kids your line dies with you and yet you’re so broke you can’t get by without financially abusing your landlord to the legal maximum. I don’t want my son to be 40 and surviving on a form of welfare.

  123. Greg said:

    Dilma,
    Regarding rent control, I disagree that money is a fair way to compete for scarce resources. Maybe for ipads and gold earrings, but not for housing and food. Anyone who asks for $2500 when he could easily cover expenses on $800 is a profiteering scumbag. Poison in the water is a bit extreme, though landlord intimidation of long-term tenants is quite common. We need stronger laws and vacancy control on top of the rent control we already have, to prevent landlords from trying to game the system.

    Regarding Russia, it’s not that the life expectancy is *low*. The problem is that it has fallen -dramatically. One researcher I’ve read -one not very sympathetic to communism -estimated that the fall of the old regime has resulted in some 3 million excess deaths in Russia. Now you can find whatever excuse you want for the fall in life expectancy, but the fact remains that something in the old regime caused people to live dramatically longer lives than they do now. Some say it’s the collapse and privatization of healthcare, and the resurgence of third world diseases which had been eradicated in Russia under the old regime. You want to blame alcoholism? Fine. But then that begs the question -what is it about the new capitalist system that makes people so much more prone to self-destructive behavior?

    You know what I think it is? I think it’s the same thing that Wilkinson and Pickett talked about in the book I recommended -inequality. Inequality and insecurity do terrible things to people’s psyche. The dramatic increase in inequality and insecurity has had effects which reverberate in all sorts of pernicious ways throughout society.

    As for democracy… please. If democracy is a system where people get to decide the economic and foreign policy of their government, than we don’t have democracy either. The ruling elite of this country have already decided for us that the economic policy of this country shall be capitalism, and the foreign policy shall be imperialism. All that remains is for us to pick which party implements the policy that has already been decided. That’s not democracy. That’s democracy theater.

    If anything, the Russian political system is more open than this one. You want to vote for the Social Democrats? Pazhalusta. You want to vote for the far right? They got that too. Several parties of very different political stripes have seats in parliament, not just two similar parties like here. You want to say they rig elections? Well so do we. Where else in the world does one guy lose the overall vote, and still have to steal the vote in one state in order to “win”, and still call it “democracy?”

    You want to say they put Pussy Riot in jail? I’ll raise you one Bradley Manning to your Pussy Riot. Pussy Riot probably didn’t deserve more than a few nights in jail to sober up -I do think their treatment is too harsh. But let’s face it, they’re punks who went into a church, disrupted the service and started singing lyrics about “the lord’s shit.” You wanna try that in Grace Cathedral and see if you can get away with that crap in Americhka? Good luck.

    Meanwhile Bradley Manning is being tortured in prison and they’re trying every maneuver to kidnap Julian Assange for things that are not only constitutional, but deserve a Nobel Prize.

    So don’t tell me that Russia hasn’t yet learned about “democracy.” Au contraire… they may be a little clumsy about aping this democracy theater; their production isn’t quite as smooth yet, but I think they learned very, very well from us.

  124. gman said:

    @greg – the bottom line is you are a part of an annoying population who feels that everyone who succeeds should carry people like you. i hope you never have children because your way of thinking will weaken the gene pool! i am typically an empathetic person however i cannot be that way towards the pathetic,unaccountable and righteous. don’t really give a rats ass that you studied an hour a day on the bus and got into a uc school. if you are so smart and upstanding why are you leaching off of your landlord like a dirty sewer rat? for your sake it is a good thing that these blogs are somewhat annoymous because you would end up homeless!

    progressives are pretty much cut from the same clothe as communist. they understand no compromise and certainly middle ground is a foregone conclusion. they are completely unsustainable people. eric mar had he run unopposed would have voted to re-instate mirkarimi the wife beater. his decision was completely calculated in my opinion. this guy is about as sneaky and spineless as they come. he is a nothing more than a hayseed. he has a law degree from new college. he is bait for a comedic political satire show. what is even more disappointing is his lack of response on this blog. his neighborhood is speaking and he is propbably picking his ass underneath his desk at city hall.

  125. Greg said:

    gman:
    -Mar’s neighborhood has spoken -on November 6th.
    -You know absolutely nothing about me, but even by your measure, I am successful. If anything, I “carry” other people. But I’m OK with that, because in a civilized society that’s what we do -we all carry each other.
    -One person I “carry” is my landlord, who is making a tidy profit off of my labor.
    -Yes, it’s a good thing these blogs are anonymous, because some of the landlords on here would be, should be, in jail, as they are openly boasting about illegal discrimination.
    -You sir, have zero empathy, contrary to your pronouncement. That is self-evident from your whole post.
    -And speaking of productive citizens vs leeches… Eric Mar has held a real, productive job. He had a career as a real educator. Your boy David Lee (he of the neanderthal chin), never held a real job in his life. He had a phony non-profit that sucked money from businesses and taxpayers. He produced nothing of value and lined his pockets, and employed his wife for another 65K at the same phony-baloney non-profit. Nice work if you can get it!

  126. spokenword said:

    Greg, you’re very sadly mistaken about how this election unfolded. How did the issue of “rent control” even come about? “Rent control” was never even considered by Lee until Mar, the Tenants Union and a labor union in the city decided to capitalize on the district’s fear of rents being raised in order to gain votes. Because Lee was being funded by the Realtor’s Association – who wisely wanted Eric Mar out of office – cash-strapped Mar and his buddies exaggerated that fact as much as possible, starting rumors that Lee was trying to get rid of rent control (which would be totally impossible to do by one supervisor, but no one seemed to want to think that out). It didn’t matter that David Lee publically stated several times he was completely in favor of it; Mar’s people didn’t have anything else to go on to bring him down, so they played that card as hard as they could. They brought attention to a video that was buried on YouTube that Lee had publically disavowed and used it against him (and frankly, the facts presented in it were absolutely correct). They even had a guy collecting signatures (that went absolutely nowhere, except Mar’s calling list) a block away from Mar’s campaign headquarters; when I asked him where the “rent control” threat was coming from, all he could tell me was “I don’t know, you’d have to ask the Tenant’s Union about that.” The neighbors in my building were receiving recorded calls DAILY from Mar’s campaign telling them if they “wanted to preserve rent control, vote for Mar.” MAR brought City Hall into the Richmond, and the labor unions couldn’t care less how much it affected the district or his constituent’s lives as long as they can keep him on their side for future negotiations. There was a rally staged at the Tenant’s Union (and it’s listed on their web page) early in the campaign to get this rumor and the scare tactics started… are people aware that most of those people in that rally were labor union members? It was all one big act!!!

    So yes, Greg, the neighborhood has spoken… mostly due to getting very distorted information and quite a few lies in order to collect votes. For the posters on here who think they’re going to see a “changed man,” you’re fools. A leopard doesn’t change his spots, and the fact that he has his aide once again speaking for him only proves that. Eric Mar won’t be any different this term than he was the last, and for those of you who were delusional enough to vote for him thinking he would… folks, you deserve everything you get. Any personality who pulls some of the stunts this man did during the election and then puts on the righteous, innocent face he does isn’t capable of changing. The last four years have ruined a lot of our district… if the best he can do is to bring “low income housing” and “the Grocery Outlet.” into the Richmond, the writing is on the wall. I say we give Mar four months to show some interest, and then we start doing what we did with McGoldrick… impeach him.

    In addition, I also find some of your comments to be inappropriate, and, frankly, rude (“he of the neanderthal chin.”), Greg. You clearly know very little about what you’re talking about, but you seem to be the authority on every issue you bring up. Your lengthy diatribes sound like someone who’s more interested in just listening to himself talk.

  127. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    You are wrong about David Lee. He did insurance sales, which is a real job, I don’t get where you decide some jobs are real and others aren’t. If you are paid you produce value of that level. You are not carrying your landlord, if you didn’t rent, someone else would. He owns something of value, and if you didn’t want it, someone else would. It is like saying you carry a lawyer if you hire them or you carry a shop owner by buying food from him. It’s ridiculous, communist thinking.

    You are saying that landlords should just strive to sell what they invest in as cheap as possible? Why? Why shouldn’t they be able to get market rate?

    I must say, you expect a charitable donation from someone who had the discipline to save and buy a place when you lack that discipline. Why? Rent control is for the poor, not people like you.

    As for discrimination, the whole reason you shouldn’t discriminate is that it is unfair to the renter, that we all have rights. But if you are scheming to rent for 800 what is worth 2500, to screw over your landlord, and a higher percentage of certain groups do that, landlords in self-preservation will try to identify honest, honorable renters, not scumbags like you.

    You are getting 1700 a month from your landlord. It is unfair. He probably gives his kids less than that for college. You are not his son. You are his tenant. It is immoral for you to take that kind of charity and keep money from his children just because you can. You say all the time, take whatever you can, you encourage people to promise to work and then not work and keep the money. You encourage renters to try to stay and find arcane laws and hurt the landlord. If all Americans were like you this nation would be horrible.

  128. Ewan O'Connor said:

    When I moved into the Richmond District in 1995, a lot of people wanted the apartment I was looking at. I liked it a lot because it was close to the park, I liked the block, near a theater, and near a tacqueria, which I had come to like since moving here from Ireland. When I met the landlord, who is Asian, I knew I had to do something to be better than the others. I told him, I’m Catholic, I’m an honest person, and I swear to you on the soul of my grandmother, on my mother’s soul, I will not use rent control to cheat you. I am not a charity case and have self-respect. I will not use this law to hurt you. I had only heard of this law a week before. He believed me and I have lived up to my promise.

    I would have done it anyways, but it got me the place. The bottom line is I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I were paying $800 for a place worth $2500. I’m no charity case and welfare should go towards those more deserving. If I had a disability, got hit by a truck, came down with a disease, maybe, but as it is, a middle aged guy with no kids, I should be self-reliant and not rely on charity. I take pride in not being a charity case. That’s me, some of us have morals, some don’t.

  129. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    Spokenword, you have no idea. Mar is of the do anything to win philosophy. He sent a flier out by a Camile She. If you ever see this woman you should tell her to go to hell. She claimed in the flier that her preference was for her kids to go to school in the Richmond and Mar’s leadership was to be thanked for her getting this to happen, and she lives in the Richmond and has kids at Lafayette and Presidio. Logically this makes no sense. When she was called by parents, she changed the subject, never addressed the logic. When this fact was posted on several blogs in detail, no Mar supporter addressed how it could possibly be true. It made no logical sense. There is no way Mar or She believed it was true but She was a complete scumbag like Mar. When this was detailed, Greg made zero attempt to explain how she or Mar could have believed it was true.

    The thing is, Greg thinks like Stalin. He thinks kids should be bused so there is a mix, but is OK with upper class Mar sending his child to school here, and upper class She doing so. It’s the old communism, Animal Farm, all of us are equal but some of us are more equal than others. Greg thinks it’s OK to lie to attain your goals.

    No one has made an attempt to defend the lie. Not one person. It is indefensible. It was broken down before word for word, and there’s no way to defend it, but Greg doesn’t care. They also lied about the rent control issue.

    Anything to win is OK according to Greg. Mar is more progressive, therefore if he kills someone to win that’s fine, if he lies, that’s OK, if he says one thing and does another that’s OK. Greg has proven in many ways he has no morals:

    1. doesn’t criticize Mar and She for lying and doesn’t address details of lie.

    2. advocates obtaining maximum value from rent control charity despite not being poor.

    3. advocated an employee of Lee take money then not work.

    I for one am glad some landlords try to gauge the honesty of people they rent to. I wish no one here had rented to him. I’m sure his landlord regrets it.

    Listen, we wish everyone had values but not everyone does. You can always tell someone’s values by which issues they address. Greg tried to accuse one guy of being racist, then it turned out he had half Latino kids and had adopted an African American girl born with drugs in her system, the kind of person only very good people adopt and who usually goes to foster care for life. He never apoligized, just made some excuse.

    When the She issue came up, he ignored it. He is secretly happy Mar lied about the She quote and the rent control because it enables him to put forth his communist view of the world. To him, the ends justify the means. To me that kind of thinking is despicable.

  130. Charlene said:

    I don’t remember Greg being challenged on that mailer with the quote from Camile She. At least give him 24 hours before you say he avoided the issue. I don’t see it and read the whole string. I like some of Greg’s points, give him a chance. I dont’ hate landlords like he does but he makes some good points, at least give him a chance.

  131. Greg said:

    Spokenword,
    If you believe that rent control wasn’t even considered by Lee until the Tenants Union brought it up, then boy do I have a bridge to sell you! Why do you think the realtors and landlords were trying to buy this election for Lee? Because they liked his handsome chin? No, these people were investing in a product that they hoped would deliver returns for them upon election, in the form of favorable legislation to the real estate lobby. What kind of legislation? Approving developer giveaways, and getting rid of rent control, which has always been Priority 1. Can Lee do it all on his own? No, but on a closely divided board, that 6th vote is crucial. Are they going to dismantle rent control completely on the first day? No, but they’ll weaken it piece by piece, just like what the Republicans want to do with social security.

    Are you really so politically naive that I have to spell it out for you this way?

    “For the posters on here who think they’re going to see a “changed man,” you’re fools.”

    I sure hope we don’t see a changed man! I worked to re-elect the same supervisor we elected in 2008. Other than the Mirkarimi vote, GG park astroturf, and 8 Wash, I think Eric has been right on in his record.

    “I say we give Mar four months to show some interest, and then we start doing what we did with McGoldrick… impeach him.”

    Uh-huh. And how did that work out for you? Good luck with that.

    “In addition, I also find some of your comments to be inappropriate, and, frankly, rude (“he of the neanderthal chin.”)”

    Oh cry me a river! I’ve been called a scumbag, a commie, and a dirty sewer rat… by people advocating racial discrimination, natch. But I can take it. You know why? ‘Cause I know I won’t have to look at that neanderthal chin for the next 4 years. :-)

    What’s amusing to me is that you have people using Eric’s divorce against him like this is Kansas in the 50s or something, people who want to turn back the clock on Brown vs. Board of Education, people who openly brag about racial discrimination and breaking the law, people who’ve gone so far as speaking in favorable tones of murdering tenants on rent control (if not directly advocating the same). And they tell me I have no morals!

    You do realize, that most people are not like you -even people who read this blog (note poll results). You do realize that normal people -people who aren’t progressive activists, but ordinary liberal Richmond residents, see this stuff, and they recoil. Because you are an inspiration. For the typical non-activist, but left-leaning, Richmond resident, all these comments were an inspiration during the election. Thinking about sitting it out? Well then, let me present to you Exhibit A: the comments on the Richmond Blog. Oh, yeah. These people are out there. These are the people David Lee represents. ’nuff said.

    No, I guess you don’t realize how you people sound, do you? Well then, just keep talking. Please, tell us more.

  132. Greg said:

    “1. doesn’t criticize Mar and She for lying and doesn’t address details of lie.”
    As I’ve said before, I don’t know “She” from “he”, I don’t know if she lied, and I’m frankly not that interested in the issue. And you know what? Nobody else is either. It didn’t resonate in D1, and it didn’t resonate in D7 either, where it now looks like school board Prez Norman Yee will win. It’s the purvue of the BOE anyway. If you have a problem, take it up with Jill Wynns. Thing is, it doesn’t seem to resonate there either. You guys can’t even get one school board member to take up your cause, let alone anything approaching a majority.

    “2. advocates obtaining maximum value from rent control charity despite not being poor.”
    Yeah, ’cause I don’t believe rent control is just for the poor. I’ve already explained that. It’s a philosophical difference I have with you. You believe that the market should get free reign. I believe the government has a role to play in ensuring fair play for all.

    “3. advocated an employee of Lee take money then not work.”
    Yeah. Because the job she was being asked to do was immoral. All I did was advocate that she educate herself on the issues and participate as a citizen, rather than a drone.
    PS… she was not an employee of Lee. She was an employee of an out-of-town millionaire named Ron Conway. In her own words: “I don’t know anything about either of these guys [Mar and Lee]. Yesterday we were walking for London Breed, today we’re here. They move us around wherever they need us.”
    Her “job” was to help Ron Conway screw with our democracy. That “job” should be illegal.

    “I for one am glad some landlords try to gauge the honesty of people they rent to. I wish no one here had rented to him. I’m sure his landlord regrets it.”

    And you’d be wrong.

    “Listen, we wish everyone had values but not everyone does. You can always tell someone’s values by which issues they address. Greg tried to accuse one guy of being racist, then it turned out he had half Latino kids and had adopted an African American girl born with drugs in her system, the kind of person only very good people adopt and who usually goes to foster care for life. He never apoligized, just made some excuse.”

    The guy you’re referring to, told me straight up, and I quote, “I don’t want my kids going to school with _those_ kids.” That’s a direct quote, which some of you may have even heard, because it was said very publicly in front of a crowd of people. I called him on it, and rightly pointed out that it really isn’t about mere convenience then, is it now? He and his friend tried to walk it back at that point, saying that he adopted a poor black child so that makes it all Ok, right? Wrong. Maybe it’s not racism *per se*, but if it isn’t racism then it’s classism. Much of what’s labeled “race” is really about “class” anyway. Whatever it is, it’s still wrong and it’s still ugly, and you guys are still totally tone deaf. You really don’t have a clue how bad you look every time you open your mouths, do you?

  133. Charlene said:

    Not sure Greg, I don’t think it’s no big deal to have to take two buses. You don’t show sympathy for parents for some reason, but don’t have kids. It’s not so easy raising kids in this era with Tiger Parents, the lottery, bullying, boys struggling. I agree some of the comments are out of wack, but at least that guy did something to try to make the world a better place, adopted a black child who was born with drugs in her system, and I’ve seen that guy at the cafe, she’s hyper and he sits there and teachers her reading and math for hours. He has other kids too. You could do that Greg, if you’re concerned with equality, why not adopt a foster child. Foster children are more likely to be homeless or go to prison than graduate from college. You could do a lot for equality by adopting an African American foster child. You could make a difference in someone’s life, a real difference, and you would probably make the Richmond District schools more integrated. Why not be a part of the solution and put all your energy into helping someone. I’d respect you more than him if you adopted an African American boy and helped him get into Lowell, boys are only 39.8% of Lowell and are having trouble adapting to modern society. You could do a lot.

    In my view, this guy is a good liberal person and so are you. You disagree on some issues but you should be on the same side. I met that guy and he doesn’t want his kids to not go to school with poor kids or whatever, that guys not rich by any means. You’re both good people, shouldn’t be enemies, are really on the same side. I wish I knew his name but if you see him you should talk to him. I did once and I’m only 25 but I decided instead of having kids myself, I want to adopt a foster child. I will probably have one and adopt one, because I want to experience birth but realize the world is overpopulated.

    Really, you are both wanting good things, you two shouldn’t be against each other. There are not enough people who care about kids. I mean, Prop 30 barely passed which would have kept kids home 8 extra furlough days. There are a lot of phony liberals like David Lee who sends his kids to private school, and 30% of SF does this despite saying it’s a liberal city. I know this guy is at public school, forget which one, but you should talk to him, I bet you’re truly more on the same side than opposite sides.

  134. Charlene said:

    Greg, you wrote this on the other string”

    “And those of us who are more fortunate, those of us who have been able to better take advantage of society’s opportunities, have a responsibility to give back more to the society that they have received so much from.”

    That’s what this guy did. He’s put himself out there and he already had 4 kids with a woman from I believe El Salvador. I spoke with him and he felt having a 10 hour drive added to his week would really hurt him, he liked the City because everything is close. It pushed him to stress.

