Local links: Spring break options, Alexandria for sale?, RV parking bans & more

Ocean Beach, March 11, 2014

Here are some local links to get you through your Wednesday:

  • The venerable Green Apple Books has been named one of five finalists for Publishers Weekly’s Bookstore of the Year Award. We’ll have to wait until May when the winner will be announced at BookExpo America. Good luck Green Apple!
  • The Mountain Lake remediation project is winding down, but landscaping work is still going on including an effort to return part of the park to a wetland thanks to some goats and volunteers. “We’re returning the lake’s arm into the haven it once was for generations of wildlife going back long before the 1800s,” said Terri Thomas, the Presidio’s conservation director. Read the full article on SFGate
  • We’ve heard a rumor that the Alexandria Theater property is once again up for sale (anyone find a lising? We have not). That’s nothing really new but it signals that the current owners are not interested in developing the property as it’s been proposed. They want someone to take it off their hands. We’d be ok with that since they’ve done a piss poor job of managing it in the last 10 years.
  • Additional locations for the ban on overnight RV/oversized vehicle parking were approved by the SFMTA last week. That includes stretches of Clement Street along Lincoln Park and the Park Presidio greenbelt streets including Funston Avenue (west side) and 14th Avenue (east side).
  • Want your kid to skate(board) through Spring Break? Rec & Park is offering Shred N Butter skateboard camp at 25th Avenue’s Rochambeau Playground from March 31 through April 4. Camp runs daily from 9am to 3pm, and is designed for ages 7 – 14. Cost is $257 for residents, $370 for non-residents. Sign up here and enter code 34594 to find the listing.

    Alternatively, Shred N Butter also offers Saturday drop-in classes starting March 22 at the Richmond Rec Center on 18th Avenue for ages 5-13; fee is $32. Sign up here and enter code 34595 to find the listing.
  • In other Spring Break news, the RDNC is offering a free Spring Family Staycation outing of hiking and biking in San Rafael on Saturday, April 5th. Space is limited to 25 and spots will fill up fast so contact sarah@rvbeacon.org or 415-750-8554 to register before March 21st.
  • Remember the creepy guy in the Elmo suit that arrived here from NY and made a noisy appearance at Rossi Park in 2012? This time he’s turned up at Fisherman’s Wharf after finishing a stint in jail. “People are being told lies about me,” said Sandler, who is 50 and homeless. “I’m really sick of it. I’m just trying to make a living.”


  1. On the Alexandria: I would gladly feel justified if my tax dollars were used to sue the current owner(s) of the Alexandria into oblivion. I have heard that the owners live offshore, but it doesn’t really matter. Sue them! I want the city to take this property – all of it – and then re-sell it to someone who is obligated to develop it within the next year, using current, approved plans. Selling the property will pay for the litigation, and then some.

    The owner of this property needs to be *punished*. The owner of this property, as far as I am concerned, is causing a nuisance; is encouraging vandalism; is reducing the value of adjacent properties; has unscrupulously caused delays in getting the property developed, and so on.

    Eric Mar: where are you on this? It is an *outrage* that his property has been left to decay and drag our neighborhood down for *more than a decade*! Please, do something!

  2. Richmond Blog:

    Like many things that get passed around the internet, please take them with a grain of salt. The reason this project is delayed is, in part, due to Eric Mar’s crusade to seek public opinion and place his stamp on all matters for which he has no knowledge (developments, in this case), the planning process (which is so asinine that the department is knowingly corrupt and frequently paid off to push projects), and the public’s need to inject opinion on all matters.

    The local owners are capable of putting up everything within a year from the moment public opinion stops and they are allowed to improve the neighborhood. Improvement would be a good thing in this instance, as it would bring more money, more revenue, and more people capable of supporting a better and higher standard of living. There are other areas to live. It is not an entitlement to be able to live in a single neighborhood.

    By the way: the parklet would cost a fraction of the number quoted on this blog in private hands. For $50k, one could have a state of the art kitchen with the finest stone from around the world. In the hands of the wasteful City, $50k gets several planks of wood on a street with a slight grade.

