Steven T. Jones

Chiu introduces legislation to regulate Airbnb and short-term housing rentals UPDATED

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After more than a year in development, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu is introducting legislation today to legalize and regulate the short-term housing rentals facilitated by Airbnb and other online companies. But the legislation won’t address all the concerns of Airbnb’s critics — from landlords to tenants to labor to neighborhood associations — and it’s unclear why it took so long to develop.Read more »

Airbnb comes clean with San Francisco

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Airbnb came clean this evening, sending out new terms of service drafted April 7 that customers must agree to before conducting further business starting April 30. Read more »

Leno's Ellis Act reform bill clears first legislative hurdle

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Sen. Mark Leno’s Senate Bill 1439 — which would protect rent-controlled housing in San Francisco by amending the Ellis Act, including making property owners wait at least five years after buying a property to evict tenants under the act — cleared its first legislative hurdle today.

The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee passed the measure on a 6-4 vote, and it heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee next. The bill has strong support in San Francisco, from progressive constituencies through Mayor Ed Lee to support by leaders in the business community and tech world.Read more »

Yee and others indicted by federal grand jury, reinforcing criminal complaint

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A federal grand jury has indicted Sen. Leland Yee and 28 others on charges similar to those issued in the bombshell criminal complaint by the FBI last week, the Sacramento Bee is reporting. The indictment named three additional defendants who weren’t in the original complaint: Barry Blackwell House (aka Barry Black), Zhanghao Wu, and Ton Zao Zhang.Read more »

Federal criminal indictment of PG&E doesn't go far enough

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  A federal grand jury in San Francisco yesterday issued a criminal indictment against Pacific Gas & Electric for negligence in the 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that killed eight people and destroyed an entire neighborhood. That’s significant and serious, but it also falls far short of what this rapacious company and its conniving executives -- none of whom face personal criminal charges -- should be facing.Read more »

Will Airbnb pay its accumulated tax debt to SF?

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So now that Airbnb has agreed to start collecting and paying the transient occupany tax in San Francisco sometime this summer — finally acknowledging that’s the only workable way to meet the tax obligation it shares with its hosts — that leaves open the question of whether this $10 billion corporation intends to pay the tax debt it has accumulated for years while trying to duck its respon Read more »

Crime and politics

How an FBI probe of organized crime in Chinatown took down a senator and well-connected political consultant

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steve@sfbg.com

San Franciscans awoke March 26 to the surprising news that state Sen. Leland Yee (D-SF) had been arrested on federal corruption charges as part of early morning police raids targeting an organized crime syndicate based in Chinatown, along with reputed gangster Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow and two dozen others.Read more »

Airbnb finally agrees to pay its taxes in SF

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Airbnb has apparently finally agreed to pay its taxes in San Francisco. The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the company, long called out by Guardian articles and editorials as a tax scofflaw blatantly defying a city ruling, will start collecting and remitting the 15 percent transient occupancy tax by this summer. Read more »

Complaint against Yee includes firearms trafficking and envelopes full of cash

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The federal criminal charges filed today against Sen. Leland Yee (D-SF), local political consultant Keith Jackson, reputed Chinatown organized crime boss Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, and 23 other defendants allege a vast criminal conspiracy that was penetrated by undercover FBI agents, who say they then gave Yee envelopes full of cash in exchange for official favors.Read more »

Yee had a reputation for political corruption even before the federal indictment

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Long before Sen. Leland Yee’s surprise arrest and arraignment on federal corruption charges today, Yee already had a reputation for, at best, political pandering and influence peddling; or at worst, corruption, a label for Yee long used in private conversations among figures in the local political establishment.Read more »