    Now you say you want to give back, but you had parents who helped you be a winner, and you have low rent. Why not give back by adopting a foster child? Even as a single person, you could give back something important. You’re obviously very educated. The child may not have your IQ and have to work more than an hour a day to succeed, but who knows, you seem to have an above average IQ but maybe that’s also because back when you were in school it wasn’t as brutally competitive as it is now. I would advise you to look into it. I talked to him and it inspired me and I’m definitely going to do this, probably not for a few years due to age and I’d prefer to be married but even if not I’m going to do this. I know a woman who did this because she was 40 and figured she wasn’t getting married. I figure I am but who knows. I just suggest this because it does so much good and I feel you are similar to the guy you attack. I met him and I believe he sends his kids to do volunteer work and go to school in El Salvador in the summers. He’s not a snob, he’s pretty disheveled actually, I wonder if you’re confused. I don’t know him well, but have talked to him a couple times, just feel from you you’re a good person and he is, both are wanting the world to be a better place and aren’t phony like someone like Michaela Alioto who pretends to be liberal and sends her rich white kids to private school or Chris Daly who pretends to be liberal and moves his rich white and Asian kids to a suburb, same with Gavin Newsom. You seem a genuine liberal and so does he, which is why I suggest this. The main reason is that so many children really need you. You would be doing what you write above if you adopted through the foster system.

  135. phil said:

    Thanks god for rent control! Where rent control isn’t, renters struggle to keep up with the greed of their landlords. Don’t tell me that landlords – as a group – are sensitive to the economic realities and constraints of their tenants – they’re not. Maybe some of the landlords that are posting here – saying things like they only rent to certain races (illegal!!! get a clue!!!) because those races “won’t use rent control to ‘cheat’ them” – are the ones that society has to worry about.

    I don’t want to hear some landlord’s sob story about how she had to work as a stripper, and how she got picked on and blah, blah, blah – all is the name of rationalizing her insistence on being able to raise rent on a tenant that exceeds that tenants cost of living, just because it’s what the “market” will bear. Maybe in Wall Street country that kind of ethic is admirable, but I call GREED!

    Last, it makes me sick to hear some GREEDY land lord say that some renters want to steal from her by using rent control. Sounds like a bitter and unhappy person to me – someone who had a hard life and is still blaming others, and taking it out on the world by renting only to vulnerable, docile people who she can make pay through the nose, if necessary. If I ever find out that ANY landlord is only renting to one race because “she doesn’t want trouble”, I will *immediately* report that landlord to the appropriate authorities! Anyone can be a greed-ball, but nobody should be permitted to brag about the blatantly discriminatory practices I have witnessed on this thread and get away with it!

  136. Fred said:

    These debates are fascinating. I don’t think current rent control law even allows you to keep up with inflation, and we all know that real inflation is higher than stated inflation. I agree, no one should discriminate by race, but I do get what one wrote about try to find people who will marry in a few years, move on. Base it on looks. Any attractive young woman will end up marrying in a year or two, as will a guy who is pretty successful and nice looking. Immigrants have more honor than native Americans of any race, I mean they’re less likely to end up bragging about paying 800 for a place worth 2500 (Greg, clearly in excess of what he needs to not be in poverty) and also less likely to be homeless, to be lazy in school and blame society, commit crimes, etc. Personally I agree with rent control but feel there should be limits, such as maybe you have to at least pay 70% of market rate, so you can have a discount to avoid poverty but not 800 for a place worth 2500. However, and the landlords probably will bash me for this, I also think the same should apply to Prop 13. Prop 13 should not apply to businesses and the max anyone should benefit is maybe 70%, so people paying $700 on a house worth $1 million would be paying 7500 in property tax under my law.

    These laws are passed with the idea of victimization. We pass Prop 13 on the idea of poor seniors being forced out of their home and it ends up benefitting Bank of America and other huge companies and many older residents with high incomes. It should be means tested. We also pass rent control with the idea of poor and minorities being driven out of house and home by the market, but not to benefit someone who makes a lot of money and is greedy. No one should be greedy. We should have a balanced policy. Landlords should not be greedy, but neither should tenants. Neither should homeowners on Prop 13 paying less than 10% the house next to them. We should find a balance and all pay what we can afford. I have tremendous respect for people who pay more than required because they aren’t a charity case. I wish people would pay more tax than required by Prop 13. Then we wouldn’t be shutting down schools. And I wish landlords wouldn’t gouge people either, even new tenants. Common sense and basic decency are needed. It seems most just do whatever they can and don’t care about the consequences. What Greg’s doing is immoral, but that doesn’t mean the landlords aren’t equally immoral. It’s just the norm in this day and age.

    As a white guy but one who majored in cultural anthropology in college, I know that the law for all is often not the same as the law within an ethnic group, and that’s often a good thing. I studied Italian culture mostly, but I’m sure Chinese and Russian and Irish have certain honor codes in the Richmond that wouldn’t be respected by Greg or by many landlords. What Greg did is beyond honor. I understand rent control for those that need it, but to act like a charity case when you are not demeans the dignity of the law. In New York, Woody Allen has a bunch of apartments under rent control, like 10 and he’s a rich multi-millionaire, not to mention he married his own stepdaughter. To me that’s wrong. Greg probably thinks that’s somehow OK.

    I like what Dilma wrote about divorce. You can’t just say, I feel like divorce so I will do it. The entire Russian community chimes in and if it hurts the kids, it doesn’t happen, even if it benefits one man or woman. It’s the same with rent control. If it’s fair, I’m sure it happens, but if it’s to an extreme I know most rabbis and Orthodox priests would step in and say, do what’s right, just like with a divorce.

    I don’t think no one divorced should run for office, but we should be aware it’s not best for children. I’m all for gay and lesbian marriage, but two parents raise a child better than one and two parents and grandparents even better, which is probably a lot of why Tiger parents and immigrants do better in school, there’s a sense of honor and loyalty, not just do what you want.

    We all know when we’re doing the right thing and when we are not.

  137. Lucas Zhang said:

    I believe it’s legal for Chinese to rent to Chinese as a cultural preference, we don’t damage places as much and are more honest when it comes to things like rent control. I believe it’s illegal for whites to not rent to nonwhites, but minorities have more freedom because we are victims. Chinese were killed as recently as the ’70s because people thought we were Japanese and responsible for Toyota and job losses, in big numbers. We were not allowed to testify, driven out by racist immigration policies, the exclusion act, etc. I know many blacks prefer to rent to blacks and never see a lawsuit over that. I think it would be illegal, however, for Russians to prefer Russians because technically they are white. I know it’s legal to discriminate when choosing roommates, I know because I’m gay and would sue if discriminated for a studio but it said on Craigslist that roommates can prefer based on preference. What are the laws on all this? LIke a woman can prefer a woman roommate, but not if she owns a studio or apartment, right?

  138. Fred said:

    I agree with you Phil that the tenant’s “cost of living” and income are key. Rent control should be for those who need it, not everyone. Greg openly bragged of paying as little as he could despite having a very high income.

  139. spokenword said:

    Greg:

    As I noted earlier, you’re again talking out the back of your pants. I’ve known David Lee for some time, and can tell you for a fact there were no plans whatsoever to do anything to rent control (and interestingly enough, no one can come up with any evidence whatsoever to prove there was). It was people like you who made assumptions and spread paranoid rumors that were based on nothing but, “Oh my God, what if…??”

    And why don’t I find it surprising that you’ve been called a commie, a scumbag -and most understandably – a dirty sewer rat? As it’s obvious from several people on here, your authoritative rants become tired after awhile.

  140. Greg said:

    People… I don’t know why this is such a difficult concept. You guys keep insisting that I act like a “charity case” as if rent control is charity, that I’m pro rent control even though I don’t “need” it. Again, I just fundamentally disagree with the purpose of rent control. It’s not just about need. It’s not just about charity. It’s about ensuring fair play for all. You don’t have the right to profiteer just because someone can “afford” to be gauged. If we allowed that, we’d be creating communities exclusively of people who can afford to be gauged (along with a few low-income “charity cases”). And middle and working class people would be pushed out of the city. That’s not healthy for the community.

    It is indexed to inflation, but I *believe* it’s not indexed at 100% of CPI (correct me if I’m wrong). It may be 2/3 of CPI or something like that. But that’s totally fair, because while some portion of expenses go up (repair costs), the one major expense (mortgage) never goes up. So if you covered your mortgage on $800 when you bought the place, you don’t need endless increases to cover it in perpetuity. You don’t even need to increase it at 100% of CPI.

    So stop harping on this “charity” frame. I simply don’t buy into this frame, that the market should be allowed to run wild and let people take advantage of others just because a certain segment can “afford” it. And I’m glad that most San Franciscans don’t buy into it either. Besides, it’s not your business to be counting my money for me. Isn’t that what rich people admonish others not to do?

    To the poster who claimed I said landlords are all evil, I never said any such thing. I just think that *some* people will get greedy and profiteer if there are no laws to put a check on them. Landlords have a tremendous amount of economic power in a city like San Francisco, where housing is scarce. If we were living somewhere where no one wants to live, it would be a different story and we wouldn’t need rent control. But evil? No, I don’t think they’re all evil. Although… when you have landlords using the red herring of “cultural difference” to rationalize racial discrimination and discrimination based on looks, even speaking in favorable tones about “others” who murder their tenants… well I’ll let the reader decide if that’s evil or not.

  141. ALY said:

    There are so many statements made, I went to TU site to check: a few things:
    According to the Tenant Union website, a renter is due his deposit plus interest on moving out – provided that this deposit is not withheld (with documentation and so on) to cover damage done to the place. I cannot find any ordinance that say that tenants are supposed to be paid interest monthly on the deposits.
    Discrimination in renting based on race is of course illegal.
    Buildings of 2/4 unit were exempt from rent control until 96 – I actually remember the moment when the law was changed, because my landlord came to my door to inform me of the change, and he was rather upset about it.

    Also city has all sort of laws that were passed with good intention to make it hard for apartment buildings to convert to condos and evict people , but as a side effect and specially in this economy make life of many TIC owners hard. We are punished by the city in 5 different ways for the sin of owning a home : they treat TIC as one tax payor so if any owner goes bankrupt others are in the hook for his taxes (which happened to my TIC last year) . We pay twice the mortgage rate, and the banks do not offer fixed mortgage on TIC for more than 7 years. Banks also refuse mortgages specifically because of the rent laws: they claim that if a owner defaults, but has a low paying renter the bank would not be able to evict. Or they make the whole building sign that if one unit is foreclosed we all must agree to Elis act! Is this fair or good for anyone, owners or renters? So we are gouged by the banks and we are gouged by the city, who charges us “apartment fees” – though my TIC is all owner occupied; they restrict conversion to condo, by making us play ‘lottery” for years and years and years, and more fees.

    My neighbor lost her job 3 year ago, and had to move out to live with her kids and rent the place out. She found a new job 16 month later and wanted her home back, but renters did not want to move out though they were month to month. She would have to pay them over 20K ( 2 minors) to move out and she could not afford it, so she kept living with her daughter for another year. Is that normal? There are laws protecting renters with minor and renters over 65, but what if the owner is over 65? Or have a minor child? Or a sick parent? Do they get any breaks at all?

    I agree in apartment buildings run as business rent should be regulated, and they should not be able to kick people out at will, or harass renters or make their life hell to get them out just to hike the rent, which happens. But if a person is renting out their own home they should be able to get it back at the end of lease with out jumping through the hoops.

    If the city wants to make it hard to take rental property off the market and sell it as condos – ok, make it hard on the developers. But why punish for years on end those who buy to live in the space , and even first time buyers? We home owners pay property tax, school taxes, some other mystery taxes; we now are obliged to trim the trees we did not even plant, we must take care of sidewalks in front of our buildings, and on and on and on… So why are we such ‘greedy’ horrible people? Because we get a tax break on mortgage interests? But we have to pay that interest first and that interest cumulatively can be 500% more than the purchase price.

    Our rent laws are insane, and badly written, and confusing and they need a major overhaul.

  142. Greg said:

    Aly,
    Check again regarding the interest.
    Page 46 of the TU handbook, section 49.2c of the code, says: “(c) the landlord may elect to pay the accrued interest as provided in subsection (b) above on a monthly basis, but in no event less than once a year.”

    I wasn’t necessarily asking for monthly payments (yearly would’ve been fine by me), but this guy didn’t pay me or any of his tenants at all for years!

    The TIC situation is tough. I understand the frustrations of TICs. But I also understand the reasoning for the law, and I agree with it. If we allowed unlimited condo conversions, we’d be taking a lot of rent controlled units off the market. There’s a reason why TICs are offered at around a 20% discount relative to condos -you take on this additional risk. Don’t like the risk? Don’t buy the TIC.

  143. Greg said:

    BTW… just checked the CPI question. My memory served me (mostly) correctly. It’s 60% of CPI, not 2/3. I think that’s eminently fair.

  144. ALY said:

    Greg it is really useless talking to you. You live at other’s expense and you will protect your ‘right” to do so no matter what. You will come up with ‘philosophies” and “theories”, but what it comes down you risk nothing; you contribute nothing, your are responsible for nothing; you are ideologue and a demagogue; and I have no respect or interest in your opinion at all.

  145. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    Greg, you obviously don’t have the character or integrity to save and buy a property yourself so you resent those that do. You also don’t have the integrity to raise a child and constantly criticize parents. I wish you would take up the advice and adopt a foster child. Then I would believe that you don’t just care about yourself. I agree with Aly, all your proclaimed morals are just what’s good for Greg. Nothing more. 60% is not fair. Investments increase returns. No wonder many try to avoid renting to the likes of you you are a nightmare. And for the record I don’t agree with murder, in fact I voted to end the death penalty. I was just stating it probably will happen more and more in desperate cases, particularly if landlords have mafia connections. Some of the Russian landlords I know are scary people I don’t even want to get into a conversation with for fear I will phrase something, in my native language, Russian, in the wrong tone and they’ll be offended, they have bookie and prostitution rackets, drugs. I know they’ve killed. I avoid them, I say hello to not offend but I don’t want to have anything to do with them at Russian events. I do not approve, I don’t even know this has ever happened in California, just suspect it and know it happened in New York. To me, murder for any reason is reprehensible, including the death penalty.

  146. Jeff Sanchez said:

    The thing about rent control and Prop 13 is they are allegedly to help victims of economic distress but then randomly help people based on how long they live in a place. I believe a rental subsidy for the poor would be a more effective place and, and Greg would agree with this if he cares about everyone not just himself, how about a limit on how much rent can be charged for all tenants, whether new or old. That would be broadly distributed. Everyone would benefit. Maybe you could say that you can’t charge over 33.3% of the average income in the City, or raise it more than say 5% a year period, even if people leave. Not give one person a 2/3s discount while their neighbors are paying full rate. If you’re paying a 3d market rate but your neighbor is paying full, and you earn more than them, this isn’t a good way to solve poverty. It’s just randomly giving one person a benefit because they’ve been there a long time.

    It also favors older, more stable, and whiter residents. It favors the establishment. Prop 13 favors the conservative establishment and rent control favors the liberal establishment. Both should be means tested to make sure they are helping only those who need it.

    It is important, Greg, to count your money because this is a form of charity or welfare. You’re essentially taxing the owner to give you extra money. Now this is fair in some sense, I don’t want rents to spiral out of control and see the local residents leave as happened in the Mission, Western Addition, now the Bayview, etc. I just think the benefit should be broad based, not just for people who stick in a place a long time and are lucky enough to choose the place that doesn’t get sold upon the owner’s death or a move in, etc.

    As for Aly, I agree with you. The higher percentage of homeowners we can get the better, owning a home helps kids do well in school, creates stability, and allows people to build wealth. There’s no reason we need to keep rental housing. It’d be better if we can find ways to help everyone become a homeowner. I agree with the broadening of home ownership Clinton pushed and disagree with the Republicans blaming poor owning homes. Poor people could own a home for the rent they are paying with the right support and forgiveness of the 10%. It would help the poor and ultimately, everyone, because eventually there would be fewer and fewer poor people, it could be a hand up and eventually we can all afford to pay our own way.

  147. Greg said:

    Well Aly, if you must know, the feeling is mutual. But I’ve been trying to remain civil. It’s hard to remain civil in the face of incivility, when people righteously assert the prerogative of the powerful to take advantage of the weak (and denounce anyone who dares stand up for their rights), when people are making all sorts of assumptions about your personal life and background (most of which are false), when people are calling you “commie” and (my favorite) “dirty sewer rat.” But it’s all right. You’re not the only ones who read this blog, and you’re not doing your cause any favors.

  148. gman said:

    @dirty sewer rat (greg) – kharma is a bitch on the come around. i hope your landlord spends the money to get rid of you at somepoint. you will might get a payoff but it will not last in the long run. your freeloading ass and others like you will be run out of this town and we will all be the better for it. being the successful and thoughtful person you claim to be you must be donating the all the money you save from below market rent to charity to help the needy. if you do that then i think it would be reasonable to apologize to you for the attacks you’ve received in this thread. or maybe you’ve become a caretaker for the building you rent in because you realize the benefit you receive by paying below market rent. however all your postings point to a self serving asshole. the fact that you can recite tenant union code is great if you are a tenat rights attorney. in your case you just have no life…i mean who wants to hang out with someone who can recite tenant union code. masturbate and be happy my miserable friend!

  149. spokenword said:

    Greg, reading the number of sentiments above from other people posting – and also reading some of your views on the “debate” section of the blog earlier today – sounds like you really resonate with others in the Richmond district. Maybe “ye of the big mouth” might want to give it a rest…

  150. Greg said:

    The Prop 13 parallel is an interesting angle, but there are differences. Let me say right off the bat that I support rent control, but not Prop 13. And before you flame me for alleged hypocrisy or whatever other imagined crimes, I just want to caution you about making assumptions about me. I’ve mentioned nothing about my/my family’s homeowner status or landlord status (except to say that I rent my primary residence), I mentioned nothing about whether or not I have kids, nothing about my marital status, my race or age, etc. And so far most of your assumptions about me have been wrong. I’ll just say that I vote based on the merits of what I believe is good for the community, rather than self-interest. So please, let’s keep it civil and discuss on the merits of the issue.

    The biggest difference I see is that Prop 13 relates to taxes, while rent control regulates private transactions. Some libertarians think that makes rent control illigitimate, but I think it’s more legitimate. The money you pay for property tax goes to schools, and Prop 13 has decimated California’s public schools, which were once the envy of the nation.

    By contrast, the money that the tenant keeps and the landlord does not get as a result of rent control hurts no one but the lanlord. No schools or other social services are cut as a result of rent control. Yes, the landlord makes less profit, but as I’ve outlined above, landlords make enough profit with or without rent control. So “hurts” is really a relative thing. OTOH, having rent control keeps communities stable, it prevents pushing out working class and yes even high-moderate income middle class folks, all of whom we want to make up a diverse city. Plus, since renters are 1. usually less rich than landlords, and 2. renters are by definition locals, whereas landlords may or may not be local residents, rent control means more money pumped back into the economy in general, and more money into the local economy in particular.

    Rent control has a whole host of ripple effect benefits. The only question is whether you believe the government has a legitimate right to regulate commerce between private individuals. I do, and we do it in other ways big and small -from minimum wage and labor laws, to price controls on certain food, to laws against war profiteering and usury.

    Prop 13, OTOH, has a whole lot of mostly pernicious effects. We all lose the revenue from Prop 13 -the schools in particular. Also, it helps fuel real estate bubbles because no one wants to let go of their house. I do sympathize with the proverbial little old lady who couldn’t afford the taxes on her now-million dollar home, but we also need to understand that this little old lady is now quite wealthy in accumulated equity, unlike the renter who has no equity.

    In a just world, I think we’d find a better way to find schools than through proeprty tax. But that’s the way it works in America. There probably isn’t the political will to get rid of Prop 13 completely right now. People tend to want to take as much as possible for themselves regardless of what it does to society. But at the very least, there can be no argument against a few sensible changes like Split Roll for big commercial properties.

  151. Jeff Sanchez said:

    You have a good point about the local economy, I hadn’t thought of that.