  3. @Commenter (#2): Just as money doesn’t buy good taste and happiness, it is not necessarily the answer to every ill in The Richmond. To your observation that “There are other areas to live. It is not an entitlement to be able to live in a single neighborhood.”, I answer that the same could be said for those of you who have recently moved here and believe that residents who have been here, paying taxes and contributing to the community, for years should be forced out if they can’t come up with 5 or 10 x the monthly rent they are now paying. If you want to live with other wealthy people who are “capable of supporting a better higher standard of living,” perhaps it is you who should realize that just because you have money does not entitle you to live wherever you please, the long-time residents (many on fixed incomes) be damned.

  4. Renee, I have a scenario for you:

    You own your own home. On the side, you own a rental property. You worked hard for both. You rent out the rental property for a very reasonable $2,000/month. Because of rent control, you were only able to raise the rent fractions of percents over the past few years. Over two years, you can now charge $2,050/month. Keep in mind the market is now asking $3,000/month.

    You don’t mind because you like to make it your mission to house the rest of society on your dime. You ask: how is it on your dime? Let’s explain: You want your tenants gone for whatever reason: late with rent, treat property badly, your just want it back for yourself (afterall, it’s YOUR property), you want it empty to sell it (because it’s worth less occupied), or any number of other reasonable and valid reasons. But, it turns out you rented out to entitled renters (either through their own mentality or through the support of tenant friendly City policies like rent control and protected tenancies). These entitled renters have four in the family, including two kids. Now, it turns out you owe this family $19,000 to pay them off and get them out of YOUR house. That doesn’t even include legal fees.

    Oh! Gosh. What about all that money they paid? You made money right? Let’s think about that one. $48,000 over two years minus $19,000 pay off equals $29,000 gross. $29,000 divided by 24 months works out to $1,200. Gosh, that wasn’t enough to cover the mortgage. Gosh, renters got away with a steal of a deal, didn’t they?

    If the City wants to house low income, then they should use tax payer money to build housing or subsidize rents. They should not have the control they do over private home ownership.

    Money built your house. Money built that parklet you support. Money keeps the water flowing in your home. Money paid for your smart phone. Money paid for the employees who created Candy Crush you love so much. Money paid for your ability to have this discussion online. Money pays for your public transportation. Money pays for the technology necessary to keep our air clean. Money pays for every aspect of your life. So, yes, money does buy a smidgen of happiness.

    Do you know where our tax money has gone? It has gone towards supervisor salaries, so they can ban McDonald’s happy meal toys. They have gone towards delaying projects which would only beautify the neighborhood. Do you enjoy that blight of a parking lot next to the blight of a run down theater? Do you know why Alexandria closed? IT MADE NO MONEY. Do you know why? BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T SUPPORT IT WITH YOUR MONEY. Why don’t we build new condos there and bring in some life to the neighborhood? Oh! Wait, we can’t because that is automatically gentrifying the neighborhood and now the few residents like you who are in an uproar have power. That’s NIMBYism at its finest.

    By the way, it’s likely I have lived in this neighborhood far longer than you with far greater aspirations for how it can improve. I highly recommend having some foresight next time you decide to vote for a pro tenant policy because you never know when you might join those who own.

  5. @Commenter – if you’re in that situation then same on you for not doing proper research into the rental regulations before purchasing a rental property. It’s not like owning a rental property is the only possible way to make or invest money. You made that choice if you don’t like it or it’s not making you the money you desire you are free to sell it and reinvest in another type of investment or purchase a property that is not restricted by rent control or in a city without rent control regulations. No one forced you to purchase a rental property and no one is forcing you to continue to own it.

    As a property owner and a business owner you get a lot of tax breaks and write-offs for your properties. Renters do not get those tax breaks as such renters are subsidizing property owner tax breaks. So it’s odd that you then turn around and complain about the one benefit renters in this city are fortunate to have as a means of managing their living costs.

  6. @mrs white – There’s no need to shame me for anything. Shame on the City for thinking they can remove Ellis Acts, so renters are further protected and property owners are further punished. Our City punishes owners under the guise of protecting renters (who have no ownership rights, yet they seem to in San Francisco), and if you are not able to see that then all I can do is express my sincere disappointment.

    It’s not even the below market rents that bother me. The real problem is the protection renters receive by dismissing home owner rights.

