Saturday, July 23, 2016
Posters in the city’s Chinatown claim Airbnb landlords are ‘destroying affordable housing for immigrant, minority and low income families’
Flyers in San Francisco’s Chinatown feature the names and photographs of individuals accused of ‘Airbnb’ing our community’. Photograph: Courtesy of Patrick Connors
Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco
Friday 22 July 2016 06.00 EDTLast modified on Friday 22 July 201613.29 EDT
San Francisco’s gentrification wars have long fostered a certain element willing to make the debate over affordable housing extremely personal.
During the first dot-com boom, members of the “Mission Yuppie Eradication Project” posted flyers encouraging residents of the once working-class Latino neighborhood to “vandalize yuppie cars”. During the current tech boom, asevictions soared, activists began using stencils to paint the sidewalks in front of certain buildings with an image of a suitcase and a message: “Tenants here forced out.”
‘Tech tax’: San Francisco mulls plan for taxing the rich to house the poor
But throughout all the turmoil, San Francisco’s Chinatown – 24 crowded blocks that have endured as a point of entry for generations of low-income Chinese immigrants – has remained largely insulated from the rancor.
In recent weeks, “Wanted” flyers have been posted around the neighborhood featuring the names and photographs of 12 individuals. The crime in question? “Airbnb’ing our community” and “destroying affordable housing for immigrant, minority, & low income families.”
Unlike a flyer posted recently in the Mission District that featured the heads of various tech CEOs, including Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, impaled on spikes, the Chinatown flyer names and shames individual Airbnb hosts.
FacebookTwitterPinterest A poster in the Mission district of San Francisco takes aim at big tech CEOs. Photograph: Julia Carrie Wong for the Guardian
“It expresses a growing sentiment and a reality that the community is being exploited by speculators and unscrupulous players in the housing market,” said city supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents the district that includes Chinatown.
“There’s no question that there are an increasing amount of illegal short-term rentals throughout the city and in Chinatown.”
Indeed, Peskin said that just two weeks ago, he observed three French people leaving a Chinatown apartment building at 10am, rolling suitcases in tow.
‘Like a village’
The fact that a group of tourists staying in a residential building in the city that is home to Airbnb seemed remarkable is indicative of how insulated Chinatown has been from the market forces rocking the rest of the city.
“Chinatown has generally been preserved and defended against gentrification,” said Joyce Lam of the Chinese Progressive Association, a group that organizes workers and tenants in the neighborhood.
FacebookTwitterPinterest The Chinatown ‘Wanted’ poster. Photograph: Courtesy of Patrick Connors
Strict zoning laws enacted during the 1980s have protected the stock of single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels, which serve as low cost housing for newly arrived immigrants, as well as many elderly Chinese Americans. With their shared kitchens and bathrooms, Lam said the SROs can feel “like a village” to the multi-generation families crowded into single rooms.
But units that once changed hands solely through word of mouth or Chinese language flyers posted on the street are now popping up on Craigslist, Airbnb, and other short-term rental sites, as landlords have realized that they can earn more money renting to college graduates, single adults and white people, Lam said.
“It’s changed the fabric of the SROs,” Lam said, especially since the new residents often cannot communicate with Cantonese-speaking tenants. “It’s a different kind of feeling.”
The average rent of SRO rooms has increased as well, from $610 in 2013, to $970 in 2015, according to a survey conducted by the Chinatown Community Development Center. Those figures are enticingly low in a city where theaverage rent was $3,907 as of June, but increasingly unaffordable for many low-income immigrant families.
“Contrary to the posters, we don’t see the problem as being individual players,” Lam said, adding that her organization supports citywide reform legislation aimed at strengthening short-term rental regulation.
“We are more interested in having a meaningful discussion about San Francisco’s longstanding housing issues than responding to anonymous attacks on individual San Franciscans,” a spokesperson for Airbnb said in a statement.
The people on the poster
The appeal of Chinatown to non-traditional residents is described on Airbnb’s website, where a number of Chinatown listings feature photographs of the neighborhood’s famous Dragon Gate and paper lanterns.
“Cramped. Crowded. Dingy. Delightful,” reads the caption on Airbnb’s neighborhood description of Chinatown.
One Airbnb host who lists four rentals in Chinatown defended his preference for tourists over tenants.
“We rather leave rooms and apartment empty rather than renting because of rent control,” the host wrote to the Guardian. “Once tenants move in they own the property ... they have more rights than property owners.”
That host was not featured on the “Wanted” poster. None of the people on the “Wanted” poster who currently have Chinatown units listed on Airbnb responded to queries.
Justin Hobbs, who is on the poster, said: “I’ve seen this flyer and have reported it to AirBnB and will be filing a police report. If I’m able to find the creator of the flyer, there will also be a lawsuit filed for slander as this is completely untrue.”
Hobbs said that he lives in Nob Hill, not Chinatown, and he does not rent out his apartment, which is his only residence.
Another one of the people on the poster, who asked not to be identified, was also frustrated by it. The individual said that he no longer lives in San Francisco, but had used Airbnb once, several years ago, and has long since deactivated his account.
“I don’t see that what I did was criminal,” he said. “The reason why I left San Francisco is because it was way over gentrified and it was impossible to live as an artist, and now to get blamed as a gentrifier is just funny.”
Jeff Chen, who was also featured on the poster, was more sanguine about being singled out. Chen, who moved to a different part of the city in May, said that he rented his apartment a few times on Airbnb last summer, when he was traveling for work.
“I don’t really feel good about it [the poster], but I can see why members of the community are concerned about the housing situation,” Chen said. “I see stories about people who do [Airbnb] as a business, and I can see how that would drive up housing costs … I actually do identify with those concerns.”
