Affordable Housing

No poetry or magic in being a robot

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I felt yesterday like I had been scooped after reading Jennifer Maerz’s post in the Bold Italic, which asked: Is Talking About High Rents So Often Crippling Our City?

She linked to the blog of “robotics genius” Kal Spelletich, who is a friend of mine. We’ve been getting into heated discussions on this very topic for months. Kal makes fantastical interactive machines that do things like spit fire, harness random mechanical motion to produce musical notes on a piano or a violin, or engulf you in an aromatic bundle of fennel, just for an instant. His creations are robots.

I spent a bit of time in his studio, a giant waterfront warehouse in the southeastern part of the city where strange, sharp-edged contraptions hang from the ceilings. I shared stories about the articles I was writing, increasingly on evictions and the dearth of affordable housing in San Francisco. But as we dissected the problem, Kal rejected what he saw as a narrative of desperation that has been formulated in response to the city's affordable housing crisis.

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Activists organize, and some journalists chronicle, a progressive resurgence in SF

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While Mayor Ed Lee jets around the world, still too focused on fueling the economic fire that is gentrifying San Francisco and displacing its diverse population — and as the San Francisco Chronicle and other downtown boosters niggle on the margins of Read more »

Hundreds attend hearing to call for action on evictions

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Tenants, organizers and residents impacted by Ellis Act evictions packed the Board of Supervisors Chambers at San Francisco City Hall today, Thu/14, for a hearing called by Sup. David Campos on eviction and displacement in San Francisco.Read more »

Protesters to gather outside Twitter on IPO day

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Those who stand to become instant millionaires from Twitter’s initial public offering might as well be worlds apart from a coalition of senior advocates, students, tenant organizers and union members planning to rally outside the tech company’s San Francisco headquarters on the day of the IPO.Read more »

Angered by senior evictions, Filipino American activists decline award

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The board members of a local Filipino heritage organization, with ties to a high-profile eviction defense battle at San Francisco’s International Hotel in the late 1970s, have declined to an accept an award that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee had planned to extend to them as part of a Filipino American History celebration because they are angry about a growing trend of senior evictions.Read more »

Tenant groups propose sweeping package to ease the "eviction epidemic"

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Tenant advocates today proposed a sweeping set of legislative proposals to address what they’re calling the “eviction epidemic” that has hit San Francisco, seeking to slow the rapid displacement of tenants by real estate speculators with changes to land use, building, rent control, and other city codes.Read more »

Lee family quietly leaves home as activists pledge to push reforms

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Members of Lee family quietly moved out of their longtime home in Chinatown last night, a day before their latest scheduled Ellis Act eviction, which had been postponed twice before thanks to headline-grabbing progressive activism that turned away deputies and persuaded the Mayor’s Office to intervene with the landlord.Read more »

Market Street tenants still facing uncertainty

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Anxiety continues to run high at 1049 Market Street in San Francisco, where 60 tenants who received eviction notices last month still lack clarity on whether they will ultimately be ousted or allowed to stay.

“I really feel like I’m being forced out,” said Chandra Redack, a tenant who has lived in the building for more than nine years and in San Francisco since 1982. “And that puts a lump in my throat.” Read more »

Threat to torpedo Richmond's plan to help home owners through eminent domain dodged, for now

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Last night, Richmond’s controversial plan for preventing home foreclosures using eminent domain was almost torpedoed. The stage was the regular Richmond City Council meeting, where its members fought a drag out, bare-knuckle fight with at least three hundred Richmond residents in both corners of the issue crowding the auditorium.

Last night, advocates for city intervention against the banks won.Read more »

Campos urges SF to explore using Richmond's eminent domain plan

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Sup. David Campos is urging the board of supervisors to explore using eminent domain to save San Francisco resident’s underwater mortgages, a plan pioneered by the city of Richmond and its mayor Gayle McLaughlin.Read more »