    I would be happy to sell any properties I own, but I would Ellis Act them and remove them from the rental market to make them more desirable. Shame on you, if you feel like you support removing home owner rights by preventing the removal of tenants.

    Perhaps renters should explore other parts of the Bay and restore market rate rents in San Francisco. That’s a concept. Renters are free to choose to pay market rate rents or move out. Fortunately for them, the City has forced owners to subsidize their living.

  7. @Commenter you’ve inspired me…we really need to start an advocacy group that halts the tax advantages given to property owners. Why should us renters subsidize landlords with our tax dollars?

    I’m not “shaming” you for anything – that’s your word not mine. I’m simply presenting counter points. If you feel “shamed” then that’s your own moral compass kicking in.

    As for renters can pay market rates blah blah blah – you knew the situation when you CHOOSE to become a landlord. Don’t go all boo-hoo because it didn’t work out how you intended it to. Maybe you just made a poor investment decision.

  8. @mrs white, I am quoting directly from you:

    “@Commenter – if you’re in that situation then same on you for not doing proper research into
    the rental regulations before purchasing a rental property.”

    I also assume you misspelled shame. I did my research. My decisions may be poor elsewhere, but my investment decisions are sound. My example to everyone here is a generic and typical example.

    Take away my tax break. I don’t mind. If you’re a renter, do you mind paying market rate?

    Do you know what the boo-hoo is about? It’s Supervisor Campos and fellow colleagues (who happen to be renters and who happen to have no idea the difficulties that come with ownership) deciding the fates of owners.

    Do you even understand how difficult it is to run a business in San Francisco? Are you aware that until Obamacare came around, employers were mandated, not by the Federal government, but by San Francisco to provide health care to employees? Do you know that graffiti is the responsibility of property owners, not the taggers? Did you know the trees the City happily puts in front of your business or home at tax payer cost is now the forced responsibility of the property owner?

    I have been on your side. Come try the otherside and see the difference and how backwards this City has become.

  9. I am a renter and yet I can agree how harsh the city is on businesses. That’s why I can never own anything or start a business in this corrupt city. That tree thing is a terrific example of how unwilling the city is to take any responsibility for basic city upkeep. Just what are they using tax dollars for? Every time I see a tree “tagged” by the city notifying the transfer of responsibility to the property owner I get livid. I actually feel bad for my landlord who has to deal with replacing the sidewalks because trucks deliver in our driveway 24/7. I doubt any “owners” planted those and now that the roots and branches are a problem the city claims no responsibility. Sickening. How about some basic civic duty from our local government? Taking kickbacks and building high rises for your 8 friends is not civic duty

  10. @Commenter Can you imagine what rents would be in San Francisco is there was no rent control? The middle class would have disappear 20 years ago. Frankly, I don’t understand the ethic that permits someone to own property, rent it out to a family, and then displace that family because “that’s what the market will bear”. Of course, the landlord will say “but the renter knew that that the rent might go up”. That is true. So where does that leave the renter? Moving to a place that is more affordable, so that the landlord can afford to make a profit on his investment, **and at the same time kill the socioeconomic diversity of a city**, turning one neighborhood after enother into an elite enclave for those that can afford to live there – including the eventual *wholesale* displacement of long-time renters who might be seniors; who have become disabled; who are otherwise unable to relocate.

    There is something sickeningly antiseptic about the “market force” meme. It’s a tired excuse for “profit at any human cost”. It’s a dehumanizing meme that gives rationale the pursuit of money over social harmony. “Market forces”; “whatever the market will bear”, etc – these are nothing but handy excuses that sanitize what REALLY happens when people are priced out of their homes. There is suffering; people are hurt – for what? Someone else profit. The IRONY in all this is that the replaced renter was responsible for the landlord being able to make his mortgage payments before the rental market took off, but now that the market is hot, Mr. Renter (assuming no rent control) can simply push his renter out – and damn the consequences to human and social capital.

    I’m not calling anyone out with this post, but it seems to me that there is nothing behind “landlords” than “lording over the land”. I’m no socialist; in fact I have owned businesses, but there is something wrong – fundamentally wrong – when people are displaced from their homes because someone else wants to make more money. How much is enough? Only the landlord can answer that question, but the more we see this kind of profit taking, the more we are going to push back from society to stop prfiteering off something as essential as shelter. Frankly, I think it’s barbaric.