    Greg isn’t the worst offender, he’s average. The fact is, welfare or unfair benefits should be all based on need. Rent control is the most minor. Prop 13 is larger, but larger yet is capital gains tax and dividends tax being low, low inheritance tax when the accumulated wealth never had a tax paid on it (you can inherit 5 million tax-free and if it’s assets you bought for 300,000, your kids pay nothing on the increase when you die). Even the lower rates on the rich than in Europe. Plus, CEO pay is corrupt, not based on skill. Sorry a CEO doesn’t work 400 times as hard as the average worker or produce 400 x as much, it’s interlocking directorates and power. Boeing and Haliburton building things we don’t need in no bid contracts, etc.

    We need to fight all welfare, corporate, rent control, prop 13, etc. Yes, there should be some limits to rent control based on income and percent of market value, but long before we adjust Greg’s rent control we should address the other issues. Welfare and charity should be for the poor, and the rich get far more of it than the poor do. That’s pure corruption.

    The only thing I don’t like about rent control is it’s random. There should be a distributed good equal to all, not something that mostly goes to older white people like Woody Allen or Greg. I also don’t think you need as much rent control welfare if you don’t contribute to the future by having or adopting kids.

  152. Sam said:

    There are clearly a lot of strong feelings about rent control. I agree with Aly and the others who think it needs to be modified so it doesn’t cover single-family homes or buildings with less than 4 units. Landlords aren’t inherently oppressive. It’s the rent control laws that are unfair.

    I think we should hear from Supervisor Mar. He’s been strangely silent during this debate. How about it, Supervisor Mar. How do you justify the imbalanced rent control laws, meant to tame corporate greed and landlords who own large, multi-unit buildings, not small homeowners who are just trying to eke out a living or cover their expenses when they’re out of town? Perhaps we should regulate the price of milk; or Comcast; or American Airlines. Where do you draw the line?

  153. Jeff Sanchez said:

    Agreed, we need regularion but rent control should either be broad based or targeted to the poor, not people who can afford more. Most honest people don’t take full advantage but the people who do really reap unfair rewards, and every landlord has to try to guess and be afraid to rent to the wrong person, which leads to discrimination. There should be a cap on total rent, so that people can afford to move in and out of San Francisco, which would benefit all so that some aren’t kicked out, but there shouldn’t be a benefit for only the lucky few.

  154. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    Greg is not a true liberal. He’s for anything that sounds liberal so long as it benefits him. He’s against anything liberal that would cost him, like targeting his savings to truly poor African American or Latino families, adopting a child who is in foster care, etc. It would take time and money, he’d rather be single and get drunk. If it were a choice between him, well off, getting rent control or poor blacks staying in the Bayview, he’d take himself any day of the week and twice on Sunday. He talks big on bussing, but doesn’t bother to have or adopt a kid, if he did, he might be upset as it’s hard work to raise a kid well, and to have 10 hours a week tacked on by the lottery might upset him, but as is he can expound on the forces of production and other communist rants because they benefit him. Greg is for Greg, he has no moral values which are consistent. He’s not a sewar rate, he’s a typical San Franciscan unfortunately. But he is a phony liberal. If you don’t raise any kids, you obviously are selfish with your time as two people sacrificed that to raise you. If you are more for a person with money getting more by rent control than low income housing, you obviously care more about self than housing affordability. All of Greg’s opinions are based on what’s good for Greg, nothing more.

  155. Greg said:

    Dilma,
    As they say, when you “assume,” you just make and “ass” out of “u” and “me.”

  156. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    Maybe so, maybe so. Tell us more about you. I am curious. Maybe there’s much I don’t know. I agree rent control is good when it helps people who are honestly trying their best to earn as much as they can and pay fair rent but can’t to stay in San Francisco, or when it keeps the neighborhood diverse. I think it might have a greater effect, and equally harsh on landlords, if it were just to all rents, vacant or not, so the benefit would be equal. I’m not really pro-landlord. I just want the most effective form of welfare which really helps those in need and is equal to all. It would also discourage discrimination if when someone moves out and another moves in, the rent still can’t just be raised to anything they want. 1700 for a 2500 place, that’s fair, maybe should be law to keep SF more affordable. 800 for a 2500 place, that’s taking advantage and extreme. But tell us about the rest. Maybe you have done things I don’t know about. I’m all ears.

  157. Greg said:

    Dima,
    What’s the point? You guys supposedly have me all figured out. According to the profilers on this blog, I:
    -work for a union
    -don’t live in the Richmond
    -never been a homeowner or property owner
    -native born, because I don’t understand the immigrant experience
    -raised in a two parent household
    -am “older”
    -single
    -no kids
    -hippy
    -and of course, a liberal communist anarchist Marxist Stalinist progressive pinko Democrat dirty sewer rat (but to be fair those are just opinions)

    Without splashing the personal details of my life, which I don’t necessarily care to do, suffice it to say the vast majority of these assumptions are wrong. I’ve corrected one or two, but I don’t really care. I think it’s the issues that matter, which is why I directly address what other posters *say* rather than make demographic assumptions about them based on conjecture. So I can’t understand this whole desire to profile people. Oh, wait… I forget. This board is full of landlords and this is what you guys do with your tenants, by your own admission. Well, let’s just say that if you’re as good at profiling tenants as you are about profiling me, then don’t quit your day job. You are to demographic profiling, what Dick Morris is to political punditry.

    Seriously, people. Can we just talk issues on the merits?

  158. Jean said:

    I’m somewhere in the middle on the issue of rent control. On the one hand, everyone needs decent, affordable housing. On the other, landlords are entitled to make an honest living. The problem with San Francisco’s rent control laws is that they are far too heavily weighted in favor of tenants, to the disadvantage of landlords, including owners of single-family homes and buildings with 4 units or less.

    One problem is that the allowable rent increases don’t track inflation. So you have situations where long-term tenants have barely had their rents raised in decades, when at the same time maintenance and management costs have increased on the average of 3%/year. Unfortunately, one consequence of this is that the landlords stop maintaining their buildings, to the detriment of both the tenants and the surrounding neighborhood. So, perhaps the rent regulators could have a more fair process for deciding how much the rents can be increased.

    Another issue is owner move ins, esp. when a single-family homeowner wants to rent his house for a year or so, and then is unable to reoccupy the home b’cse the tenants won’t leave. Something’s wrong with that. If the parties have signed a lease agreement for one year, then the tenant should leave when the lease is up if that’s what the landlord wants. Otherwise, what’s the point have having an agreement. It’s not worth the paper it’s written on.

    These are just two of many problems with SF’s current rent control laws. There are ways of fixing these and others without gutting all of rent control. Supervisor Mar, please sit down with your constituents, housing experts, tenants and landlords, and start a reasoned discussion about this issue. There’s gotta be a better way.

  159. Greg said:

    Jean,
    Rent control increases ARE tied to inflation. Just not 100% of CPI. And it shouldn’t be. Yes, maintenance costs do increase. But mortgage costs do not, and mortgage is the biggest cost.

    What you are talking about is the piecemeal dismantling of rent control. That’s what the real estate and landlord lobby was going for in this race, knowing full well that outright repeal would be impossible as a practical matter. Voters rejected even that approach.

    People fought too hard for the tenant protections we have, to start giving it back piece by piece.

  160. Yana said:

    Most of my close friends are renters, I am not a landlord, and I support some form of rent control. However, I believe that everything has to be in moderation and make common sense. Otherwise, we might end up with disastrous results. An extreme in the law such as rent control might bring a “law of unintended consequences”, such as limit the number of rental units and artificially raise prices on these available units.

    Blanca Torres of the San Francisco Business Times, wrote an interesting blog about the relatively high rate of vacant homes in San Francisco. After analyzing the 2010 U.S. Census data, she surprisingly discovered that San Francisco had the highest percentage of vacant homes in the Bay Area.

    “San Francisco, one of the most coveted places in the world to live in, has more than 30,000 empty homes according to 2010 U.S. Census data. That means about 8.3 percent or about one in every dozen homes is vacant — more than any other surrounding county.”

    In the “Economics in One Lesson” by Henry Hazlitt, “The Lesson Applied, What Rent Control Does”, (http://steshaw.org/economics-in-one-lesson/chap18p1.html), he writes: “The very fact that the legal rents are held so far below market rents artificially increases the demand for rental space at the same time as it discourages any increase in supply. So the more unreasonably low the rent ceilings are held, the more certain it is that the ‘‘scarcity” of rental houses or apartments will continue.

    The injustice imposed on landlords is flagrant. They are, to repeat, forced to subsidize the rents paid by their tenants, often at the cost of great net losses to themselves. The subsidized tenants may frequently be richer than the landlord forced to assume part of what would otherwise be his market rent. The politicians ignore this. Men in other businesses, who support the imposition or retention of rent control because their hearts bleed for the tenants, do not go so far as to suggest that they themselves be asked to assume part of the tenant subsidy through taxation. The whole burden falls on the single small class of people wicked enough to have built or to own rental housing.”

    There is also an issue of maintenance. Henry Hazlitt writes: “In fact, where rent control is particularly unrealistic or oppressive, landlords will not even keep rented houses or apartments in tolerable repair. Not only will they have no economic incentive to do so; they may not even have the funds.

    … there is no incentive to build new low-income housing, or even to keep existing low-income housing in good repair. The accommodations for the low-income groups, therefore, will deteriorate in quality, and there will be no increase in quantity. Where the population is increasing, the deterioration and shortage in low-income housing will grow worse and worse. It may reach a point where many landlords not only cease to make any profit but are faced with mounting and compulsory losses. They may find that they cannot even give their property away. They may actually abandon their property and disappear, so they cannot be held liable for taxes. When owners cease supplying heat and other basic services, the tenants are compelled to abandon their apartments. Wider and wider neighborhoods are reduced to slums. In recent years, in New York City, it has become a common sight to see whole blocks of abandoned apartments, with windows broken, or boarded up to prevent further havoc by vandals. Arson becomes more frequent, and the owners are suspected.

    A further effect is the erosion of city revenues, as the property-value base for such taxes continues to shrink. Cities go bankrupt, or cannot continue to supply basic services.

    … This has been the almost universal result in every country that was involved in World War II or imposed rent control in an effort to offset monetary inflation.

    … So we come back to our basic lesson. The pressure for rent control comes from those who consider only its imagined short-run benefits to one group in the population. But when we consider its long-ran effects on everybody, including the tenants themselves, we recognize that rent control is not only increasingly futile, but increasingly destructive the more severe it is, and the longer it remains in effect.”

    According to the article “The Unintended Consequences of Rent Control” by Art Carden, (http://mises.org/daily/3483): “Rent control also destroys landlords’ incentives to maintain the housing stock. … Eliminating a landlord’s ability to enjoy the return from investing in higher-quality housing means eliminating the landlord’s incentive to invest in basic upkeep. The article poses a question: “So which is worse, rent control or bombs? … When a city is bombed, it is destroyed by people with evil intentions. When a city is subjected to rent control, it is destroyed by people with good intentions.”

  161. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    For the record Lee was as liberal on rent control as Mar, I debated the issue with him at the cafe.

    My thinking is no one should be a charity case unless they are truly in need. You’re getting a welfare payment, a value transfer, because you moved in long ago. Charity should go to those in need. The U.S. has such a bizarre mix of laws it’s ridiculous. Work for a hedge fund, pay 15%, work for a sports team, pay 35%, or 39.6 soon if Obama ends the tax cuts for the rich (which I am for).

    I hate seeing yards that have been neglected for over a decade. That is disgusting and maybe rent control is the reason, not sure. You’d think if someone is getting a huge discount they’d take initiative and put in a lawn with the extra money they’re getting by the discount, but it doesn’t happen. Most just pocket the money.

    It’s a lot of money and could be better spent on poor families with children, African American children, nutrition.

    I’d say, maybe let there be market rate rent but say a 15% discount if you’ve stayed 5 years, and make there be a sales tax on rent that comes under, so the rent doesn’t go up but the landlord has to spend 10% of the rent he gets on tutors for the poor or low income housing. Maybe that would be fair. Rent control is fair to a degree, but if you take it to an extreme it isn’t fair. I don’t mind the landlord losing money, it’s just all the benefit going to the lucky few who may not be poor is silly. You’d think with that big of a discount you could save and buy a place, and move out, and when they first passed rent control housing was cheap and no one thought anyone would be in the same place 30 years and pay a third, have a two-thirds rent welfare payment from one unlucky landlord, the idea was if they saved the difference they’d have a down payment and buy their own place and it would be good for real estate. This was around 1980. In many cases that happened, but some just blow the money each month and keep taking and taking and taking like parasites.

    I can just tell you don’t have children by your lack of sympathy. If no one raises the next generation, we have no future. That’s why our schools are falling apart, so many educated people put that education to themselves instead of passing it on. If you have no kids all you achieve dies with you.

  162. Jared Fong said:

    The problem with rent control is you’re saying this person is conservative and priveleged and must give to the poor, and this person is a liberal victim and by their victim status deserves forced money from the rich. But people choose to be rich and poor by their actions. What if the poor renter spends more time relaxing. It reminds me of that Tom Wolfe book Mau Mau and the Flak Catchers, whoever yells louder and screams poor me, like Greg, gets the biggest benefit, even if they have no kids and aren’t poor. It’s not really about being poor it’s about being an obnoxious poor me victim who bitches the loudest.

  163. Yana said:

    Most of my close friends are renters, I am not a landlord, and I support some form of rent control. However, I believe that everything has to be in moderation and make common sense. Otherwise, we might end up with disastrous results. An extreme in the law such as rent control might bring a “law of unintended consequences”, such as limit the number of rental units and artificially raise prices on these available units.

    Blanca Torres of the San Francisco Business Times, wrote an interesting blog about the relatively high rate of vacant homes in San Francisco. After analyzing the 2010 U.S. Census data, she surprisingly discovered that San Francisco had the highest percentage of vacant homes in the Bay Area.

    “San Francisco, one of the most coveted places in the world to live in, has more than 30,000 empty homes according to 2010 U.S. Census data. That means about 8.3 percent or about one in every dozen homes is vacant — more than any other surrounding county.”

    In the “Economics in One Lesson” by Henry Hazlitt, “The Lesson Applied, What Rent Control Does”, he writes: “The very fact that the legal rents are held so far below market rents artificially increases the demand for rental space at the same time as it discourages any increase in supply. So the more unreasonably low the rent ceilings are held, the more certain it is that the ‘‘scarcity” of rental houses or apartments will continue.

    The injustice imposed on landlords is flagrant. They are, to repeat, forced to subsidize the rents paid by their tenants, often at the cost of great net losses to themselves. The subsidized tenants may frequently be richer than the landlord forced to assume part of what would otherwise be his market rent. The politicians ignore this. Men in other businesses, who support the imposition or retention of rent control because their hearts bleed for the tenants, do not go so far as to suggest that they themselves be asked to assume part of the tenant subsidy through taxation. The whole burden falls on the single small class of people wicked enough to have built or to own rental housing.”

    There is also an issue of maintenance. Henry Hazlitt writes: “In fact, where rent control is particularly unrealistic or oppressive, landlords will not even keep rented houses or apartments in tolerable repair. Not only will they have no economic incentive to do so; they may not even have the funds.

    … there is no incentive to build new low-income housing, or even to keep existing low-income housing in good repair. The accommodations for the low-income groups, therefore, will deteriorate in quality, and there will be no increase in quantity. Where the population is increasing, the deterioration and shortage in low-income housing will grow worse and worse. It may reach a point where many landlords not only cease to make any profit but are faced with mounting and compulsory losses. They may find that they cannot even give their property away. They may actually abandon their property and disappear, so they cannot be held liable for taxes. When owners cease supplying heat and other basic services, the tenants are compelled to abandon their apartments. Wider and wider neighborhoods are reduced to slums. In recent years, in New York City, it has become a common sight to see whole blocks of abandoned apartments, with windows broken, or boarded up to prevent further havoc by vandals. Arson becomes more frequent, and the owners are suspected.

    A further effect is the erosion of city revenues, as the property-value base for such taxes continues to shrink. Cities go bankrupt, or cannot continue to supply basic services.

    … This has been the almost universal result in every country that was involved in World War II or imposed rent control in an effort to offset monetary inflation.

    … So we come back to our basic lesson. The pressure for rent control comes from those who consider only its imagined short-run benefits to one group in the population. But when we consider its long-ran effects on everybody, including the tenants themselves, we recognize that rent control is not only increasingly futile, but increasingly destructive the more severe it is, and the longer it remains in effect.”

    According to the article “The Unintended Consequences of Rent Control” by Art Carden, “Rent control also destroys landlords’ incentives to maintain the housing stock. … Eliminating a landlord’s ability to enjoy the return from investing in higher-quality housing means eliminating the landlord’s incentive to invest in basic upkeep. The article poses a question: “So which is worse, rent control or bombs? … When a city is bombed, it is destroyed by people with evil intentions. When a city is subjected to rent control, it is destroyed by people with good intentions.”

  164. Susan said:

    Wow – a lot of opinions on both sides. It does really scare me that a landlord will admit on a blog that they not only discriminate, but also don’t follow the rent control laws of the city. As a renter, I’m happy with rent control as I don’t have to worry that my landlord is going to suddenly increase my rent by WAY more then I can afford or is reasonable just because the “market” is going there. Unless you’re a union member, most companies give raises based on performance, NOT cost of living… and they are very clear about that when they do give raises. My landlord is getting a very reasonable amount of money from me each month – just because they could rent an empty apartment for more money then I pay doesn’t mean they should be able to up my rent to that level just because! Most landlords – big companies, small landowners, – don’t spend a lot of money when they have long term renters, rent control or not. How many landlords proactively offer to paint, recarpet, do other upgrades to a unit? I have many frieinds in units they have lived in for 5+ years with old/decaying carpet or paint, yet landlords don’t want to spend any money to upgrade.
    The up-side to longer term tenants is that you have a stable income, no months without rent, your property has eye’s watching out for it. You also don’t have to repair/paint/upgrade. In 5 years in my apartment, I’ve had to call for plumbing assistance one time – and that was after 2 trips the hardware store to attempt to solve the problem myself. I also moved into an apartment that they were very clear was “as is” – lime green bedroom and all! I had to repaint myself. The hallway & dining room (with the most intricate woodwork) really need painting, but would require a major project to prep as there are 75+ years of paint peeling right now!

  165. Yana said:

    Greg: Is it your position that you care about tenants, as long as these tenants don’t have children? You also care about poor, as long as these poor don’t live in the Richmond district or the Sunset district? Because children sent to schools across town are often new immigrants or from middle class families, whose parents have to work full time.

    I hope it’s not what the city of San Francisco supervisors actually want, families with children leaving the city. If not, they are not doing a good job helping families to stay.

    From the article I found on the Web, printed in 2011:

    “These were just a few of the scores of statistics presented at a special Board of Supervisors hearing Thursday to help explain why San Francisco is bleeding families with children – losing 5,278 people younger than 18 between 2000 and 2010, according to census figures.

    There are actually about 3,000 more children younger than 5 in the city than there were in 2000, but about 8,000 fewer school-age youths.”

    People with children leave San Francisco. Official position by the Board of Education is that most families leave because of the high cost of housing, and that we need more affordable housing. It might be one of the reasons, but I am curious: since there is 3,000 MORE kids UNDER five, and 8,000 FEWER kids OVER five in 2010 than in 2000 in SF, do the families suddenly realize that they cannot afford housing when their kids turn five?

    Or, do they realize that they cannot afford housing AND a private school, or housing AND loosing their job because they cannot work and drive their kids to school at the same time? Why do you think families leave San Francisco WHEN THEIR KIDS REACH SCHOOL AGE?

    Instead of making ALL schools more equal and good by raising educational standards, and applying extra funds to schools that need them the most, they spent millions on administering the school assignment lottery (2 million a year) and on school buses ($100,000 per bus per year). That was about 7-8 million a year for ten plus years! Do you think that money could be better spent on actual education?