Friday, July 22, 2016
|Donald Trump's father built his 400 million dollar estate with Affordable Housing.|
Most people think of Donald Trump as the brash developer of Casinos, Golf Courses and Luxury properties. Not too many people know that his family fortune was built by on the foundation that his father Fred Trump (1905-1999) built with affordable housing in the New York area
From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Trump
[Fred]Trump embarked on a career as an entrepreneur through real estate development, building, and operating affordable rental housing via large apartment complexes in New York City, including more than 27,000 low-income multifamily apartments and row houses in the neighborhoods of Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, Flatbush, and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn and Flushing and Jamaica Estates in Queens.
The next time you hear about "non-profit developers" remember that there is huge money in public sector housing development. A business must be organized as a non profit corporation to qualify for HUD financing.
The business plan may be different than market rate housing but it is very profitable just the same. The average low income apartment costs $250,000 to $500,000 per unit making it far more expensive per square foot than market rate real estate.
Remember that "low income" only refers to the resident. Everyone else makes a very healthy living. That is why developers love One Bay Area Plan and the mandate for low income housing.
Low income housing provides greater certainty for profits at lower risk.
Just ask Donald Trump!
TOM MEYER / meyertoons.com
Housing, its availability and affordability, is at or the near the top of the public agenda throughout the nine-county Bay Area.
So, too, are roads and transit.
Despite the region’s robust economic growth since the Great Recession, or perhaps because of that growth, the increasingly high cost and tight supply of housing is making it difficult for many families to make ends meet or even to live near their places of employment. And frustration with commute-hour congestion is often accompanied by the fury that is producing threats of a property tax strike in rural Sonoma County unless deteriorating roads are repaired.
Is surrendering local control the solution?
That might be the easiest answer, but we aren’t convinced it’s the best one, or even that it’s equitable, much less politically viable.
Indeed, regional government has been considered and rejected before. However, it may get a new look after being put forward again in “A Roadmap for Economic Resilience,” a report prepared by the Bay Area Council, an influential organization representing some of the region’s most prestigious employers, a list including Apple, Intel, Kaiser and Oracle.
“For all its strengths, the Bay Area lacks any cohesive and comprehensive regional economic strategy for sustaining economic growth, weathering business cycles and supporting shared prosperity across the region,” the report says. “Given the regional nature of the economy, its labor pool, housing sheds, job centers and commute flows, viable solutions must reflect a regional perspective.”
That, the Bay Area Council report said, could include punishing cities that fail to meet housing targets set by regional planners. The report also suggests a cap on development impact fees (which, in theory, are supposed to offset costs of schools, parks and other infrastructure to serve new development), waiving environmental reviews for housing projects and taking away local discretion over plans that are consistent with local zoning and building codes.
To upgrade the transportation network, the report recommends allowing a regional agency to impose bridge tolls, sales taxes, fuel taxes and/or a vehicle registration fee.
The Bay Area already has two large regional government agencies — the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments — though neither has the kind of teeth that the report envisions.
And while major regional efforts, such as Plan Bay Area, usually respect local priorities, larger cities and counties tend to have greater influence on the governing boards. That’s a reason for concern in North Bay counties should there be a serious effort to give these agencies greater authority.
In its report, the Bay Area Council points at regional governing schemes in Portland, Ore., where commissioners are elected, and the Twin Cities, where they are appointed by Minnesota’s governor. However, it isn’t clear that residents of Sonoma and other smaller counties would have any more influence under either of these approaches.
It is undeniably true that housing and transportation are regional concerns and that solutions have proven elusive, but it won’t be easy to persuade people that their interests would be better served by a board of super-supervisors further removed from its constituents
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Marin County Supervisors approve of a work plan to implement HUD "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) in Marin County. The plan aims to create "racial and economic equity" in all areas of Marin.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Clarification: Westchester V Hud was settled in the 2nd Circuit Court of Appesls in NY. The Final Decision quoted Chief Justice John Roberts. This short video describes the effects on local communities if they accept HUD money for fair housing or urban development under their new rule, Affirmatively Furthering fair Housing. AFFH, as a term has existed for many years, the ruling went into efect July, 2015.
Here is a quick video of the crime heat maps in Downtown San Rafael and the proposed location for the Ritter Center in North San Rafael. The crime statistics tell the story.
See the maps at http://www.srpd.org/crimereports/
The county of Marin and San Rafael is considering moving Ritter Center homeless services to 67 Mark Drive in North San Rafael that borders residential areas. The Marinwood CSD provides emergency services to this area WITHOUT COMPENSATION and will be the primary responder. We also own thousands of acres of open space where we have had problems with homeless encampments and fires.
Clearly the move will have huge impact yet NO ONE on the CSD board wants to act to protect the Marinwood CSD's interest. Leah Kleinman Green even admits that she SUPPORTS the move but she has not heard from her neighbors. Naylor, Kai and Shea seem concerned but will do nothing to make San Rafael and the County of the aware of the financial impacts it will have on the Marinwood CSD.
Where are our leaders?!
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
West Marin Supervisor, Steve Kinsey "solves" the homeless problem of Marin by moving the homeless services from downtown San Rafael to North San Rafael. This area is surrounded by hundreds of homes and businesses. Apparently Steve Kinsey's "compassion" is the greatest when other people pay the price.
Why not locate a homeless shelter in YOUR neighborhood Mr. Kinsey?
Monday, July 18, 2016
|While videotape recording of public meetings is allowed by the Brown Act, SECRET videotaping with hidden cameras without consent violates California law, most especially when it is used to record private conversations.|
The July 12, 2016 Marinwood CSD meeting
For the record, the Marinwood CSD is denying that it had anything to do with surveillance video on July 12, 2016.