  11. @phil you make some excellent posts.

    It’s also interesting to me how property owners talk about market rates and it’s unfair that renters don’t pay market rent – yet I don’t hear them arguing for a repeal of Prop 13 or how unfair it is that their property tax increases are capped. They seem to think nothing of the fact that two people in identically valued properties can pay significantly different property taxes.

  12. @Mrs. White Your point about property tax is well-taken. Landlords, by-and-large, tend to confirm their own biases about how it is only *their* investments and *their* hard work has made their tenant-supplied wealth possible. That said, if Prop 13 had not been passed property taxes would have been passed on to renters in years past, making rents from those years-passed much high, and thus making a higher base from which renters would have been paying.

    The thing that burns me up about Proposition 13 is how poorly municipalities have adapted to it. We have had exceedingly lightweight leadership in our communities over these last several decades. Good governance has been more the exception than the rule. An associated problem is that this lightweight governance has been voted into office by people like me, and you, and many others.

    Staying with this example – i.e. rental housing stock and affordable housing, there has been no foresight or vision looking to weigh or even *consider* solutions as we have run up the the current crisis. Now, we have a crisis, so we are starting to hear about rather lame (well-timed political statements from people like Ed Lee, and others) that “we are going to do something about this problem”.

    We in San Francisco and Americans in general have got to start paying better and closer attention to what is happening in our own back yards. In addition, we have to force more municipal innovation re: housing and other dicey problems. For instance, I just noticed that our city is going to approve “improvised units” in the official rental housing stock, instead of outlawing them – smart move! We need more thinking like this so that the middle class can once again reclaim San Francisco as a place of affordable residence.

  13. @phil
    Do you find it odd that your version of “social harmony” is the result of laws? In other words, favorable tenant laws override ownership rights to create what you feel is the ideal middle ground. Further, ownership rights are so diluted that a renter has more control over a dwelling than the owner. A renter’s rent isn’t necessarily necessary for an owner to make his mortgage payment; that is a complete leap. The transfer of a property alone generates more money to the economy through taxes than a renter does paying rent over his lifetime.

    Also, why do you feel the market rents would drive out the middle class? The idea of market rents means no artificial pricing, so rents naturally stabilize to an equilibrium. Why do people stereotypically retire to Florida? It’s because it is a lower cost of living for seniors on fixed incomes. Rather than agree, San Francisco has protected tenants and rent control. When my parents made more money, they bought a bigger place. In their old age and lower incomes, they downsize. Why must San Francisco make it a law to keep someone in someone else’s property for as long as the tenant wants?

    My neighbors are black, Asian, and white. Our homes are $1M+. The neighbors I know make $50k to $2M/year. One neighbor sold his other property for several million. I see Honda Civics to Rolls Royces on my street. I see college students renting in-laws and commuting outside the City. I see private school and public school children in homes next to each other. My neighbors just bought two homes outside the City. I am pretty sure we have a good mix of social economic diversity here.

    I could rationalize that your use of the word meme makes me see you in a 99% rally, damaging cars, properties, and human life only to have your idea fizzle out and be forgotten. Do you know what’s dehumanizing? It’s the fact that if you and I were cavemen, we would batter each other for our shelters. Do you know how we have evolved? We penalize the cave owner for charging too much for the cave or want to kick the caveman out.

    @mrs white
    I enjoy your support of phil’s rant when it is clearly pro-tenant. Even with capped property taxes, a property owner pays property taxes. The landlord also pays taxes on rental income. You pay withholdings and sales taxes. A property owner contributes quite a bit more.

    By the way, I also bought gold at $1/oz when my neighbor bought gold at $800/oz. The difference is when gold hits $1000/oz, we both benefit. When you rented for $1,500 and your neighbor rented for $3,000, you rent will not go up. How lucky of you.

    Now before you criticize money again, maybe you should stop going out to buy lottery tickets. Some people are such hypocrites.