  166. Yana said:

    Greg: you support “poor” kids from CTIP1 census zones having priority over neighborhood “rich” kids in school assignment. According to what I’ve heard (and I would love to see some actual statistics), most kids at Alamo that are from CTIP1 zones are from white and Chinese middle class families. There are about six African American kids, all of whom live in the Richmond district.

    Below are some posts from the Web forum last year about proposition H (neighborhood schools):

    Neighborhood Schools and Prop H

    Anonymous said…
    I live in CTIP1, but I made over $500k last year.

    Most likely, I’ll send my daughter to Burke’s or Nueva (like me, she’s very smart), but if by some fluke she doesn’t get accepted into those schools, it’s nice to know that I’ll be able to send her to Grattan, Clarendon or some other good public school (at least for a couple of years, while I make alternative arrangements for her education)….

    Anonymous said…
    You greatly underestimate the logistical elements of being a single mother. I do live in the Avenues, in a 1 Bedroom Apartment that costs $1100. I’m not rich. I don’t own a car and make less than $40,000. I have tried to get better jobs, but I can never put in the time needed to get a promotion and the economy is terrible.

    I have to do homework with my daughter and take care of all of her needs by myself, including doctor’s appointments, dental, everything. I have to pay for childcare and am constantly sleep-deprived and struggling to keep both my job and my sanity quite frankly. I have almost no free time. If I hadn’t gotten into a school in my neighborhood, I would have to spend 20 hours a week on the bus with my daughter. This happened to a friend of mine. This would absolutely ruin my life, health and sanity. It did do this to my friend.

    I am voting Yes on H. And if I lived in the Mission, I would be happy for my daughter to go to school there and would not spend 20 hours on a bus to bring her out here. Most of the parents from far away who send their children to Feinstein have cars and a lot more money than I do. You don’t realize how difficult it is to raise kids in this era when a man abandons you, which is why so many people don’t have children. You should be encouraging people to have children. My daughter is half Peruvian and I would gladly send her to a Spanish immersion school if I lived near one, but if I moved to the Mission my rent would go way up do to rent-control and I couldn’t make ends meet. Please vote Yes on H. I got lucky but many don’t. We should all have a convenient way to get our children to school and home safely.

  167. ALY said:

    @Yanna “The Unintended Consequences of Rent Control” by Art Carden,
    Thanks for posting it – fun article. I guess it’s principle could be used to explain why East Berlin looked like it was just bombed 10 years after the reunification, still does at places. Also the paradox with unfair taxation of any kind is something even Elizabeth I of England knew in her 16 century: you demand too much, and cheating becomes a worthwhile option even at the risk of punishment. You ask people contribute reasonably and the cheating is not worth the risk. So not only our extreme rent laws hurt a lot of people, they lead to cheating, and erode good will and decency of the society.

    As to families leaving SF – I do not have statistics, but I do have anecdotal evidence. Quite a few of my friends, I can name at least 5-6 families, who own their own homes on the Peninsular would have loved to move to the city if not for the schools. It had been a topic of conversation with us for many years. I hear the same from my friends who moved out of SF because of the schools, and went off to buy or rent on the Peninsula – and frankly it is not much cheaper in good school dicstricts. So maybe high rents have something to do with it, but I doubt it is the main reason. I bet the fact that you cannot get your kids into a school next door is much more of a deterrent.

  168. spokenword said:

    Dilma:

    Thank you for also making this clear:

    “For the record Lee was as liberal on rent control as Mar, I debated the issue with him at the cafe.”

    I’d like to re-iterate to Greg what he re-iterated to you:

    “As they say, when you “assume,” you just make and “ass” out of “u” and “me.”

  169. Jared Fong said:

    The sad thing is we lose families whose kids would get good grades and who would donate to PTSA. We kiss up to the families whose kids don’t appreciate it, who don’t study hard, who do poorly in school, commit more crime, etc. The poor families who stay spend less at Kumon, cafes, restaurants, shopping. If we do attract richer people due to ending rent control, or mending it, the stores will do better, the economy will do better. Busing and rent control both drive out families who would create jobs and spur our economy.

  170. Lucille Sanders said:

    They make it hard to have kids here, I have 3 and the lottery was very stressful for me. I also hate the self-righteous people with no kids that kind of have an attitude towards kids, it’s weird to me and annoying.

    The only reason I stay is because of Lowell, there just isn’t a better high school in any suburb, public or private, plus it’s the oldest West of the Mississippi. You just can’t find a better school for free anyways. The problem is a lot of parents think like that so some good kids don’t get in. I’m pretty sure mine will but it takes a lot of hard work and tutors. I guess this City pushes you to raise your kids better because all of the Tiger parents and there is so much they are exposed to in terms of culture. But I don’t feel like the powers that be really want people with kids to stay, I feel most people wish I’d move to a suburb. I won’t but I can see why some do.

  171. Greg said:

    Yana (and others):
    I do think the main reason people with older children move out is due to affordability. When you have a small child, you may not need that extra bedroom, but then when the child is over 5, you want one; when you realize how much that costs in the city, many folks just can’t afford it.

    A secondary reason is that people with older kids want a place with a back yard/bigger back yard.

    Yet another reason is that some people think this isn’t a good place to raise kids for whatever reason. I think it’s a wonderful place to raise kids, but not everyone agrees.

    Re: David Lee and rent control, I guess I just don’t believe him, considering who supported him and how much of their money they put in to elect him. He wouldn’t dare say that he opposes rent control outright. Nobody would, because unlike the posters on this blog, every politician knows that rent control enjoys overwhelming support. But conservatives like David Lee stand ready to dismantle it piece by piece if you give them half a chance. I don’t think he actually told you that he isn’t ready to make any “changes” to rent control, like means testing, or that he’s not in favor of increased condo conversions. If he did, I think he’s lying. The people supporting him weren’t stupid. They knew what they were spending their money on.

  172. Greg said:

    Just to clarify, I don’t mean to totally dismiss the experience of those who move out for the schools. I’m sure there are some who do that too. That’s their truth, their right, and they’re entitled to that. But I think there are probably just as many people in various neighborhoods who are grateful they can go to a good school even though they don’t live next door to one.

    Everybody wants the best for their kids. I understand that. If you live next door to the best school in the city, of course you’re going to want first dibs on that. And as one poster on the previous thread said, you get the side benefit that your equity will go up 100K under a “neighborhood schools” scheme. But if you don’t own a house here and you still want your kid to have a chance at a good school, you’re going to want the opposite.

    But if you’re a policymaker, an officeholder, you can’t just say “I’m going to do what’s best for me because I’ve got mine.” You have to take the needs of the whole city into account and do what’s fair for everyone. The current lottery as it stands takes geography into account. Not everyone gets what they want, but that’s not possible. Scrapping it completely would create a lot of unhappiness too, which is why it lost when you guys put it on the ballot. And it’s probably impossible, which is why not one School Board member supported it. Not even your buddy Jill Wynns.

    We teach our toddlers things like “you can’t always get what you want,” and “learn to share.” It’s unfortunate that some folks never learned those lessons when they were 4.

  173. Yana said:

    Greg, you said:
    “I do think the main reason people with older children move out is due to affordability. When you have a small child, you may not need that extra bedroom, but then when the child is over 5, you want one; when you realize how much that costs in the city, many folks just can’t afford it.

    A secondary reason is that people with older kids want a place with a back yard/bigger back yard.

    Yet another reason is that some people think this isn’t a good place to raise kids for whatever reason. I think it’s a wonderful place to raise kids, but not everyone agrees.”

    Do you have any children that live with you? I think that most people want that extra bedroom way before their child turns 5. How long do you think parents and children live in the same bedroom? Our bedroom is so small that it could never accommodate even a crib, just a bassinet that only works for the first three months. I believe that most people want to move to a bigger place when they are pregnant, to prepare for the baby’s arrival.

    The big yard is nice, but most of my friends in San Francisco raise their kids in apartments that don’t have any yard. There are parks, playgrounds, etc. to compensate.

    I think San Francisco is a wonderful place to raise kids for many reasons, the parks, the ocean, the museums are the main ones. The school system is not one of the reasons to stay, and I believe is a major contributor to why many families leave the city.

    You can read parents network forums, school assignment forums, Prop. H forums, etc. on the Web. I did, and most people say they are leaving San Francisco because of the school situation.

    And what about the kids who stay in those failing schools? The amount of money spent on the buses and the lottery would be enough to significantly improve these schools. Or do you think that all the limited resources should go to a few lucky ones who got into good schools? The school transportation itself costs millions. If every school had higher standards, GATE classes, enrichment programs, after-school programs, etc., I believe every school could be very attractive to the people who live close to it.

  174. Yana said:

    Greg, when talking about neighborhood schools, you said: “But if you’re a policymaker, an officeholder, you can’t just say “I’m going to do what’s best for me because I’ve got mine.” You have to take the needs of the whole city into account and do what’s fair for everyone.”

    - Do you have statistical data on where the children of policymakers, officeholders, Board of Educations members, and Board of Supervisors members go to school?

    - Do any of their children go to the lowest performing schools that are far from where they live? How long does it take them to get there?

    - Do any of them (children and parents) take public transportation to get to school? Do any policymaker parents spend three hours on the bus a day just to take their children to school? What about five hours?

    In my daughter’s school, there is a boy who lives near City College. It takes his mother 2.5 hours for a round-way trip to school. It’s a good school, but I know that there is another good school much closer to her house where her child could go. However, she doesn’t speak English well, and probably doesn’t know how to speak for herself. There are many more families who live in Sunset that spend hours on the bus going to the same school. All of them are immigrants with limited English. Is that the reason that the system takes advantage of them?

    I don’t have any factual data myself, but I read on the school forums that Clarendon (the best public elementary school in San Francisco) has disproportional representation of the “first families” as someone put it. There are children of San Francisco politicians in this school, and the probability of getting into this school with the lottery is about 0.46%. Again, I don’t have statistical data, but I would love to. Do you think that we have the right to know that the policymakers are fair, and that they apply the laws they make to themselves as well?

  175. Lucille Sanders said:

    You’re wrong about the schools on the whole, the SF system is above average in the State and we have some great schools. If your kid is really smart and you move, they’ll attend a worse high school than Lowell, you have to move to the East Coast if you want to find a better high school, and that includes private ones.

    As for the lottery, Camile She claimed it was “thanks to Eric Mar’s leadership” that she, a Richmond District resident, was able to choose to send her kids to school in the Richmond, or prefer to do so, technically. Reading her statement, if this is true that means that people in power can put a good word in for someone and get them what they want. His leadership, in official policy, made it so she only had a chance. But the fact that she thanked him makes me wonder if the best spots are reserved for the connected.

    The year Mar got his daughter into Presidio, Christine Miller, who worked for Prop H, only got Visitation Valley, not even Marina. She had to send her to live with grandparents for a year because it was impossible to be in two places at once, then sent her to a private school, while her son is now in a public school. Other friends got Francisco, Marina, and other far schools.

    It is suspicious that you never hear of a politician going to Cobb, Visitation Valley, Everett, or any of the schools that are undesirable. I have yet to hear of that. If you know of an example, let us know.

    Greg, in order to keep families here who have choices, you have to give them as much as possible. Poor families won’t leave. If they do, they move to an area with worse schools, Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, and they don’t help San Francisco because they spend less money, use rent control welfare, and their kids get worse grades and commit more crimes. Better off families hurt when they leave, their kids get better grades and test scores, they donate, they spend more money, they commit less crime, they save to buy so they don’t saddle landlords with huge losses they can’t afford, they become better future leaders, etc. We want to keep these people.

  176. Greg said:

    Lucille,
    Overall in San Francisco we’re suffering from the opposite problem. We seem to have no trouble attracting and keeping rich people. It’s working class people who are being squeezed out. I believe that we need to have a diverse city. I don’t want to live in a city made up only of the rich. Nor do I believe working class folks are somehow worse human beings than better off folks. And lastly, rent control isn’t welfare or charity, and landlords aren’t taking “huge losses” on it. Nobody forces landlords to be landlords. They’re just not making obscene gains. Well, actually they still are… just not quite as obscene as they otherwise would.

  177. Greg said:

    Oh yeah, and while I’m not out there snooping around to find out which politician’s kids go where, I do recall that BOE Commissioner Kim-Shree Maufus’s daughter went to Marshall. Not the greatest school.

    I don’t know where everybody’s kids go… sounds like you guys have a better grasp on where other people’s kids go than I do. But you asked for one example of a politician sending their kids to an undesireable school, so there’s one example (that I know of).

  178. Lucille Sanders said:

    Maufas’ daughter stole and didn’t even go to college. She was also already at Marshall when she won her seat. Plus she lives near Marshall, so that’s where her daughter should go without hurting somebody who lives far away by making them go there. Maufas is not a good mother. Her daughter didn’t get into Lowell and didn’t graduate college. You’re right she went to an undesireable school, but before Maufas was elected, not while she was on the board.

    I bet Mar’s daughter somehow gets into Lowell despite the other post that her grades aren’t the greatest. Probably the committee will find some way to let her in on one of the 2 15% quotas that often go to rich kids from Hamlin but are allegedly designed to help the poor. If Maufas’ daughter went to Lowell, she’d have flunked out. 99% of Lowell graduates college.

    Better off folks sometimes were born with it and are agressive jerks. However, on average people of higher income are better, they study more hours in high school and college, say no to drugs, don’t call in sick, don’t look for loopholes in laws to get charity rents via rent control. Most people with basic decency don’t stay in one place forever on rent control without at least offering to pay somewhat more to be fair. I feel bad that as a white female who isn’t Russian, when I look for a place, I’ll get grouped in with people like Greg who will cheat the system so I’m liable to be discriminated against for an action I would never take as I am not a charity case. Greg, you hurt others when you take full advantage. Real estate doesn’t return that much all told. If they’d put that money into the stock market in 1990, it’d be worth a lot more than they did renting to you.

  179. Jayson Marlowe Ganz said:

    As a history major at SF State, graduated in 2008, I’ve studied this a lot. You can tell when a certain policy is unpopular and unfair and won’t last, in it’s current form, forever, be it to the right or left.

    20 years ago it was safe to say unlimited welfare would end in America, and Clinton, a Democrat, did it. You could tell England would have a minimum wage. 40 years ago you could tell Nixon would make nice with China. You could tell the Berlin wall wouldn’t last forever. You can tell by opinion polls, commentary of intellectuals, etc. You could tell we couldn’t have our constitution and segregated schools forever, though whites have tried hard to keep that via private school for a long time, and residential patterns. That’s why busing would be better targeted to only let in Latino and AA families who would truly integrate the schools, it’s bizarre it’s making it less diverse by sucking white and Asian kids from these areas.

    But now, looking at San Francisco, 2012, you can clearly see that certain policies have a limited shelf life. I believe rent control is probably the best positioned among laws that are wrong according to a consensus in most polls in their current form. If adjustments are made so it focuses on the truly needy, it could last forever, but if it continues to benefit people who don’t need it, it won’t last forever. Too many San Franciscans who aren’t landlords respect landlords, as evidenced by the many on this board who pay more voluntarily because they feel guilty taking the full discount, mostly ethnic but not all, one Irish guy, and I know whites who do this, know one woman who could be paying $990 or so but pays $1500, but her place could rent for over 2500 so she’s still getting a great discount. It leads to discrimination, owner move ins, even murder in extreme cases. It leads to shortages, higher rents for initial rentals, even vacant apartments when the market is going up. It’s generally bad for the City and the powers that be will amend it.

    Trust me, now there are people paying $800 for a place worth 2500, but it won’t reach $5000 for a place worth $1000. It will be changed before then. In that case the renter is getting more out of the place than the owner, even in San Francisco that won’t fly.

    As a historian, it could last till 2033 in an extreme case. More likely is about 2017-19 it is adjusted to be more fair and more targeted and therefore lasts perhaps forever in a moderated form.

    You have to understand, it is costing the city billions. $855,000 wasn’t enough to buy the seat, but Supervisors are limited to 8 years, so the powers that be will spend $2 million if they have to. This race was just an experiment. David Lee wasn’t a winning candidate, and they expected to lose, this was more of a price confirmation. $855,000 probably will buy an election if there is no incumbent. Look for Lee or another pro-moderation candidate to win in 2016 and an outright anti-rent control candidate to win in 2024. This is also true in the Excelsior, London Breed, FX Crowley, Scott Wiener and Carmen Chiu are already 4 votes against it. Campos will not be replaced, that neighborhood is too liberal. Breed is a surprise. The Richmond will be against it for 4 more years, as will North Beach/Chinatown (Chiu), and this district will likely stay that way. Cohen in the Bayview is probably against it but can be bought. Jane Kim is solidly against it, and is in 6 more years, she won’t lose next time. So it is probably 4-6 years away, maybe 8. More likely those like Avalos will see the writing on the wall and want to save the protection for those truly in need, and will save it for them but only them. Maybe in a limited form for people like Greg. I for one don’t want to see people driven out so hope people like Greg can stay but pay what they can afford or at least a reasonable amount, so that it doesn’t go to pure market housing.

    Other things you can see is Gay Marriage will be everywhere eventually, within 6 years, 20-30 in the most recalcitrant places, maybe the feds have to send troops to the South to force it in 15 years. The Democrats will win at least the next 3 elections and maybe 4, Hilary or another woman the next 2, then Julian Castro or another Latino or Asian if they implode. The rich will pay more in taxes. Capital gains and dividend discounts won’t last. Marijuana won’t be illegal in 10 years. Prostitution will probaby only be illegal another 10, but maybe 15-20. Gambling might stay illegal only to help Indian tribes, which will open more casinos closer to cities.

    Affirmative action, you could tell it wouldn’t last forever. I hope they come up with true affirmative action, tutors for poor kids from an early age, so they don’t need help but actually are studying enough and doing well enough to be equal. The Asian Quota in Ivy League schools will go the way of the Jewish Quota in 5-10 years and Tiger Parenting will be the norm within 15-20 years.

    The lottery will last another 6-20 years, but not forever. People move in and out and most people come from places with neighborhood schools. 49.96% with some going against it due to the January switch, even though everyone was against it, means it ends next time it’s up.

    The reason is real estate goes up 5-10%, which means more tax revenues, money for schools, and with Prop 13 we’ll be desperate for that money. Rent control ending raises it another 15%. Greg, you should buy a home. You will make 25% plus the normal increases due to this, but only if you can hold for 30 years. San Francisco is undervalued and we’re already more expensive than any other county including Marin, whereas we were 4th in the late ’90s. More Asian and European money will inflate the prices as well.

    We need more public housing to keep blacks in SF. Maybe along the beach, in the park, in the Presidio, and on Treasure Island and SOMA. Our only hope to keep this City diverse is building more public housing, which means liberal votes which could extend rent control’s shelf life.

    Another issue which is more national is merit pay for teachers and seniority. Now Obama, seeming like a socialist, is against it. 70% in polls oppose seniority/tenure being so absolute it is nearly impossible to fire teachers. Prop 32 will pass if unions abuse their power, so it was kind of a wake up call. I hope it doesn’t, but unions will be more careful not to support things not related to pay that aren’t clearly supported by a majority, so expect compromises on pensions and tenure/work conditions. Obama is gainst it, Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee, Jimmy Carter, Clinton, many very liberal leaders.

    Why? It hurts kids and creates a culture in which teachers don’t feel a need to push themselves. People in other jobs will resent the guarantee. Pay will go up because it has to, but tenure/seniority will go. 92% of US Kids go to public school. Most see bad teachers kept so younger, better, harder-working teachers get laid off. This hurts kids and doesn’t help teachers as a whole, it just helps one teacher at the expense of another. It also really hurts poorer kids. This may surprisingly end in fewer than 10 years, like communism, there is that much of a tidal wave against it. Almost all Republicans are against it, but slightly over half of Democrats as well.