    My friend is putting up a home right now and is being forced to put up a tree in front or the City will not approve his final permit. I can’t wait until the arguments about developers come out now. By the way, the house was missing foundation, so understand the home is safer than ever. Greed is bad, still.

    mrs white reminds me of the pedestrian who leisurely makes her way across Fulton Street, happy to see that twenty cars have stopped to allow her to pass. She takes full advantage of pedestrian laws, minding nothing of the inconvenience she caused to twenty individuals. Oh, and let’s not forget that each car came to a stop and will now have to start back up, burning more fuel and fumes to get going, so her re-usable canvas bag saying, “save the environment”, now seems hypocritical. How is mrs white different from the drug addict jaywalking in the Tenderloin, stopping traffic all the same? You realize that in other parts of the First World, people RUN across the street because a 4,000 pound vehicle is careening towards them and they run because they value their lives. San Francisco is such a nanny state where laws are necessary because so many here lack commonsense, foresight, and self-worth. So many new San Franciscan transplants just have a sense of entitlement.

    I’m going to grab a Happy Meal toy before someone decides to spend precious tax money to ban them again. What City would propose laws hoping to change diets? Oh…

  14. @Commenter but you fail to mention is that you get property tax deduction, mortgage interest deduction, as well as you get to deduct the depreciation of your rental property from your income tax oh and let’s not forget you also get to deduct other “business” expenses associated with running your rental property.

    So you get quite a lot of preferential tax treatment – significantly more than a renter does. In fact the less money you make on the rental in rental income it might even give you a better tax situation because then you’re operating at a loss and potentially that could offset any gains your other investment types have.

    My point is that renting and rent control most people easily digest the situation and so it’s fairly easy for people to have opinions about it. Property ownership and being a landlord has complexity and many of the benefits aren’t as straightforward and much more rarely discussed.

    Before you go on a tirade against renters you really need to be more forthcoming about the full picture of your situation. I find property owners rarely consider their real, total balance sheet when they make their sweeping statements about rent control.

  15. @mrs white
    This preferential tax treatment is a benefit of ownership that is applicable to everyone in the country. That fails to negate the fact that San Francisco is oppressive to land and property owners and protect renters, instead.

    Your point is you feel strongly that tax treatments are a fair tradeoff for renter protections. No, that is not the argument at all. That are exclusive of each other.

    Once again, I will pay higher taxes if it means market rents for renters. Will you accept that compromise? Given San Francisco’s disdain of owners, I wouldn’t be surprised if the City found a way to milk more money from owners and further protect renters, plant trees and then neglect then, provide needles to the drug addicts, and further place the City in debt.

    You live in a bubble when you don’t see the reasons landlords have gone to jail in order to remove a tenant from his property. I have been in enough homes in San Francisco to know that renters treat property worse than owners, and I doubt you will find that disputable if you were as enlightened.

    Yet, and to bring this discussion full circle, owners of the theater are shamed for their neglect, but the City and residents have not made it easy to build. Imagine everyone having a say with regards to how I paint my car, which is my property. But, that is exactly what San Francisco has done: given power to those who should not have a say.

    In San Francisco, the landlord is always the bad guy. The car hitting a pedestrian is always the bad guy. Money equates to greed. Yet, I am not surprised at all that the majority of the population is in severe debt because, well, people who hate money seem to like to spend it.

    mrs white, when the rest of the world pays $100M for five inch thick slabs of asphalt for the road that lasts for 50 years, why does San Francisco pay $100M for one inch thick slabs that last five years? We are a short sighted and emotional City. Rent control is part of that short sightedness. Remove it, and watch as the City cleans itself up. Remove public review of private buildings, and watch them erect and beautify the City. The RESIDENTS voted for a $1B 1 mile long track from 3rd St to Chinatown. It’s comical how easy it is for voters to spend money when so little of it is theirs.

  16. @Commenter
    you said: “Do you find it odd that your version of “social harmony” is the result of laws?”

    I don’t find that odd, at all. You take preferred moral high ground as a landlord (lording over your land) because you had the means to own property. What enabled those means? Was it only your work – your labor – that made it possible? Did any of your labor get rewarded as a result of your full or partial use of the pool of services that your fellow citizens (and you, yourself) paid for via tax revenues? Are not those tax revenues the result of laws? Do you think that the tax law that permits you to deduct any interest income paid on your mortgage from your income is a law that was not influenced by banks, who have managed – like all vested interested throughout civilized history – to have far more power in the creation of certain favorable laws (to them) than those without means – even though they, too, profit from the common pool of resources that is provided to them (and their best clients) by those they lend to?

    What you appear to be complaining about are laws that would prevent the wholesale domination of a city’s housing stock by investors who have for too-long been favored in the law; investors who for too long (as long as property rights have been established in the legal cannon) used those rights (obtained through the law) to control the fortune, livelihood, and permission of most of the rest of the world to obtain shelter?

    As it is, you haven’t answered my prior question – i.e. Can you imagine what the demographics of San Francisco would be if there was no rent control? Manhattan? Or, any other city with special qualities? Here, I’ll answer for you; they would become havens for the wealthy, with everyone below upper-upper-middle class commuting into the city to provide the lords of the land the services they need.

    you said: “A renter’s rent isn’t necessarily necessary for an owner to make his mortgage payment; that is a complete leap.” Really? How not? You implied that this was the case with your rental property. How does a landlord who is not already of independent means pay for his property – out of thin air?

    you said: “The transfer of a property alone generates more money to the economy through taxes than a renter does paying rent over his lifetime” Really? I would like to see a cite for that. I would like to see how that cite rationalizes away the social capital and financial capital benefits that derive from renters who can live in or very near the places they want to work; who themselves contribute to local economies; who, because of their proximity to community are FAR more likely to offer their volunteer and other services to community than they would if they had to commute long distances. What about the multiplier effect of a teacher being able to stay one hour longer at school day’s end to tend to students because s/he doesn’t have an hour or two hour commute to a more “market affordable” location? To teachers, add social workers, nurses, hotel workers, landscapers; retail workers, janitors, construction workers, sanitation workers, transportation workers, public safety personnel, small business owners, and many other who make this city tick – who, in fact ARE this city, because once we take them away we are left with property owners and landed gentry who would end up having nothing to do but impress each other with how big their (now festering in filth) homes are.

    you said: “Also, why do you feel the market rents would drive out the middle class?” Because they are- and do – drive out the middle class! There is more than enough evidence for that.

    you said: “The idea of market rents means no artificial pricing, so rents naturally stabilize to an equilibrium.” There you go again with sanitized “market forces” making way for your moral high ground. Who created and who controls those “market forces” – certainly not the middle class in any way but passive reaction to those who MAKE markets.

    And, you make it sound as if stereotypically retiring to Florida” is a good thing. Would most retirees who do that actually do it if they were able to afford their current residence; or, had available to them a public infrastructure that actually encouraged vitality in senior life instead of the isolated communities that seniors are currently shunted off to? btw, what impact does developer and landlord speculation have to do with the latter problem? Let me tell you – a LOT!

    you said: “Why must San Francisco make it a law to keep someone in someone else’s property for as long as the tenant wants?”
    Why? Because San Francisco recognizes that citizens contribute for; feel better; and make a community more whole when they are not forced out of their homes every few years – usually to some commuting netherland – just because an investor wants to make investment gains on shelter – one of the most basic of all commodities.

    you said: “My neighbors are black, Asian, and white. Our homes are $1M+.”
    I’m happy for your success. That said, what did you do, besides living here and making an initial investment to drive the price of your home (same with your neighbors) to its current value? How much more of a “citizen” have you been than those who have rented your property? The same can be said for your neighbors. There is a general principle in behavioral economics that describes how when individuals or groups find themselves the beneficiaries of long term dumb luck, they tend to take the credit for their good fortune, rather than see other forces that contributed to their long term good fortune – i.e. all the social, financial, and intellectual capital that OTHERS contributed to their good fortune. It takes a Village, not only to raise children properly, but to derive profit from a Village. Why not give the Village members some slack instead of treating them as temporary rental chattel?