    The writing is on the wall. It would be better to compromise on it. If it is stuck to rigidly, it will end more abruptly and extremely.

    I was reading about how in some Cities, huge numbers of people are quickly driven out, like in East San Jose. I hope it isn’t ended in a way this happens. And 6% black is way too low, it used to be 18, 12 in the late ’80s. We need to stay diverse and really close the achievement gap. Driving the blacks out of town is a horrible cop out. We need to build projects in our open spaces, limited, but the Presidio is huge, we can afford the space, much is very little used. Move the pet cemetary and use the area in the upper parts that is empty, and some of the lowlands near Crissy Field. Put 20,000 people there, all Black and Latino, so our schools will be more diverse and we won’t have to bus kids to make that happen. We should also build some public housing in the outer Sunset area, maybe the water reservoirs and bring the water in from south of Daly City or an unused part of Golden Gate Park.

    It’s pretty easy for me as a historian to predict. I hope this is still posted as I am 100% sure it will happen. Most will be good, but some will be bad, unfortunately.

  180. Yana said:

    Greg,

    I just did a Google search on BOE Commissioner Kim-Shree Maufus. I just wanted to find out if Marshall was far or close to her house. The distance and transportation to school makes a big difference, which you seem to ignore.

    The first link that came out was an SFGate article: “Kim-Shree Maufas far outspends school board cohorts” by Jill Tucker (Monday, July 9, 2012). I am sorry but Kim-Shree Maufas doesn’t seem to be a good representation for the Board of Education Member.

    Under the photo of, I assume, Kim-Shree Maufas, the article reads: “Kim-Shree Maufas spent almost twice as much as any of the six other board members through April of the past school year.”

    “For the third time in less than four years, The Chronicle has uncovered a pattern of excessive and questionable spending by a San Francisco school board member, a practice that has continued despite district promises to increase oversight.

    Board member Kim-Shree Maufas spent almost twice as much as any of the six other board members through April of the past school year, spending thousands of dollars on meals and transportation in San Francisco, personal computer and phone equipment, books and photocopies, among other expenditures charged to taxpayers.

    Factoring out expenses for travel to conferences, Maufas spent more than $3,700, four times the $900 spent by the other six board members combined.

    The expenses – more than $8,000 – were made as cash-strapped schools were raising money for paper and the district was cutting four days from the school year to cover an anticipated $113 million budget shortfall over two years.” …

    “Expense accounts
    Expenditures by San Francisco school board members (including travel to conferences, reimbursements and Diners Club card charges), July 2011 through April 2012:
    Sandra Fewer: $0
    Emily Murase: $1,375.29
    Norman Yee: $1,832.28
    Hydra Mendoza: $2,661.42
    Jill Wynns: $3,462.91
    Rachel Norton: $4,840.97
    Kim-Shree Maufas: $8,334.05
    Source: San Francisco Unified School District”

  181. Yana said:

    Greg,

    It seems that Kim-Shree Maufus did live near the school her daughter attended. In addition, Maufus got reimbursed by the district for the money she spent on taxis and public transportation. Do you think that the parents who take public transportation or taxi to pick up their kids from school get reimbursed, even if they are poor?

    From SFGate article, “Kim-Shree Maufas far outspends school board cohorts”:

    “During the 10-month period through April, she (Maufas) also billed the district for $700 in taxis, BART tickets, Clipper cards and Fast Passes within San Francisco.”

  182. Yana said:

    Greg,

    It seems that Kim-Shree Maufas did live near the school her daughter attended. In addition, Maufas got reimbursed by the district for the money she spent on taxis and public transportation. Do you think that the parents who take public transportation or taxi to pick up their kids from school get reimbursed, even if they are poor?

    From SFGate article, “Kim-Shree Maufas far outspends school board cohorts”:

    “During the 10-month period through April, she (Maufas) also billed the district for $700 in taxis, BART tickets, Clipper cards and Fast Passes within San Francisco.”

  183. Yana said:

    Greg,

    It seems that Kim-Shree Maufas did live near the school her daughter attended. In addition, Maufas got reimbursed by the district for the money she spent on taxis and public transportation. Do you think that the parents who take public transportation or taxi to pick up their kids from school get reimbursed, even if they are poor?

    From SFGate article, “Kim-Shree Maufas far outspends school board cohorts”:

    “During the 10-month period through April, she also billed the district for $700 in taxis, BART tickets, Clipper cards and Fast Passes within San Francisco.”

  184. Yana said:

    Sorry for redundant posts, I guess the button got stuck and I clicked it three times.

  185. Greg said:

    “Maufas’ daughter stole and didn’t even go to college. She was also already at Marshall when she won her seat. Plus she lives near Marshall, so that’s where her daughter should go without hurting somebody who lives far away by making them go there. Maufas is not a good mother. Her daughter didn’t get into Lowell and didn’t graduate college. You’re right she went to an undesireable school, but before Maufas was elected, not while she was on the board.”

    I thought she was in Marshall at least part of the time her mother was on the board. If not, I stand corrected. The stuff about what kind of person she is, that’s irrelevant. And who are you to judge what kind of a mother Kim Shree Maufas is?

    “I bet Mar’s daughter somehow gets into Lowell despite the other post that her grades aren’t the greatest.”

    I thought that was debunked by another poster who claims to have looked up her grades because his child went to the same school, and said that her GPA was actually very high. That whole exchange just struck me as unseemly… I mean, someone actually had to go through the trouble of snooping around and checking the grades of politicians’ kids. It’s because of busybodies like that, that I choose to keep my own and my family’s personal details private. But for what it’s worth, that whole notion has been debunked.

    “Better off folks sometimes were born with it and are agressive jerks.”

    Depends. Some are, some aren’t. There are those whose outlook on life is infused with a healthy dose of “there but for fortune go I.” OTOH, there are a lot of self-entitled a-holes. Some of the worst are those who weren’t necessarily born with it, because they think they did it all on their own. In fact, nearly all had a good dose of luck and connections, but they discount that.

    “However, on average people of higher income are better,”
    Wow… that’s one heck of a sweeping generalization. Well, as long as we’re doing sweeping generalizations, let me say that in my experience, on average they’re worse.

    ” they study more hours in high school and college,”
    Most rich kids I knew did little studying, but they did manage to get into good frats.

    ” say no to drugs,”
    Nothing wrong with occasionally saying “yes.” In any case, studies show that drug use is about equal across race and class. Poor and minority kids just get profiled and harassed by the police more, so they bear the brunt of the criminal injustice system.

    “don’t call in sick,”
    When you’re sick, I should *hope* you call in sick! I don’t want my waiter serving food to me with a cold. I don’t want my doctor up in my face examining me with a cold. I’d rather not even have my MUNI driver coming in sick, because they’re more likely to get into an accident. Going to work sick is not just unhealthy for either the worker and everyone around them, but it’s economically counterproductive because they spread disease to others. This uniquely American value that you need to work through being sick is just… sick. In most civilized countries, you’re *expected* to stay home from work when you’re sick, and to incentivize that, you’re PAID for it, and you damn well SHOULD be. Thank goodness we have (had) supervisors like Chris Daly, who championed mandatory paid sick leave. And thank goodness most San Franciscans don’t think like you, but rather voted for it overwhelmingly!

    ” don’t look for loopholes in laws to get charity rents via rent control.”
    It’s not charity, and repeating that it is won’t make it true.

    “I feel bad that as a white female who isn’t Russian, when I look for a place, I’ll get grouped in with people like Greg who will cheat the system ”
    How exactly do I “cheat?” What a twisted mindset it is that tenants who merely ask for their due under the law are “cheating,” while landlords who actually *break* the law by not paying interest on deposits and even practicing racial discrimination are not cheating! Unbelievable. I’m so glad that the majority of the city doesn’t think like you.
    In any case, I was totally up front with that landlord when I moved in. Among other questions I asked, was “Is this building under rent control?”

    “Real estate doesn’t return that much all told. If they’d put that money into the stock market in 1990, it’d be worth a lot more than they did renting to you.”

    You’re simply incorrrect. Not when you consider leveraging. If you put 20% down on real estate in San Francisco in 1990, your ROI would be about 1000% on that initial downpayment. Remember, ROI is not on the price of the underlying asset, but on the investment. You put down 20%, but you get 100% of the appreciation. And if you have a tenant actually paying your mortgage for you… that’s just gravy. And if you then get to raise their rent year after year above and beyond what your mortgage is, even under the mild constrictions of rent control, that’s extra gravy. Add prop 13 to that (rent control for rich people, with the added twist that it destroys our schools), add tax deductions to that, add depreciation (I mean what the hell… your asset appreciates but the tax code is written so that you can DEpreciate it!?!)… it’s basically written by the rich, for the rich. Bottom line, if you bought real estate in San Francisco in 1990, you’re basically a millionaire today. Stock market wouldn’t give you anything close. It makes my blood boil just thinking about this -the fact that landlords have every advantage, and yet still want their tenants to hand over even MORE!

    Disgusting, Monstrous, Unsatiable Greed!

  186. Yana said:

    There is another article on SFGate: “Maufas’ daughter took items, superintendent says”, by Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer, published on Monday, March 29, 2010.

    “The 22-year-old daughter of a San Francisco school board member stole a district laptop and $250 from another school board member and a district staff member while her mother attended board meetings in the same building, district officials confirmed Friday.

    Francesca Maufas, the daughter of board member Kim-Shree Maufas, took the laptop and $90 cash from a third-floor office of a senior staff member during the school board’s March 9 meeting at district headquarters, officials said. A surveillance camera captured the 22-year-old in the hallway and entering the office, said Superintendent Carlos Garcia.

    She confessed to the theft the next day and disclosed the location of the laptop, which she had stashed in the building, Garcia said.

    The younger Maufas also acknowledged taking at least $160 from board member Jill Wynns’ purse, which had been placed under a desk in the board’s office during a late February committee meeting.

    No police report was filed. Garcia said the district declined to contact police regarding the laptop theft because the computer never left the building and was returned in 24 hours.”

  187. renee said:

    Lucille, Yana, et al.: Ladies, you have chosen to live here. And you chose (let’s say, for the sake of argument) to have children. If you have kids and you live in a 1-bedroom that isn’t roomy enough, I can relate. However, if you don’t want to make do or move, take personal responsibility for your actions by not having more kids. Work to end or modify rent control if you think it’s unfair. As it stands and has stood for a very long time in San Francisco, rent control is not charity or a scam; it is perfectly legal. Those of us who have lived here a long time and have contributed to the local economy are not “entitled” renters because we agree with the concept of rent control, any more than people who have just moved here should be “entitled” to pay the same rent as those who have paid into the local tax base for years just because they they have decided to move here. I could not afford to live here if it weren’t for rent control. I do agree that it is preferable for kids to go to a school near where they live, not only for the convenience of their parents, but because the friends kids make will most likely live nearby. Also, sometimes kids work on school projects as a team, so going to school locally makes sense.

  188. Greg said:

    Jason,
    That’s quite a mouthfull.
    First of all, nothing lasts forever.
    Secondly, you seem smug in the belief that anything you don’t like will go away, and everything you do like will become permanent. Trouble is… not everyone agrees with your ideas of what’s good and what’s bad.
    London Breed won’t vote against rent control. No doubt she’s against it deep down, but in that district, she wouldn’t dare. Oh, and fyi, it looks like FX Crowley’s not going to win. Right now, former School Board President Norman has pulled ahead by 30 votes. Even if Crowley won, he’s a labor guy. I doubt that he’ll be an anti-rent control vote.

  189. Lenore Metcalf said:

    I agree with some of what you say, but I think it’s OK for kids to share a room, as they go to college and having your own room is really only super important the final 2 years of high school, maybe 3. Our generation was faster but most kids don’t even have their first kiss till 18 in San Francisco, too much homework, and most are virgins at 18, so you don’t need your own room. I know, I have a son and a daughter and they never dated, I even encouraged them to as I’m not conservative about that. They shared a room and both got to go to Lowell, so it was worth it.

    I agree with you on schools. Kids make friends who live nearby. The kids from far are somewhat outcasts so don’t get the full benefit. That’s why black kids at Presidio and Washington do no better than black kids at Galileo or VV or Everett, and it’s true among other troups. They actually do better at KIPP than anywhere except Lowell, but that’s self-selecting because even the 30% of alternative admissions need no Cs for 3 semesters in middle school, and most have some As.

    Rent control I’m mixed on. I agree with you that you shouldn’t be driven out of town. But I also admire the people who could pay less and pay more. I don’t because I had owner move ins, didn’t demand money because it was legitimate, their only child was turning 12 and they wanted them to go to Lowell and weren’t rich. But I would if it got extreme. But I don’t want to see more poor people driven out.

    Now this is maybe science fiction but maybe real. Imagine a person is earning 75k and could be making 125k if you moved, not ever true yet but if it gets to the $1000 vs. $5000 example Jayson posted. You will definitely see murders if that happens. Especially with immigrants with mafia connections. Reliable people in the Chinese mafia or Russian Mafia kill for $50,000. My friend was almost killed but paid the loan sharks he owed, and he said he didn’t see the shooter but he did. He was actually shot in the forearm. He borrowed money and paid quickly. He only owned $22,000 so I doubt the person was paid more than half that. $50,000 would be one year.

    I would feel scared to be taking that much of a piss out of my landlord, unless I knew they had no connections and were from here and weren’t angry types.

    Now I am not for this, I voted to end the death penalty so even scumbags like Ng, Ramirez, Davis I feel should get life, and I opposed the invasion of Iraq. I’m just stating the obvious. It won’t happen a lot, but the neighborhood will feel nervous and afraid and crime will go up, violent crime. The thing is, you couldn’t possibly warn someone so that’s more scary, innocent people will be killed who would have willingly compromised or moved. It’s a tragedy. Even if they wouldn’t, they have to live with their morals and charity or theft, in my view.

    If you’re poor I’m 100% for rent control. This is just if people like Greg are totally taking a piss out of someone.

    How can I prove this? OK, imagine a world in which instead of 10/15/28/35/39.6 you had a world where people paid that, but some people who were deemed rich, greedy, or not to have earned it were charged a tax of $50,000 per year to be forced to pay to a chosen poor person to make things equal. Say you had to earn at least $125,000 to qualify for being randomly chosen, but only about a quarter of said people had to pay the tax. They know where the person they have to pay lives and pay them individually. Now some may make 500k and not care, what’s the difference, 500 vs. 550k or 500 vs. 450. But let’s say you make $125,000 and have 2 or 3 kids and want to put them through college and can’t, they get into Cal but you’re giving some aging childless pot smoker $4100 per month in cash, $2050 per paycheck. It’s deductible, but instead of making 125k and providing for your children you’re watching every expense, maybe renting an illegal in-law apartment or taking in roommates you don’t want, maybe working weekends, maybe dealing drugs or prostitution or bookie work to cover it, maybe taking moving jobs and you’re in your ’50s and ache and hurt. It would be kind of like the draft. But imagine if during Vietnam, if you were drafted, if you killed someone who drafted you you would not have to go? It is too random and would have happened. It is a noble idea but randomly benefits the lucky few and hurts new renters, at least at first. It’s kind of like seniority, it hurts the newest teachers. Rent control hurts the newest renters.

    Now the other part of the law is that if this person dies, when they die, you suddenly go back to 125k and are living well. 50k is what the average person makes, but in San Francisco 75k vs. 125k is the difference between working and upper middle class, between a good and bad life. Now I don’t think most or even many would kill in this situation, but I do think 10% would think about it and maybe 2-3% would do it. I have no proof. I know I wouldn’t. But I think economic need and desperation lead to terrible actions.

    Look at the ghettoes, kids have terrible futures, feel no hope, no help with homework, no hope of a good job legitimately, only hope of minimum wage, maybe if they’re perfect they can become a cop or fireman or mailman, but say they got arrested for pot possession before 21, and what a third of African American males are. This desperation is why there is much more violence among the poor than the rich. Therefore I think you will find this happening some. Do you think Vito Corleone or Al Capone would give a random upper middle class person 50k a year without fighting back? Hopefully all landlords are liberal pacifists. I really hope so because I would hate to see that happen, I just think it will eventually.

    I don’t think it will come to that, but I think some compromise is probably in order within 10 years. I think if you have an old person you know doesn’t have much, you don’t feel as angry. But if you have a manipulative jerk like Greg who finds obscure laws and in addition to demanding and stealing huge amounts of charity gets a whole building to ruin your month by all demanding cash, maybe the anger is higher.

    I’m glad I’m not a landlord. I have anxiety and anger and am a total pacifist, but I think I’d have a heart attack before 70 if I did so. I don’t envy landlords at all when I read this.

    You also might just see the neighborhood become more and more Chinese and Russian and to some extent Latino or Irish, and honest Americans of all races will not be able to move here. Greg can’t be kicked out, but his benefit is hurting innocent people.

    Also, renters don’t pay tax at all, only sales tax. Let’s say the average renter pays $10,000 a year for things subject to rent control, i.e. restaurant food, goods, but not services, rent, food, even private school tuition which is a terrible thing for the poor it leaves behind is not taxed, nor are psychiatrists, legal fees, bar drinks, pot (huge industry in SF), prostitution (pretty big), even tutors off Craigslist, most spending. Even massage or haircuts aren’t taxed. So maybe you pay $850 or $875 a year, but a landlord pays more. Though some don’t pay enough due to Prop 13 which I also disagree with.

  190. Yana said:

    Renee,

    I hope that you read my posts with some attention. I am not a single mother, my husband and I own our not very large house, and we pay pretty large mortgage and property taxes since we bought the house recently. I only have one child. The post that I think you refer to is from a Web forum on prop H, where a single mother is talking about how hard it is for her, how neighborhood schools are important to her, and how school assignment lottery ruined the life of her friend.

    Nobody proposes to end rent control, but to have it in moderation to avoid disastrous consequences. Have you seen the slums in New York? It’s the extreme of the law that is dangerous. Please read the articles on rent control that I mentioned in the post above. My friends are renters as well, and my best girlfriend is low-income and rent control helps her a lot.

    As for the choice to have children, what do you think will happen to society if people choose not to have them? What will happen in 30-40 years? Who will take care of us? Who will work? There is already a danger that with longer life expectancy and lower birth rate, there will be not enough working age people to support aging population.

    A civilized society should recognize the hard work that parents do raising their children. Most European countries have much more child-friendly laws for maternity leave, doctor visits, etc. Adding the stress and uncertainty of the school assignment lottery, like it’s done in San Francisco, makes it even harder to raise children here.

  191. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    Renee, be careful discouraging having more kids. Having children is a wonderful thing and the best thing I ever did. I am so proud to have 3 kids, 2 of whom went to Lowell and the other, fortunately, Washington and got into a UC. My kids are everything to me and I love them so much. Life would be meaningless without that, whatever you have dies with you.

    There is also a huge problem in San Francisco with people not having enough kids and people with kids moving out as their kids get older due to a total lack of effort to attract them (forced busing, naked guys walking around, rude looks in the Haight, etc.). Newsom said it was a priority but sold out by moving to Marin. That’s the only reason I voted for Lee #2 and D’Silva #1, because anyone Gavin supports may not support this City and kids.

    You don’t need a backyard. You can share a room, have a living room, have a cafe. We have Lowell and SOTA. We have culture. We have great parks and free concerts, public transit (remember kids now can’t drive other kids when they turn 16, have to wait a year) so you can go out with friends or on dates without the embarassment of mom or dad driving you (think Karate Kid, embarassing). You get to meet people from 100 nations, and most parents are good which makes you a better parent. So your kid doesn’t have a room for a few years, convert a dining room, it’s better than Renee’s choice of not giving that kid a chance to live and exist due to short term issues that will be meaningless later. Ask most kids if they’d rather share a room till 15 or never exist. I’m pro choice by the way, not conservative, just think it’s sad.