    And, with the Rolls Royces on your street (assuming you live in the Richmond) you are witnessing the slow but steady hallowing out of this City’s great middle class.

    you said: “I could rationalize that your use of the word meme makes me see you in a 99% rally, damaging cars, properties, and human life only to have your idea fizzle out and be forgotten.”
    That is not only absurd, and laughable, but lends weight to my prior claims about how much you take for granted regarding your tenants, and those who are protected by rent control from being evicted from their homes. It seems that if you had your way “market forces” would control access to shelter in San Francisco. I think you know where that would lead in the near long term.(incidentally “market forces” which are not impersonal forces AT ALL, but are MADE by those who control markets; who manipulate markets; who literally buy legislation to establish their advantage in those markets – this can and has been SHOWN). Just like the real estate markets here. Do you really think some “invisible hand” is driving rents and property values into the stratosphere? If you do, I have a bridge to sell you.

    you said: “Do you know what’s dehumanizing? It’s the fact that if you and I were cavemen, we would batter each other for our shelters. Do you know how we have evolved? We penalize the cave owner for charging too much for the cave or want to kick the caveman out. ”

    I disagree. In fact, what is most dehumanizing is the rhetorical camouflage used by those who hold advantage in various commodity marketplaces (in your case, housing/shelter) to insist that some primitive “invisible hand” favors their position, but when market forces (in this case, those who favor control over shelter speculation, to the detriment of socioeconomic diversity) find ways through the law to MAKE markets move in their direction, there is all this high-handed appeal to, and wishful thinking about, how THOSE market forces (i.e. the ones they don’t like) are “uncivilized” or “unnatural”, and so on.

    In fact, San Francisco needs MORE rent control. We need MORE affordable housing. We need MORE places where seniors can live and *integrate* with the community around them. Will this happen? Probably not. And, if it does, it will probably happen only in token ways. We live in a time, in America, where “market forces” are bought off via contributions to those who make the law; to those who have mostly been elected at the ballot box by those who will be negatively impacted by the sellout of our city (and country) to large scale plutocrats whose trail of profit and advantage you and your fortunate neighbors are able to feed off of, as landlords.

    You are not a bad person because you own property. I am not a bad person because I want access to affordable communities. There is no 1%, in reality. We are all in this together, but have somehow come to a place where profit takes precedence over all, to the delight of the few, and the detriment of the many. Profit is not a bad thing, in itself, but the pure love of profit, is. Thus the seemingly endless point of tension between those who have, and those who don’t. Somehow, we, as humans, with our wired proclivity for status, have evolved to decide that ownership derives more status than sharing. That may be our species’ fatal flaw.

  17. @ Commenter I hadn’t read your example (your screed?) of using Mrs.White’s crossing the street causing gross civic dysfunction until I finished what I wrote, above.

    Here’s a tip: To all those who cry “nanny state” as a convenient way to denigrate socially-agreed on law: What I find amusing is that the “nanny state” complainers ALWAYS put ONLY the laws that THEY don’t like into the category of “Nannydom”. These claims are always amusing because they are faulty in their logic – full of “false cause”, begging the question” and other fallacies that would lose in “round 1” of any debate.

    If Commenter thinks that it’s so awful that 20 cars should have to wait for Mrs. White to cross the road, why not take his/her argument to the logical extreme. Let’s eliminate that law, OK? And, let’s move Commenter to a part of the city that is heavily congested. Better yet, let’s put a few more decades on Commenter so that s/he is not so spry when attempting to cross a boulevard. I’m taking bets that Commenter’s views would change faster than Red turns to green on 19th Ave.

  18. @phil
    I enjoy your views, but if they are shared by the majority of the City population, I can see why this City has become dirty, crime-ridden, and stagnant when it comes to tangible growth.

    Working backwards:
    – Mrs. White in a crosswalk: this example was not to denigrate senior citizens. If a senior were crossing, I hope everyone stops to allow her to pass. However, my grandmother makes an effort to cross at lights or four way stops. She also scurries across because she doesn’t want to make others wait. The fact is this: laws have taken from many in San Francisco the idea that life is precious. Instead, the idea that someone on foot has the right to cross at any time regardless of the danger is the state of our society. Penalizing drivers for failure to stop is a nanny law by its nature, protecting one person from another.

    – Sharing: Since when did any species survive by “earning” followed immediately by sharing? When I found my acorn, why did I have to pass it to the fellow squirrel? When savagely slaughtered a sea lion, when did I have to share with the other calves?

    – Bridge and Invisible Hand: Sell me your bridge.

    – Rolls Royce: Your disdain for fine cars and your conclusion that an expensive car is what is wrong with society is, yet, another leap. That car is a choice afforded by money. Take my neighbors position and then decide.