    Stats show SF has the lowest kid percentage of any county in the State. This is horrible and deprives many. If we changed our laws we could attract more. Instead of random rent control we should provide subsidies towards people with children, especially those who adopt foster kids as many gay and lesbians do (my brother among them). Also, the smartest, highest earning, most educated women have the fewest, meaning their success dies with them and their lives are meaningless.

    This is also a huge problem in Russia and most of Western Europe. The idea you decrease population is a fallacy, any kid a woman who graduates from a UC doesn’t have is replaced by an immigrant who is functionally illiterate. No rich country has ever seen a population decline. Italy, Japan, Germany are seeing this. Russia is, but because there is so much poverty and lack of opportunity, and some Russian Cities have rent control. Any successful person now, it took hundreds of generations of people loving and sacrificing to raise children, and you destroy the entire legacy by this selfish, short-sighted decision, and you will be miserable when you get old.

    Yana and Aly or whoever is doing a wonderful thing by raising kids well and you are totally out of line to discourage them from having children. Having children is wonderful and you are totally wrong on this. It’s disgusting for you to say that to them. Your advice would really hurt our City and exacerbate a huge problem in society.

  192. Jeff Sanchez said:

    I hate that attitude many have here that somehow people who have kids are wrong and people who don’t are liberal. It’s exactly the opposite. Those who have kids and make an effort to raise them well benefit society immensely. Nothing is more important. I totally disagree with Renee and agree with having a birth rate that is high, at least 2.10 to replace, I don’t want to see 3 or 4 that would be bad, but we need to replace ourselves and aren’t doing so so some people have to have 3 or 4 because so many shirk this and abuse their parents and legacy and never have any. Imagine raising kids and never having grandchildren! I’ll be so depressed if that happens to me. I only have 2 but have no disrespect to people who have more. Some people need to have more because not all kids live to reproductive age. I believe 2.1 is the optimal rate, which means mostly 2, some 3, and an extra 3 or 4 or 5 for each person who selfishly has zero.

  193. Jeff Sanchez said:

    It’s pretty rare, murders over this. I only found one case in which this happened in New York, and never here. And the person was caught and probably got life. I doubt this will happen more than maybe once or twice, probably never. I think that’s a far-fetched scenario made to make landlords look bad. Very few people are scumbags to that degree. And the motive is easy to find out. I think it’s at least 50% you’d get caught. 50% of life for a bit of money. Maybe a crazy person but that person probably is already in jail. Most landlords are old and old people almost never do murder. I saw it on NYPD Blue once but that was fiction, from googling I could only find one case in which this happened in the entire US, ever.

    http://www.tenant.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2119&sid=dcc03f27cfee7ede243756285bb3f027

  194. Jared Fong said:

    Greg, that’s what I said about Lee, he wouldn’t dare. I don’t think he’s against it, but if he were, he wouldn’t dare. No way anyone will vote that way. People trying to move in who can’t may, but they have no vote, and many landlords live in other Cities. It would lead to a sure loss. Politicians never do something which will make them lose. I think Mar was against the removal of Mirkarimi, but he knew he’d lose if he voted that way. I’m not sure, just think so, he talked of his grandma but Mirkarimi grabbed an arm, didn’t beat a woman for years like happened to Mar’s grandma in an age when that was common. I bet at least one of the supervisors who voted against Mirkarimi has done that. I’d stake my life on it. Probably not Mar, but one.

  195. Yana said:

    I agree that having kids is wonderful, and I want to have one more if I can. You only understand it when you have a child yourself, how much you love them and how much you are concerned with their safety.

    This is the major reason I am so stressed that my daughter is not going to school withing walking distance from my house. I don’t drive, and I take a bus to pick her up from school. When my husband leaves on a business trip, I have to take her to school as well, by bus, during the rush hour. Do you think it’s safe to have a 5 year old child on a crowded bus? She already fell twice on the bus, and once hurt her head.

    When there are major events in San Francisco, such as a fleet week or a Blue Grass festival, the buses are especially unreliable and crowded. I waited for a bus for 40 minutes one day, and as a result was 40 minutes late to pick up my daughter. She was hungry, they gave her some pretzels in the administration office where she had to wait for me. She complaint of a stomach pain on the way home, and then she had explosive diarrhea all evening and night.

    There is no covered bus stop near her school, just a yellow line painted on a light post. We have to wait for a bus there, and if it’s raining there is nowhere to hide.

    Sometimes I think, what if a major earthquake happens in San Francisco, and I cannot get to my daughter since the buses aren’t running? Can you imagine all the parents driving fast to get their children from school, and all the kids stuck somewhere far from home, because public transportation is out of service?

    How is that the safety of the children is not a priority when assigning them to school?

  196. Mike said:

    Greg said, “You’re simply incorrrect. Not when you consider leveraging. If you put 20% down on real estate in San Francisco in 1990, your ROI would be about 1000% on that initial downpayment. Remember, ROI is not on the price of the underlying asset, but on the investment. You put down 20%, but you get 100% of the appreciation. And if you have a tenant actually paying your mortgage for you… that’s just gravy. And if you then get to raise their rent year after year above and beyond what your mortgage is, even under the mild constrictions of rent control, that’s extra gravy. Add prop 13 to that (rent control for rich people, with the added twist that it destroys our schools), add tax deductions to that, add depreciation (I mean what the hell… your asset appreciates but the tax code is written so that you can DEpreciate it!?!)… it’s basically written by the rich, for the rich. Bottom line, if you bought real estate in San Francisco in 1990, you’re basically a millionaire today. Stock market wouldn’t give you anything close. It makes my blood boil just thinking about this -the fact that landlords have every advantage, and yet still want their tenants to hand over even MORE!”

    Greg, you couldn’t be more biased and incorrect. Every assumption you make contains a personal bias against landlords and property owners. I would suggest that if you believe being a landlord is such an overwhelming benefit that you puchase property immediately. After all, you can use leverage and so you would not need to be rich to do so.

  197. Greg said:

    Mike,
    How do you know I’m not speaking from experience? I never said one way or another if I own property.

    Yana,
    I took public transport from a very early age. Some years we had the benefit of school busses, but sometimes not. Since I went to school in a much larger city, either way I had a longer commute than almost anyone here.

    The worst was when I went to high school. I took 2 public busses and an elevated train which became a subway when it entered the inner city. The commute took me an hour and a half or so. My parents, who both worked, were often not out of bed by the time I left the house. When it wasn’t daylight savings time, it was still dark outside. Unlike here, where people shrink from a little bit of rain, we had real winters there. If I missed that first bus, I knew I’d be standing for another 20 minutes in 25 or 30 degree weather feeling the blood go up and down my fingers as they slowly went numb. I knew not to miss it, because I never liked the cold. Of course, busses do sometimes come late.

    The school itself was in the inner city, amidst gutted homes and crack houses. There was only one safe route to walk the 3 blocks from the subway to the school. The route was only considered “safe” because the whole group walked that way. If you stayed for after school activities, it wouldn’t be considered so safe because the neighborhood was the same, and you’d be walking the route alone at 4 or 5 PM. I actually did sometimes, and after a while you kinda get used to it, and nothing ever happened to me in that school. I guess nobody’s really interested in mugging a kid. What are going to do? Take my subway tokens?

    The one benefit to the school, was that like Marshall, it was considered “college prep.” But like Marshall, it really wasn’t that great. Most of the kids did go to college, even if it was only to JC. But Ivy League?… maybe one or two of us, if that. I went to UC, because I wanted to be in California. My counselor discouraged me from applying, because nobody she knew had ever applied there before from that school. Some counselor! Still, the school had good classes for those like me who actually did want to learn, and there was the benefit of an accelerated program where you could actually finish your requirements in 3 years and spend the last year in college (locally). I did that. That meant no senior prom or anything, but I could really care less. I just wanted to GTFO.

    The odd thing is that there was an element of choice. Not my choice -my parents. Kids themselves, as always, don’t get to choose jack, because society sez parents know best… even when they don’t. My parents forced me to put down this school as a “choice” because they liked the 3 year program. They finally “compromised” and said that if I really hated it then I could transfer out after a year. I did really hate it, but I think my parents knew that after a year, I wouldn’t transfer, because after all at that point I had only 2 more years to go, and then I could go to college early. So I acquiesced and thought to myself, “Fine. Two years, and I’m out of this hellhole. And then I’m going to go far away from this city and the times I come back to visit will be few and far between.”

    Given my grudging complicity, my resentment at my parents for making this choice was somewhat muted. But I did find their cognitive dissonance amusing more than anything else. On the few occasions where they had to drive into the inner city, I remember sitting in the car and hearing them say “roll up the windows and lock the doors.” And I would say, “Um… wait… you feel that it’s safe to send me to school in this neighborhood, but you roll up the windows and lock the doors when you have to drive through???” Sigh. Cognitive dissonance is a powerful thing.

    I’m not relating this story because I want other kids to go through what I went through. Quite the contrary! I vowed that I would never put my child through something like that if they didn’t want it. But I do want to provide people here with a little perspective.

    You guys are complaining about a little *rain* when it’s 58 degrees outside? You have GOT to be kidding. 45 minute commute? Oh please, cry me a river. Besides, this is a city where I can get from the beach to the Bay in 30 minutes tops, 45 if by MUNI. Few actually have to go that far. Bad neighborhoods? You’re trying to tell me you feel unsafe in Vis Valley? Oh lord… you guys have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what a bad neighborhood is!

    So please. A little perspective is called for.

  198. mel said:

    Greg, so you rode many buses and such in bad weather in Kansas City. Many people on here have similar perspectives; but the biggest point to take away from this is that you were in high school. Additionally, it seems your parents chose this school for you because it was academically better for you. With the lottery, parents are not being given this choice.

    Another issue, would you send a K-8 student on Muni alone to traverse the city from home to school? Sure, you can ride from the Bay to Ocean Beach in 30 minutes, but this is only on limited or express buses. However, a regular line takes far longer than that. Also, factor in that a lot of the schools throughout the city do not conveniently run along East-West lines and you are talking transfers and wait times, especially from the Richmond. Most parents do not wish to send their young child alone (rightfully so) on the Muni, so they travel with them to and from school on trips that can be 2-hours long. All of this traveling eliminates full-time work and can even mitigate part-time employment.

  199. Yana said:

    Greg,

    I am sorry for your experience as a child. I am especially sorry that you seem to resent your parents for putting you through it. And I am sorry again to say that, from what you described, it seems like your parents weren’t especially loving towards you. Please correct me if I am wrong. I am a very different kind of a parent, and I obsess about safety issues. I would rather put myself in any kind of danger than my child. I believe that most parents would do the same.

    It takes some parents 3-5 hours a day to commute in and from school, not 45 minutes. It’s four trips all together, to school and back to drop in a child, and again to school a back to pick up.

    It’s not just a question of convenience, but of not being able to have a job as a result. And also you comparing a little child hardly out of diapers, with someone who is in high school. I commuted to high school one hour each way as well, by bus and subway, in a place with *real* winters, I am from Russia, remember? However, my high school was great and in a beautiful location.

  200. Jared Fong said:

    I don’t get it Greg. You’re kind of like a Senior in a frat, I had to drink disgusting things and vomit and get paddled and laughed at, so you should have to also. Wouldn’t the world be the best place if we can give kids more time and create a community so they can be friends with people who live near them? I’m all for setting aside 10% of a school, maybe 15, for only underrepresented minorities, but they should put a ban on any white or Asian people coming West who would diversify their own school. Some schools are in white areas and have 10% or less whites. Cobb, Marina, James Lick.

    Wouldn’t it be a better world if kids spend 10 minutes walking to school and sleep, study and play more, all of which are good for you? Wouldn’t it be a better world if all the kids on a block went to Alamo, or Lafayette, and all knew each other? One thing that strikes me about this neighborhood is how many blocks have people who barely know each other. It could create a community of parents.

    Anyways, that’s what I think, we should try to create the greatest overall happiness and success for children, and neighborhood schools is it. It was too close last time, with a significant amount of people defecting due to an issue that can easily be changed. They should put it on the ballot again with a clause that once you’re in a school, you’re in, but new admissions for open spots be neighborhood first, and if they want to have a few spots for diversity, build up capacity which would create jobs. It may not be right away but it only costs $25,000 to put something on the ballot, and it would probably raise the average home value west of Twin Peaks by $50-100,000. I’m sure it will happen, it’s just a question of when. 2 years? 4? Maybe 6.

    Another thing is, busing hasn’t really worked because kids don’t always follow the best example. Good parenting is key. I think SFUSD needs to provide what bad parents don’t. Motivation, understanding how important education is, tutoring. They should ask Tony Robbins to play a role and convince children they choose their own destiny. If kids believe that studying will lead to a good life, they’ll study more. They come from lives which are depriving. Single mothers, drugs, drime, loud music, friends who ridicule good grades, etc. We need to go back to a time where a kid with a 3.5 is considered better than a kid with a 2.5 GPA, period. We don’t have that. The kid with a 2.5 will be considered better by many. It’s not like that in basketball. The people (like me) who suck don’t create an alternate fantasy world and act like we’re cooler than the people dunking and blocking shots and hitting 3-pointers. We congratulate them and admire them as basketball players. We respect people with more money over those with less money, even in the ghetto (I lived in the Bayview for years). It should be the same with grades. And SAT Scores. It isn’t.

  201. Greg said:

    Yana,
    I think my parents did their best. They just weren’t that great at the whole “parenting thing.” But not for lack of trying. You know… you can take the parents out of the old country, but you can’t take the old country out of the parents. I wish I’d been more proactive in asserting what I want before I was 17 or so. Looking back now, a lot of the decisions that they and I were at odds with each other on, I can see now that they were wrong and I was right.

    It’s one reason why I like to vote for very young people for School Board… they’re closer to the student experience. We have enough parents’ perspective on the School Board, and very often kids know better what’s best for themselves than their parents. Particularly the older ones. You’ll all probably disagree, but that’s been my experience.

    Jared:
    I thought I was careful to say that I would NOT want other kids to go through that. My purpose was just to provide some perspective. Look, I get the whole inconvenience thing. Inconvenience sux. But scrapping the lottery completely is a cure that’s worse than the disease. Kids from the East Side will be punished for their parents’ choices of where to live, and that’s not right either. I’m OK with some geographic consideration, and when Mar was on the BOE, he did make sure that was part of the equation in the lottery. The question is how much. I don’t think that neighborhood schools advocates will stop until the lottery is scrapped completely, or at least to the point where people have very little choice left. This doesn’t seem reasonable to me… or to most San Franciscans, I think.

    I also understand the property value angle, and I strongly disagree. Everybody wants more money for themselves. The folks on this board have made that amply clear. Some people (those lucky enough to have houses here) will win, others would lose (those who have houses elsewhere, and those who rent). But the desire of a few people to get rich off their property should NEVER be a policy consideration in deciding school assignment.

    Agree that we should foster a culture where good grades are valued. Money… not so much. A lot of people respect money. I don’t. I’ve seen too many wonderful, intelligent, hard-working people who do great things for others, and don’t have money; and too many greedy, selfish, but unintelligent and talent-less people who have a lot of it.

    Mel:
    Never said it was Kansas City

  202. Yana said:

    Greg, you said: “I’m not relating this story because I want other kids to go through what I went through. Quite the contrary! I vowed that I would never put my child through something like that if they didn’t want it. But I do want to provide people here with a little perspective.”

    I think that you prove the point that I am trying to make. You vowed to never put your child through a long commute to an unsafe location. But the parents in the Richmond and the Sunset districts don’t have a choice if they are assigned to a school on the other side of town. What would you do if your child is assigned to a school in the Potrero Hill, for example? I am not saying that’s unsafe, but the commute from the Richmond district by two buses might be excruciating for a child.

    I’ve heard from a man with adopted daughter (I think you know whom I am talking about), that a girl from Italy was staying him for a year, and she was sent to Potrero Hill school. He said she had to take two buses, and the commute was extremely difficult for her. He said she cried at first. As a guardian, he had to go to the school just once, and it was a tiring commute. Imagine doing it every day twice a day! Do you want your child to go through it for four years?

  203. Yana said:

    And, by the way, I don’t care about property values going up as a result of neighborhood schools. I am here to stay for a long time, and I am not going to sell my house anytime soon.

    On the other hand, my daughter having friends living next door, and having a community of parents and neighbors that know each other would be great.

  204. Greg said:

    Yeah, I hear you. I think school busses would go a long way toward mitigating the problems, while still ensuring choice for everyone. But I don’t hear people demanding more school busses. All I hear are demands to scrap the lottery.

  205. ALY said:

    @Dilma “Also, the smartest, highest earning, most educated women have the fewest (kids), meaning their success dies with them and their lives are meaningless.”

    Go easy on ‘life is meaningless if you did not reproduce” – you just negated lives of the Dalai Lama, Pope, Nijinsky, Mother Theresa, Elizabeth I of England and Faina Ranevskaya to name just a very few. :))

  206. Yana said:

    Greg, the school buses cost $100,000 a year each just for the service. I believe they used to have 55 buses (at the total cost of 5.5 million a year), but are reducing the number of buses every year since 2010 due to budget cuts. They are going to have 25 buses next year:

    “Changes to General Education Transportation Services for 2013-14
    Due to ongoing state budget cuts, the district has been reducing general education transportation since 2010, and for the 2013-14 school year we need to reduce the fleet from 30 buses to 25 buses. This reduction in the size of the fleet means the cost of providing general education transportation services in 2013-14 will be aligned with the funds the district receives for home to school transportation, and it will reduce the general fund contribution to general education transportation services by about $500,000 a year.”

    Personally, I believe that the buses and the lottery was a waste of money, about 7.5 million dollars a year for many years. If you want ALL the children to have access to good education and good schools, you have to make sure that ALL schools have similar programs, educational standards, etc. The money meant for education should be spent on the actual education as much as possible.

    I agree with Jared Fong that we should encourage perseverance, hard work, and motivation to succeed. I am sorry for saying this, but it’s hard for me to understand (since I went to school in Russia), how educational standards in American schools can be so low. I don’t know about others from the former Soviet Union, but I’ve never met anyone in Russia who couldn’t read or do math. We had 45 kids in my class, only 9 of them girls, from 1st through 8th grade. We didn’t have computers or a shower at school. But we had a cafeteria with freshly made food, a library, and a nurse.

    The school was about two minute walk from my house, and often I would come home for lunch and then go back. My high school was special, there was a competition to get in, and it was more than an hour away from my house. But the commute was on the metro that was beautiful, and then the bus that went over some beautiful bridges. The school was harder than a regular Russian high school, and I often only slept six hours at night. My poor mother often had to sleep with a light on, because I did my homework at night. We only had two rooms, like a one bedroom here, and we had four people living in our 344 sq. ft apartment. We had six people living there until my parents divorced and my great grandmother died. But, I have great memories about my family and my high school.

    This is an excerpt from the article I found on the Web by Ellen Winner, a professor of psychology at Boston College:

    “… children would not be bored in school and thus in need of special services if we did the obvious–raise the standards in our schools for all children. There is abundant evidence that when we raise the standards in classrooms, achievement rises for all levels of students, not just the brightest. This is the guiding philosophy of the Accelerated Schools Project founded by Henry Levin of Stanford University. These schools treat low-achieving children like gifted ones, and accelerate them rather than give them easy remedial work. And low achievers achieve more in accelerated than in standard remedial classes. (The same kind of successful policy was described by Michael Rutter and his colleagues in their 1979 book, Fifteen Thousand Hours, and by Ron Edmonds and Larry Lezotte in their studies of effective schools.)

    Another strong piece of evidence that raising standards for all results in higher achievement levels from all comes from international comparisons of student achievement. It is by now well established that American schools have low standards compared with schools in many Western European and Asian countries. And American children fare poorly on achievement tests compared with children in most other developed countries. The only plausible explanation for the higher performance of average students in other countries is that these students are held to higher expectations.”