    – Contribution: What did I do besides living here to drive up prices? Let’s list: dozens of employees, majority of employees live in the City, employees make above average wages, businesses pay significant taxes, lord of the land pays significant taxes, growth of business has driven growth of adjacent businesses, growth of businesses has led to desirability in neighborhood, growth has led to increased profits, increased profits have led to developments, developments have led to additional profits, profits have led to other developments, more taxes, more profit, more employment. Rents have stayed flat, however, because, well, they are locked in. So, while everything and everyone profits, rents don’t follow.

    – SF support of renters: Renters are transient by nature more often than not. To support a group of people who will remove income from the City is shortsighted. Support those who have invested in land and taxes, but that is too much to ask a City like San Francisco. By the way, let’s accept Google’s offer for free wi-fi in SF. No, that would be crazy for SF. Let’s turn it down only to change minds a few years later and have to pay for the necessary study and find a way to pay for it.

    – Middle class: I’m middle class, and I don’t complain about being middle class. I am complaining about the City making things difficult to get out of the middle class because of backwards laws. Why are so many middle class complaining? Is it a money issue? Are you straddling the lines of middle and low class? Low sounds so horrible. Perhaps you should reconsider your $50/month cable subscription and $200/month cell phone plan, and the iPad you just purchased. Being middle class, does that mean you have to take vacations once a year? Does that mean you have to join that country club?

    – Property owners: You seem to have come to the conclusion that property owners and landlords are evil and view themselves as above every other blue collar worker. Why? By the way, a nurse makes $120k/year. That salary buys A LOT in this City, but having that $50k Audi diminishes that quite a bit. Choices made determine a lot. A landlord chose to own, which led to another source of income. Why vilify the person providing an opportunity to put a roof over your head? Should he, out of the kindness of his heart, give away his unit to you? Are YOU going to determine the rents for everyone to pay? If you can’t rent it, go somewhere else.

    – Moral highground: I am not sure what gibberish you speak.

    – Manhattan: Is it more prosperous with less restrictive laws? Sure, let’s mimic it. Why is San Francisco so adverse to growth? If the City will accommodate more wealth, improve services, clean up, and has the demand for higher priced homes, then why not? Why “artificially” limit it?

    There is no agreeing with you, phil. I would hate to have you as a renter, and you may contribute to the reason I would take my units off the market. Unfortunately for you, that is the general sentiment from my colleagues and other owners.

    Plus, why take out your hatred of landlords and those with money? Most are indebted to the banks with titles held by banks. They are “renters” like you anyways.

    Another by the way: Don’t you love it when San Francisco twists America’s Cup as one of the largest sporting events in the world? Don’t you love it more than SF lost money on the event? That’s typical SF thinking for you. I have to grab my tree trimmer now because the City assigned their tree to me.

  19. @Commenter
    you said: “- Sharing: Since when did any species survive by “earning” followed immediately by sharing? When I found my acorn, why did I have to pass it to the fellow squirrel? When savagely slaughtered a sea lion, when did I have to share with the other calves? ”
    Guess what? It’s the small nomadic groups in our species that SHARED their food and SHARED protective strategies that survived. We have their genes. Shared empathy lights up our brains on an fMRI than any other impulse. Sharing and empathy are what made human society possible. There is excellent ethnographic research on this.

    you said: “…employees make above average wages, businesses pay significant taxes, lord of the land pays significant taxes, growth of business has driven growth of adjacent businesses…”
    But OTHER PEOPLE enabled that – including renters! The very infrastructure that your property sits on is paid for by other people’s money!

    you said: “Renters are transient by nature more often than not.”
    Why do you think that is? Look at your philosophy.

    Commenter, rather than go on, I will stop because you have taken to characterizing me in a way that satisfies your own bias. I like money; I’m a capitalist! That said, there is no way that this “market” you so dearly love is a mechanism that favors your choice of decisions. Markets are NOT pointed toward pure efficiencies. This is not new information. Markets are MADE, and MANIPULATED by those who more perfect information than others (in those markets). Add to that the influence of bought legislation.

    There is no reason why rents have to go only in one direction. Landlords who think this is the only way should themselves choose another municipality! What’s good for the renter is good for the …. 🙂

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