    Ellen Winner is a professor of psychology at Boston College. She is the author of Invented Worlds: The Psychology of the Arts; The Point of Words: Children’s Understanding of Metaphor and Irony; and, most recently, Gifted Children: Myths and Realities (Basic Books, 1996).

  207. Jared Fong said:

    I’ve never understood the concept in America that if you are poor, you can’t be expected to excel in school. Look at our budget. We’re never going to guarantee everyone be middle class, and the poor have more kids than the rich. We have to find a way to learn even if poor.

    I like what Obama says: “you are never so poor you have no possible choice but to watch TV and not do your homework.” In South Korea, Russia, and poor Asian areas in the US and many other spots, learning is what kids do. It’s your only job. You are supposed to make it a priority like an adult makes their job a priority. Studying isn’t contingent on having a lot of money.

    The liberal elite who often go to private school or don’t have kids, people like Jill Tucker and Heather Knapp for the Chronicle, like to focus on the idea that kids aren’t eating enough and hear gunshots and have no money for supplies. Then why do poor Asian families find a way to do better than upper middle class white kids in test scores? It’s hours in, hours out. It has nothing to do with money.

    We taxpayers pay for food stamps for every poor person. In addition to this, and the calories don’t come off the food stamp allocation so this is extra food, they get a school breakfast and lunch. But you still hear about poor kids who couldn’t possibly study.

    We also pay for libraries. Go to the libraries in the Bayview and it’s all Asians in there on a Saturday, sacrificing their Saturday to become a better person. Go to the park 5 blocks away (Palega, San Bruno Avenue) and you see black, white, Asian and Latino kids there. Take charge of your performance. Anyone can do it if they’re determined. It’s an anti-school culture.

    Greg, I agree with you about buses. My main concern is no middle class white or Asian person should be able to choose a school in the Avenues over a local one, driving someone out. It should be means tested. They should tax us all more, sales tax, end prop 13, income tax, legalize pot and prostitution and give it to the schools tax, and spend a lot on buses. But only underrepresented poor minorities should get those spots. Believe me, I want Alamo to be more diverse, and see this policy has an unintended effect. It must suck to be a principal at a school in the Bayview and see the middle class moving in and using the lottery to get a school in the Avenues, and it sucks for the person in the avenues who loses out.

    The official policy they came up with should have discouraged that, but there’s a switch algorithm, which means many people put all the language schools and Rooftop and schools like that, and if they get it, they can switch it for a school in the Avenues if someone in the Avenues wants Rooftop. This was a mistake and should be fixed. And in high school, there’s no preference. I don’t see great behavior near Washington from kids from far away, I see thrown bottles, bags of chips, tagging. I think the kids in the Richmond would be reluctant to do something like that because their parents would find out. I agree with some busing, but to me, the first time a kid from the Filmore tosses a broken bottle in the street or tags graffitti or starts a fight, he should be kicked out as he’s showing culturally he doesn’t really want to change his culture and enter the middle class way of thinking. We’re doing them a favor and when they litter it makes me mad. I want people to have a chance, one of my best friends is black and was a great student in college and grew up in public housing in L.A., but he took it upon himself to change and that’s a necessary decision for success.

  208. ALY said:

    @ Yanna
    “I don’t know about others from the former Soviet Union, but I’ve never met anyone in Russia who couldn’t read or do math.”

    As someone from the former Soviet Union, I can tell you that in my time it depended on where you lived. Large cities mostly had OK districts schools; but Moscow, Leningrad, Odessa for instance had some outstanding ‘special” schools now featured in wikipedia . They were usually located in central city districts where powerful lived and gifted were admitted at the age of 7.

    In most industrial towns schools were horrible; though some far east cities did manage to have good schools. Rural schools with a few exceptions were a disaster. With mobility restricted by law and people prevented from leaving their kolchozi the problem was perpetuated from generation to generation. You could tell which social class a person belonged to, and what kind of school they had attended 2 seconds after they had opened their mouth. You are right that few born after WWII did not know how to read or write or count; I do not have stats handy; I just remember these facts from a long ago. But one should take into consideration that basic reading and writing (with mistakes) in Russian is much easier than in English. Advanced Russian is enormously difficult, but basic reading is a matter of learning the alphabet – 33 letters and you can read and write.

    I could not agree more about raising the standards in our schools for all students. Never could wrap my mind around the mandate to teach to the lowest common denominator.

  209. mel said:

    The U.S. education system is very different from those in most of Europe. For secondary education, students are tracked for vocational, apprenticeships, and university. In the U.S., the system is set up so that everyone should go to college. So, I wonder when comparing international testing in the U.S. with other countries, are they taking samples of U.S. students from the general public and comparing to systems in other countries in which students are on a true academic path to university? Personally, I think the European system would better serve students, public funding, and our university system.

    As to general curriculum in the U.S. (not AP or special needs), it is not written or designed to the lowest-performing student. Student texts are written on-level for readability and comprehension. Additionally, activities in teacher’s editions are written across all levels and learning styles. The goals of these are to reach all students. Assessments and test prep are also written to various levels of vigor. Ancillary products are provided to assist teachers to engage above-level students with activities that require whole-picture synthesis of concepts and large- and small-scale research and application. On the flip side, ancillary materials are also provided to address remediation, scaffold learning for struggling students, and ESL. This is what I do for a living and have worked on many textbook programs during my 15 plus years in educational publishing.

    Now, how the curriculum is delivered in the classroom, it varies. Teacher evaluations are greatly driven by student performance. Students that perform poorly academically, and especially on criterion-based and standardized tests, are a negative mark to teachers. Typically these negatives outweigh students that perform on or above level for these assessments. As a result, many teachers are forced to guide most of the instruction towards under-performing students. It also creates an environment in which the concepts called out on these assessments are taught in a narrow perspective, and test-taking strategies tend to become the classroom focus, especially for grades in which assessments are administered.

  210. Yana said:

    ALY and Mel, thanks for interesting information. I am from a big city in Russia, and I didn’t know how schools were in rural areas. Where I lived, most schools differed only by the foreign language they taught: German, English, or Spanish. My school had German. There were also special math-focus schools that taught advanced math.

    In Russia, all schools were for grades 1-10, in one school building. You would start school at 7 years old (1st grade), and finish at 17 (10th grade). However, the last two grades 9 and 10 (high school) weren’t for everyone. As Mel explained, some students were tracked for vocational education, some for apprenticeships, and those who wanted to go to university would attend 9th and 10th grade. What I call my high school, was a regular school which had a special achievement-based program for grades 9-10.

    Math education in American schools is what concerns me the most. From what Russian parents tell me, the math taught in schools here is much easier than in Russia, and that Russian high school math is an equivalent of American college-level math. Math was my favorite subject in school, and I am concerned that my daughter, who adds and subtracts numbers greater than 10 since she was four, will be bored at school.

    I completely agree with what Jared Fong said: “I’ve never understood the concept in America that if you are poor, you can’t be expected to excel in school.” I think being poor has little to do with success in school, it’s the dysfunctional family, drug or alcohol abuse, lack of motivation, and lack of family and community culture that values education.

    Nobody as poor as many new immigrants, and they succeed in school despite their lack of English. And, people in Russia and I guess China are very poor by American standards. After I immigrated, the one question my grandmother would ask me every time I called her was: “Do you have enough to eat?”. We were poor in Russia, at least my family was, but we had a great education nevertheless.

  211. Yana said:

    Mel, I wanted to mention to you that in Russia, education is exactly the same for all students in grades 1 through 8. Then, those students who want to go to college go to grades 9 and 10, and other students continue in different vocational programs.

    Maybe this information will help to answer your question below. If you find the answer, please let me know.
    “So, I wonder when comparing international testing in the U.S. with other countries, are they taking samples of U.S. students from the general public and comparing to systems in other countries in which students are on a true academic path to university? Personally, I think the European system would better serve students, public funding, and our university system.”

  212. ALY said:

    @ Yana,
    Here is one more tid-bit for you: in the Soviet Union boys from rural an industrial areas did a little better because almost all were drafted and taught basic skills in the Army. The absolute majority never went back to their rural communities, they used the window after the discharge when they had Army ID to run away to larger cities. All Soviet statistics on education and everything else were bogus, or more precise they had about 30% fact and the rest was spin.

    Language -math special schools like the one you describe were first created to produce intellectual talent and service the elite. They had little in common with the rest of the school system, they has separate financing, separate curriculum, different caliber of teachers. One of such schools for instance taught ballet from 2 grade to 5 by a former bolshoj theater teacher; taught math at university level, had ‘language labs’ stuffed with the toys of a kind no one had ever seen in Russia ( visual aids), and had a small apple orchard and a water fall – all that in the very hear of Moscow.

    These schools btw were used as showcases for foreign visitors, who would come, marvel, and go back to the West to rhapsodise about astonishing Soviet education…

  213. Yana said:

    ALY,

    I didn’t even know that the schools you describe existed. I am not from Moscow, and we lived in the apartment building on the outer side of the city. My school was a regular school, and my class of 45 kids was the worst and the biggest in my school since we had only 9 girls, and a few not very well behaved boys.

    I didn’t go to a special math school, I don’t want to give it away, it was a completely different program. I did love math, and I participated in the math olympiads as a child. However, my high school program was based on extra-curricular activity that I had. There were many dance, art, and music schools in every neighborhood in the city, and I attended one of those schools after my regular school, three times a week for five years. Then, I transferred to a special program in high school that would select children based on the talent and the grades.

    Most of my regular school’s class never went to 9th and 10th grade, and didn’t go to college. And from what I know, math-focus schools weren’t that special, just harder in math. My second aunts (my mother cousins) did go to a math-focus school, because it was their neighborhood school. They both struggled in math and got Cs there. They were from a working class family, their mother a chocolate factory worker, and the father a factory worker as well.

    I don’t know anything about test scores, or what tests could they do at that time since there were no multiple choice testing. However, even in my 45 kids class where majority were not very good students, all of them could read and write (some with mistakes), and do math.

    I am not saying that Russian system of education was perfect my any means, just that it seems to me that academic standards were higher for everyone, and everyone did better on average as a result.

  214. ALY said:

    @ Yana,
    I think that Russia as a culture puts very high value on education, knowledge and talent. I believe that has been the case for several centuries, and I think it shows. I agree with you that expectations were much higher.

  215. mel said:

    Yana, this is a great document to gauge U.S. performance in education (2009 data). The document compares stats for all G-8 nations (which includes the Russian Federation). In all cases, the U.S. out performed Russia. But, the U.S. is seriously behind in mathematics and science (often in 5th or 6th place). The document also provides interesting statistics about immigrant, student populations.

    http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012007.pdf

  216. Jared Fong said:

    Progressives feel uncomfortable with the experiences of Asian and Russian immigrants because they fiolate their mantra that poverty justifies failure, that you can’t expect academic success from kids who are poor. Asian kids who are poor do better than upper middle class whites and upper class blacks on the SAT, a test some say is geared towards whites. The SAT is a morally neutral measure of human goodness. It proves your human value. It’s the only neutral barometer we have. And Asian kids do best on it on average, even poor ones. Poverty has little to do with it. 95% of the reason black and Latino kids fail, and even many white kids, is effort, and that’s a choice. We need to take ownership of our lives, not look for scapegoats to blame.

  217. mel said:

    I would not say that the SAT is a “morally neutral measure of human goodness.” It is an assessment of academic readiness for post-secondary education. “Human goodness” is measured by many factors and I am not even sure it can quantitated since this is a qualitative characteristic.
    Also, Asians do not perform better than whites on all aspects of the SAT, but they do for mathematics. Whites have higher scores for reading and writing.
    http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=171
    However, on the ACT, which is an assessment that measures four subjects: reading, mathematics, science, and social studies; they do out perform whites by 1.2 points.
    http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2012/trends.html

  218. Yana said:

    Mel,

    I graduated from high school quite a while ago :), and I don’t know how they teach there now. Do you know what former soviet republics are in the Russian Federation? Is it just Russia, or Belarus and other republics included as well? They spoke different languages there, and I don’t know anything about their schools.

    It’s sad if the quality of education in Russia deteriorated. That’s what my friend told me recently, that the schools such as mine extra-curricular school don’t exist there anymore. But I don’t have any factual information about that.

    I am also confused, on the SAT, do they discriminate between native English speakers and those with English as a second language? There is a huge difference in English skills between those two groups, and I think it’s unfair to judge them on the same scale. Maybe that’s why whites have higher scores for reading and writing than Asians on the SAT.

    Of course if you immigrated as a small child, it doesn’t matter. However, if you came to the USA during middle or high school, and did not speak English, how well would you do on the reading and writing tests? It takes years to get proficient in the language, at least when you are older.

  219. mel said:

    The test does not really discriminate, it is only given in English. It is also an optional test that students/parents typically pay for (the College Board and school districts, due typically offer a fee waiver for lower income students). The test is not a requirement for graduation, but it is often required to admission to better colleges and universities. These same schools may also require ACT scores.

    Students who take this test are college-bound and often applying for scholarship. It is rare that a struggling, ESL student would be taking the SAT. Most student are already in honor’s courses, AP, and/or IB.

    This test and the pre-test, PSAT should not be confused with the SAT10 (the Stanford Achievement Test) that is a norm reference test given to students across multiple grades. It is also the foundation for the California STAR and a number of other states. California and these other states blend the SAT10 w/ criterion multiple choice, extended, and short response.

    As to mathematics in the U.S., today…. Algebraic reasoning and problem solving at an earlier age, such as patterns and sets as early as grade K (latter part of the year) and grade 1. At all grades, mathematics is rounded out with number sense and operations, measurement, data analysis, geometry, and of course algebraic reasoning and solving.

    For algebra, in many states, students are expected to know how to do functions, and expressions with variables by grade 5 (age 10). The Common Core Standards (national standards that are rapidly being integrated into state standards) also require students to know how to solve variable expression by grade 6. Prior to this grade, a great deal of algebraic reasoning is addressed. NCTM also has a set of national standards as well and these have been used for 20+ years for curriculum.

    These measures are different than how mathematics was taught 30 years ago. Such algebraic concepts when I was in school in the 1980s were not really addressed until junior high (grades 7 and 8).

  220. Greg said:

    Why should we be so surprised that the quality of education in Russia has deteriorated? If the health care system has deteriorated to the extent that life expectancy is down by a decade, why wouldn’t you expect the same to happen in the educational arena?

    I think among some in the Russian emigre community, there’s such a blind hatred of anything that smacks of “communism,” that there’s a reluctance to acknowledge anything positive at all about the old system. Not everyone… but I can sense that with Aly in particular, and I know she’s not the only one. But the fact is, the world just isn’t so black and white. That’s why I try to resist rigid adherence to ideology. Sometimes capitalism works better. Sometimes socialism does.

    In any case, we cannot honestly consider something like education in a vacuum. And that’s one thing missing from this narrow discussion about grades and studying. We’re talking about the school system as if it’s divorced from the economic reality of the surrounding society, with its vast inequality and limited mobility.

    The problem is that America is not a meritocracy. I’m not going to sit here and make the claim that grades/studying/hard work have no correlation with success, but let’s just say that the correlation is tenuous at best. There are certain fields where the correlation is stronger -high tech and health care come to mind. Even here, asskisssing and office politics always come into play, but at the end of the day, you either know your stuff or you don’t. If you do, you’ll probably do “okay.” But most people don’t get rich from being a doctor or computer programmer (well depends on your definition of rich of course). But the real money is in the corporate world, law, buying and selling crap, the revolving door between politicians and lobbyists, Wall Street, banking -you know, the Bullshit Arts. Politics too -a few politically connected non-profit leaders can get rich (think David Lee on the right, or if you prefer, someone like Randy Shaw who’s nominally on the left). But these are just businesses under another name.

    The fact is, you’re never going to study your way into real wealth and power in America. Oh, no. That takes connections and sponsorship by the powerful. It’s hard to break into those halls if you’re not already born into it. Even most of those who call themselves “self-made” had help of this sort. Think Gavin Newsom -wasn’t exactly “born rich,” but his father was a judge who did favors for the Getty family, so favorable “business opportunities” always seemed to fall into the lap of young Gavvy-gav, and he never had problems with startup capital. You think he studied hard? Ha! Even with the strings the Gettys pulled, he only managed to get into Cal State and got Cs at that!

    So when I see all the Asians and Russians brag so proudly about how they study hard to get good grades, I know that people like Gavin Newsom and David Lee -people who are connected and on the path to real power and wealth -they’re just laughing at you.

    Oh, you’ll do “Okay.” No doubt about that. You’ll get your 80-hour a week job making 120K when you’re done with all that schooling. And your CEO -you know, the Stanford-educated WASP who got in there on a legacy preference (affirmative action for the rich) and graduated with C’s -he’ll pat you on the head and say “good job boy.” Or girl, as the case may be. On his way out the door at 5 o’clock, as you stay behind to finish your project till 3 AM in order to make the company deadline.

    To those who don’t have their heads buried in books, this crap’s obvious. It’s not only obvious to those at the top of the oligarchy, but it’s obvious to those at the bottom. The underclasses may lack the political analysis to figure out just how they’re getting screwed, but they still know a con game when they see it. Your hard-working immigrant culture may get you through, but what do you think the next generation is going to do when they see the situation? I have a hunch that a lot of kids are going to say, “F— this tiger mom bullshit. Math and science are hard. Why don’t I just get a real estate license or go into marketing for Megacorp? That’s where the money is. Maybe I’ll make senior VP one day.” (yeah, good luck with that)

    And you wonder why we don’t produce anything anymore! You wonder why our education system is so messed up! You wonder why people are mired in poverty for generations! This country’s whole value system is twisted, that’s why. People see the inequality. People see the arbitrary nature of success. People see what is really rewarded. And it’s a serious demotivator to studying.

  221. 4th Generation Richmond Districter said:

    I graduated from Galileo. It was my 5th High School and third pedagogy in High School. I had to be in homeroom at 6:50AM and traveled on Muni from the Richmond District, which meant leaving the house no later than 6:00AM. I was assigned to Galileo because I was couch surfing at a Pacific Heights home when I returned to USA, back then SFUSD assigned by home address. I could not get into Lowell because SFUSD did not understand handwritten transcripts with two grades for each subject: Effort and Attainment and used the first. They also did not understand the O Level exams I had passed, and they had the gall to transcribe my A Level Economics as “Home Ec”. Further I could not get into Lowell because I am white. Back then there were no AP classes but a 4.2 was needed for a white female. It would have taken me the same amount of Muni travel time to get to Lowell.

    Galileo had close to 700 students in my graduating class. There was one guidance counselor. I was extremely fortunate to actually see him three times in my three semesters there. Most students saw him zero times. In order to graduate I was required to take Drug Ed, Sex Ed, Drivers Ed, Drivers Training, three semesters of P.E., another semester of Lab Science, three more semesters of English, a semester of Math, two more semesters of Spanish, a year of US History and a year of Civics. There were insufficient textbooks for Spanish and US History. I bought my own copy of Grey’s Anatomy for the Lab class where we used cat cadavers that had to have been at least 20 years old. US History was graded based on attendance. I re-copied my O and A level work for the English classes (one semester of Shakespeare, most of which I had covered back in 8th grade elsewhere). I was assigned to a Fortran class where there were only two other students for Math, because I was not interested in Chemistry or Physics I transferred to Statistics and received a D because I used old math (as I had been the prior semester’s A Level Probability & Statistics class abroad) and filled up lots of paper with my manual calculations. For Civics we were subjected to a teacher running for a slot on the Board of Supervisors (all city-wide back then) and were graded based on volunteering for her campaign. There was no girl’s gym, no cafeteria, no auditorium. There were also few white students, barely 25% of the school population when the City was around 45% white. There were no after school activities except ROTC or football. I was grateful to have a job downtown from 1:30-5:30PM, even though it meant I didn’t get home until around 7:00 because from 3:00-6:00PM all Muni boardings east of Van Ness were adult fare only, no senior or youth. I still had homework to do after work and to repeat the process again the next day until the spring of my Senior year. That year the teachers went on strike and so did Muni. I worked 40 hours a week, got around fine by hitchhiking and walking. We were all graduated with passing grades and I also got tuberculosis from someone at school.

    This was before Prop 13.

  222. Yana said:

    Mel,

    You are a fountain of information! I thought that SAT was a required test for everybody graduating from high school. However, I think the fact that someone is taking an honor class doesn’t mean that this student is not an ESL student. He might be able to do well in classes other than English anyway, and do OK in English classes, but his lack of English skills will be reflected in his reading and writing tests.

    I went to City College myself three years after I immigrated from Russia, and I took all the prerequisites that I could transfer to college. I got all As in History, Political Studies, and other general education classes, even though I hardly spoke English at the time. I could understand maybe half of what my professors were saying. However, I got a B in my English 96 class, the first class after ESL level for native speakers, and I think I got a B as well in my English 1A class. It is easier to do well in classes that do not focus on English, and especially in math related classes.

    And Greg, you seem very angry about something, I am not sure what, and, I am sorry to say, obsessed with money and power. Yes, it is obvious that someone like George Bush didn’t get to the best college on his merit. And it is obvious that life is not equally fair to everyone, and it makes a huge difference in what family you are born, how wealthy your parents are, if you are healthy or not, etc. However, there are things that are under our control, and getting a good education and, if you try hard, a good job are some of those things.

    You seem to be very focused on “where the real money is.” You are saying:
    “But most people don’t get rich from being a doctor or computer programmer (well depends on your definition of rich of course). But the real money is in the corporate world, law, buying and selling crap, the revolving door between politicians and lobbyists, Wall Street, banking -you know, the Bullshit Arts. …”

    Making the most money they possibly can is not a life focus for many people who want to do the job that is interesting and fulfilling for them. The jobs such as doctor or computer programmer are intellectual jobs that many people want to have. Being a sales person is not as easy as you think, and this kind of job requires a very different personality than a programmer. Most sales people work on commissions, there is no security, and their income can be high one month and zero the next. In addition, there is no intellectual satisfaction, and the job might require that you exaggerate or even lie. I could never be a sales person, I hate doing that, I tried one time.

    Being a real estate agent is especially hard, there are few successful ones, but many don’t make any money the first six moths and drop out after a year. You can try to become one if you want, you just need to take some courses and pass the test. My aunt tried doing that, but couldn’t make it.

    Just because you cannot “make senior VP one day”, it doesn’t mean you have to give up and go homeless. The study on happiness found that people are pretty much equally happy over a certain income threshold, that they say is $75,000 a year. What it actually means, when you are very poor, it prevents you from being content with your life. But when you have enough income to have a safe place to live, enough for food, education, entertainment, etc., the happiness level doesn’t go up much anymore. Isn’t this what is important, to be happy?

  223. ALY said:

    “So when I see all the Asians and Russians brag so proudly about how they study hard to get good grades, I know that people like Gavin Newsom and David Lee -people who are connected and on the path to real power and wealth -they’re just laughing at you.”

    Hmm.. I guess we should let Sergey Brin know that he is a laughing stock in David’s Lee household… But meanwhile I will definitely alert all my Russian immigrant friends and warn their kids – just as soon as they come home tonight from their assorted 6-7 digit paying start-ups, bio-techs, concert halls, law firms, medical practices, businesses, professorships. It seems I am going to be busy for a while…

  224. Greg said:

    “Just because you cannot “make senior VP one day”, it doesn’t mean you have to give up and go homeless. The study on happiness found that people are pretty much equally happy over a certain income threshold, that they say is $75,000 a year. What it actually means, when you are very poor, it prevents you from being content with your life. But when you have enough income to have a safe place to live, enough for food, education, entertainment, etc., the happiness level doesn’t go up much anymore. Isn’t this what is important, to be happy?”

    Yana,
    I actually do agree with this. In fact, what you’re describing is something that I alluded to earlier. What you’re talking about is security. As long as people have security, they’re generally going to be pretty content. In fact, I’d say you probably don’t need to make even 75K per year. If you know you have a stable pension, guaranteed health care, free time to spend with family, stable housing, etc., a middle income is all you really need. When the big costs of housing, education/child care, health care, and retirement are taken care of, you’d be surprised how little income you really need.

    We can achieve that in this country. But to do that, we’d have to do a lot to bring up the bottom. And that would mean asking for a lot more from those at the top, and a lot more government intervention in the market than this government seems willing to do, at least nationally. Not necessarily “communism,” but the income scale would look a lot more like Sweden, where you make about 35-40K US for blue collar work, 50K if you’re an IT professional, 85K if you’re a doctor, and nowhere near what a US CEO makes if you’re a CEO. Enough of a differential to motivate people to do more interesting jobs, if they have the brains for it, but a lot less inequality so that every kind of labor is valued and almost everyone is part of a vast middle class.

    As for angry? Nah, just a little cynical (I’d say realistic) about this country; but as far as my own personal situation, I’m pretty content.

  225. mel said:

    Yana, students that are taking AP, IB, and college courses while in high school, typically have a strong understanding of English, including comprehension and writing skills. Even for courses in mathematics and science they have to be able to understand texts that are written in English and delivered instruction. You do not have to be an advance student in order to take the SAT, but the profile tends to fit the majority of the ones described above.
    These students may or may not score as well on the verbal portion of the SAT as a native speaker. If they are taking such advanced courses, they likely took English as a foreign language when they were younger. But, if they arrived in the U.S. when they were older (at the middle or high school age), had proficiency in English but do not excel; 4-year institutes will acknowledge this aspect of their SAT or ACT scores. Depending on other admission requirements, scholarships, and academic performance, they may also be entered into the school as an international student (since they only have residency in the states). Additionally, the university may have support for ELL and ESL for non-native speakers and international students.

    Ultimately in most cases, in order to get into top schools in the U.S., students must have minimum grade point averages, write an essay or present a portfolio (depends on the school), and do an interview. Now for entrance into community colleges, for-profit schools, and other vocation/art schools, the requirements are different and often do not require SAT and almost never ACT scores. This is certainly the case for adult students (usually older than age 22).

  226. Yana said:

    Greg, but what is your problem with studying and working hard to succeed?

    I think the main issue debated here is personal responsibility. Many people who overcame real hardship, believe that everyone should be responsible for their actions, and don’t blame the society, the world, the rich, etc. I believe this as well, that individuals themselves should be held accountable for their success or failure.

    This doesn’t apply to victims of accidents, natural disasters, various illnesses, and especially hard environment. I believe that society should take care of people who suffer because of circumstances beyond their control. However, if they suffer because they cannot control their spending habits, for example, I believe that this is not the society’s problem.

    We should teach our children that society rewards hard work and determination that leads to success. That’s how it works in the real world (after school), best students get scholarships, best professionals get jobs, and those who work hard keep their jobs and get promoted. If you are lazy and don’t do your work, you get fired. But in San Francisco, it seems, they tried to do the opposite for many years, by punishing those who worked the hardest and as a result were more successful.

    Any form of racism should be illegal, and race should not be used to punish people for their success like it was with Asian community in San Francisco. SFUSD was assigning the best, the most hard working students to the worst schools that were far from their home, because of their race. There was a lawsuit in 1994 by Chinese American children, Ho v. San Francisco Unified School District, that made a race-based school assignment illegal.

    “The San Francisco Ho Case
    Ho v. San Francisco Unified School District, a class action filed in 1994, forced the San Francisco school district to stop its practice of classifying students by race for assignment to the city’s K-12 schools. San Francisco’s unconstitutional practice prevented many Chinese American children from attending their own neighborhood schools. The case was ultimately a success, bringing a halt to the school district’s use of race.”

    I think there is still a lot of hurt feelings from the Asian community, as well as those classified as “white”, who feel they have been victimized because of their race or social status. And it looks like this is still going on, people living in the Richmond and the Sunset neighborhoods being on the loosing end of a school assignment policy. They are victimized because schools in their neighborhood have higher test scores than in the rest of the city. So, I guess, to guarantee their children can go to a high school that is close to their home, they should tell the students in their neighborhood schools to stop studying and fail the tests? Make the Richmond and the Sunset districts the new lowest test score areas?

    I am not advising to do this, just saying this to show the irony of the situation.

    And Greg, don’t take things completely literally, I think that $75,000 a year is a general guideline, and San Francisco is an expensive place to live. Especially if you are supporting a family and paying mortgage. It all depends on your expenses, how much you are paying for housing, how many children you have, etc. You do need much more than that to afford a house here.

    I believe that people should always strive to do better, and higher pay should be rewarded to the one with higher skills and job ethics. The study on happiness also found that even though the happiness level doesn’t go up much with higher income, the self esteem does. I am not saying that money should be a measurement of a person’s worth. My grandmother who raised me had a very little pension, and she is my hero and the best, most altruistic person I have ever known. I am just saying that people should be compensated fairly for their job, and if they are highly skilled, they should be paid more. As for the excessive pay to CEOs, I agree with that.

  227. mel said:

    Yana, to answer your question from earlier, the official name of Russian Federation, is just the country of Russia. As to statistics about education under the Soviet Union in Russian these are not easily found, especially when comparing to modern Russian. Since the cold war was going on during this time periods I am not surprised.

  228. Yana said:

    Thanks Mel!

  229. Yana said:

    This is from the Web forum on Proposition H last year (I didn’t write it). What do you think?

    “If BVHP got neighborhood schools the wildly diverse community might actually integrate the schools, but that is not likely to happen when the progressive establishment wants choice so that they do not have to send their kids to school with underperforming kids of color in the SE. No wonder the left wants choice under the guise of diversity and no wonder the African American Democratic Club supports Prop H. I’m sure the white progressives establishment is crying foul. Suckers!”

  230. 4th Generation Richmond Districter said:

    Jared, you are absolutely correct about the mockery. Throwing money, busing, and school assignments at it will not change the core of the problem. It has been present for many decades and is deeply engrained in the kids by the time they are in junior high. Unfortunately it is not politically correct to address it, just as it has been politically correct to reward sloth for decades.

  231. Yana said:

    Just to put things in perspective, there are many Latino, South African, etc. immigrants who achieved a great success after arriving to the USA. I recently saw a movie, “Entre Nos”, about a newly immigrated Latino woman with two kids, who is trying to survive in New York after her husband abandons her. It’s a semi-biographical story, and at the end of the movie they let the viewers know that her son became a dean of private college and is a “proud father of three children.” Her daughter co-directed the movie.

    It’s a a very moving story, and I liked it a lot. This is the movie’s description from the Wikipedia:
    “Entre Nos is a 2009 drama film[2] starring Paola Mendoza. The film, which was co-written and co-directed by Mendoza with Gloria LaMorte, explores the life of Mariana, a Colombian immigrant attempting to survive on the streets of New York City with her two children. The film has been screened at over 14 film festivals, including the Tribeca Film Festival, has won numerous awards, and has garnered generally positive reviews.

    The film is a semi-autobiographical tale based on the arrival of Mendoza’s own mother to the United States;[3] however, this fact is not revealed to the audience until a post-film sequence immediately before the credits roll.”

  232. Yana said:

    Greg made a comment some time ago:

    “Another deeply held belief that probably hits close to home for you “neighborhood schools” advocates: I’ve heard it expressed that when “bad” kids are put into school with “good” kids, the “bad” kids don’t become better and the “good” kids just get worse. Research shows the exact opposite is true. Hard to accept? Most definitely. But I’m sorry, these are the facts.”

    Assuming that “bad” kids means “unprepared, or underachievers”, and “good” kids means “ready for schools, or high achievers, or those wanting to learn more”, I don’t think that Greg’s statement is based on scientific evidence. I found the following article on the Web, “All Together Now?”, by Michael Petrilli, that describes in depth the problems with educating high and low achievers in the same classroom. I am posting a part of this article:

    All Together Now, Educating high and low achievers in the same classroom, by Michael Petrilli:

    “The greatest challenge facing America’s schools today isn’t the budget crisis, or standardized testing, or “teacher quality.” It’s the enormous variation in the academic level of students coming into any given classroom. How we as a country handle this challenge says a lot about our values and priorities, for good and ill. Unfortunately, the issue has become enmeshed in polarizing arguments about race, class, excellence, and equity. What’s needed instead is some honest, frank discussion about the trade-offs associated with any possible solution.

    U.S. students are all over the map in terms of achievement (see Figure 1). By the 4th grade, public-school children who score among the top 10 percent of students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) are reading at least six grade levels above those in the bottom 10 percent. For a teacher with both types of students in her classroom, that means trying to challenge kids ready for middle-school work while at the same time helping others to decode. Even differences between students at the 25th and at the 75th percentiles are huge—at least three grade levels. So if you’re a teacher, how the heck do you deal with that?

    In the old days, “ability grouping” and tracking provided the answer: you’d break your students into reading groups, with the bluebirds in one corner, tackling advanced materials at warp speed, and the redbirds in another, slowly making their way through basic texts. Likewise for mathematics. And in middle and high school, you’d continue this approach with separate tracks: “challenge” or “honors” for the top kids, “regular” or “on-level” for the average ones, and “remedial” for the slowest. Teachers could target their instruction to the level of the group or the class, and since similar students were clustered together, few kids were bored or totally left behind.

    Then came the attack on tracking. A flurry of books in the 1970s and 1980s argued that confining youngsters to lower tracks hurt their self-esteem and life chances, and was elitist and racist to boot. Jeanne Oakes’s 1985 opus, Keeping Track, was particularly effective in sparking an anti-tracking movement that swept through the nation’s schools.

    According to Brookings Institution scholar Tom Loveless, this advocacy led to fundamental changes at breakneck speed. In a report for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute last year, he wrote,

    An eighth grader in the early 1990s attended middle schools offering at least two distinct tracks in [each of] English language arts, history, and science. Mathematics courses were organized into three or more tracks. The eighth grader of 2008, however, attended schools with much less tracking. English language arts, history, and science are essentially detracked, i.e., schools typically offer a single course that serves students at every level of achievement and ability. Mathematics usually features two tracks, often algebra and a course for students not yet ready for algebra.

    One of the reasons that detracking advocates claimed so many victories is that they painted their pet reform as a strategy in which everybody wins. Oakes and others insisted that detracking would help the lowest-performing students (who would enjoy better teachers, a more challenging level of instruction, and exposure to their higher-achieving peers) while not hurting top students. But by the mid-1990s, researchers started to compile evidence that this happy outcome was just wishful thinking.

    In 1995, scholars Dominic Brewer, Daniel Rees, and Laura Argys analyzed test-score results for high-school students in tracked and detracked classrooms, and found benefits of tracking for advanced students. They wrote in the Kappanmagazine, “The conventional wisdom on which detracking policy is often based—that students in low-track classes (who are drawn disproportionately from poor families and from minority groups) are hurt by tracking while others are largely unaffected—is simply not supported by very strong evidence.”

    And this was before the policy incentives shifted sharply to prioritize low-achieving students. In another study for the Fordham Institute, Loveless found a clear pattern in the late 1990s when states adopted accountability regimes: the performance of the lowest decile of students shot up, while the achievement of the top 10 percent of students stagnated. That’s not surprising; these accountability systems, like No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in 2002, pushed schools to get more students over a low performance bar. They provided few incentives to accelerate the academic growth of students at the top.

    This dynamic might have been most pernicious for minority students. Earlier this year, an Indiana University study found that the “Excellence Gap,” the racial achievement gap at NAEP’s advanced level, widened during the NCLB era. One possible explanation is that high-achieving minority students are likely to attend schools with lots of low-achieving students, and their teachers are focused on helping children who are far behind rather than those ready to accelerate ahead.

    The Power of Peers

    The attack on tracking also claimed an innocent bystander: ability grouping, which became suspect in many circles, too. Yet in recent years, the “peer effects” literature has shown the benefits of grouping students of similar abilities together. One clever study, by economists Scott Imberman, Adriana Kugler, and Bruce Sacerdote, looked at the fallout from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. They wanted to know what happened when students who were evacuated from New Orleans ended up in schools in Houston. They found that the arrival of low-achieving evacuees dragged down the average performance of the Houston students and had a particularly negative impact on high-achieving Houston kids. Meanwhile, high-achieving evacuees had a positive effect on local students. As Bruce Sacerdote told me, “The high-achieving kids seemed to be the most sensitive. They do particularly well by having high-achieving peers. And they are particularly harmed by low-achieving peers.” He added, “I’ve become a believer in tracking.”

    In 2006, Caroline Hoxby and Gretchen Weingarth examined the Wake County (North Carolina) Public School System. For the better part of two decades, the district, in and around Raleigh, had been reassigning numbers of students to new schools every year in order to keep its schools racially and socioeconomically balanced. That created thousands of natural experiments in which the composition of classrooms changed dramatically, and randomly, and that, in turn, provided Hoxby and Weingarth an opportunity to investigate the impact of these changes on student achievement.

    They found evidence for what they called the “boutique model” of peer effects, “a model in which students do best when the environment is made to cater to their type.” When school reassignments resulted in the arrival of students with either very low or very high achievement, this boosted the test scores of other students with very low or very high achievement, probably because it created a critical mass of students at the same achievement level, and schools could better focus attention on their particular needs.

    Does that mean students should be sharply sequestered by ability? Not exactly. Here’s how Hoxby and Weingarth put it in their conclusion: “Our evidence does not suggest that complete segregation of people, by types, is optimal. This is because (a) people do appear to benefit from interacting with peers of a higher type and (b) people who are themselves high types appear to receive sufficient benefit from interacting with peers a bit below them that there is little reason to isolate them completely. What our evidence does suggest is that efforts to create interactions between lower and higher types ought to maintain continuity of types.”

    In other words, a little bit of variation is okay. But when the gap is too wide—say, six grade levels in reading—nobody wins.”

  233. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    The average black 12th grader is at the reading level of the average white 8th grader, across America. Now obviously there are many exceptions, the top 3d of blacks are at the average level of whites, but this is indicative that you can’t solve the problem later in life, by letting someone into a college easier (affirmative action) or by busing in high school.

    We need affirmative action at age 3-10. We need to tax the rich more, stop paying for fanciful things like Healthy San Francisco which other Cities don’t have, and 3d Supervisor Aids (they had 0 in the ’80s and made a part-time salary), and police overtime of 10 cops at every football game, and jails full of victimless crime criminals to ten times the European rate, and pay tutors so every child is tutored and evaluated from a young age. We need to encourage all parents to help their kids, give parenting classes, etc.

    We need affirmative action from a young age. That means pre-school, but not union, babysitting pre-school, the kind of focused pre-school Michelle Rhee, Geoffrey Canada, Barack Obama and Bill Cosby would run, goal-oriented tutoring and pre-school.

    We should also end social promotion. If you aren’t ready for 2d grade, take another year, learn what you needed to, go next year.

  234. Dilma Yalnikov said:

    Greg’s contention was that it is better for high – performing, grades-obsessed Asian and Russian children to sit next to poor performing kids of other ethnicities, even spending hours a day to take buses to sit next to them. I think if anything it would be worse. Russian kids, they just need good grades and to get into a good college and they will be fine, whether their schools are all white, all or almost all Asian, or all black or Latino. I don’t think it matters or benefits them. If you have a lot of kids way behind, it could have the potential to hurt them because they won’t have studious kids in their groups, won’t have good peers, driving the, encouraging them to learn. In general, I think most people feel the better students you are with the more it encourages you and helps you. This is why everyone tries to get into Lowell. If it benefits you to be with bad students, kids would just say who cares about Lowell, I’ll go to Marshall. What Greg is saying makes no real sense.

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