Politics Blog

As Ellis Act reform bill faced death, where was Ron Conway?

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One week and one day -- that's how long Sen. Mark Leno has to push his Ellis Act reform bill through two committees in order for it to go before to the assembly floor, making its prospects for passage this year look dim.

The push would have been easier if it hadn't lost yesterday's vote, 3-4, in the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development. Now the bill's passage is a herculean task that even Leno admits is a tough slog. 

"I'd say it's challenging," Leno told us yesterday. San Franciscans have been displaced by real estate speculators, a dozen or more of whom are regularly "flipping" homes for profit and using the Ellis Act to clean out longtime renters. If passed, the bill would restrict the use of the Ellis Act to those who've owned their homes for five years or longer, allowing property owners to eventually get out of the rental business, as supporters of the Ellis Act say it was intended for. 

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City agencies defend their slow response to Airbnb's illegal rentals

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More information has been coming out about how Airbnb is used to convert San Francisco apartments into tourist rentals — including an interesting study reported by the San Francisco Chronicle last weekend — in advance of next month’s hearings on legislation to legalize and regulate short-term rentals.

But questions remain about why the city agencies in charge of regulating such “tourist conversions,” which have long been illegal under city law, have done so little to crack down on the growing practice. For more than two years, we at the Guardian have been publicly highlighting such violations, which have finally caught fire with the public in the last six months. Read more »

Free Sunday meters challenge rejected, SFMTA board's independence questioned

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The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to reject an environmental appeal of the decision to repeal paying for parking meters on Sundays, which was voted on by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in April as part of the agency's annual budget approval.Read more »

DCCC calls against Prop B did not have desired effect, did raise questions

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Chairperson Mary Jung of the San Francisco Democratic County Central Committee, a highly influential political body that governs the San Francisco Democratic Party, has come under fire for “misuse of funds” after authorizing the use of DCCC dollars to make calls to voters just before the June 3 election.

The funds in question, according to DCCC members who raised concerns, came out of a $25,000 check from billionaire venture capital investor Ron Conway, received by the DCCC May 30.Read more »

Board of Supervisors considers environmental appeal of paid Sunday meters

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The Board of Supervisors is now hearing an environmental appeal of the SFMTA's proposed budget, specifically over the decision to make Sunday parking meters free once againThe move by the SFMTA to repeal paid parking meters deprived the agency of $11 million annually. Read more »

Supervisors consider affordable housing half-step

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While the Board of Supervisors today considers placing a measure on the fall ballot that would slow market rate housing projects when affordable housing development drops below 30 percent of total production, it is also slated to quietly approve another item showing San Franciscans actually need more than double that amount of housing.Read more »

Picture of SF's extreme income equality worth thousands of words

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Sometimes visuals paint a picture in a visceral way that mere numbers can’t, and that was the case when the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project recently released a graph highlighting the magnitude of San Francisco’s high rate of income inequality growth and how it compares to other major cities around the country. San Francisco's purple bubble is floating way up, all alone, above Atlanta, Georgia's orange bubble and everyone else closely grouped together. Read more »

State regulators issue stern warning to rideshare companies

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About a month ago, we wrote about how San Francisco International Airport Director John Martin was cracking down on rideshare drivers ferrying passengers to the airport.Read more »

Elderly assisted living facility residents face eviction

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A San Francisco-based assisted living facility for the elderly is slated for eviction July 10, a jarring and unexpected turn of events for families who are concerned about their loved ones’ health and wellbeing. However, concerned families and the facility's board of trustees are working in tandem with city officials to craft a solution, so a different outcome may still be in the works.Read more »

Daily Show skewers Glassholes and Sarah Slocum

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The last time the Daily Show with Jon Stewart skewered San Francisco in relation to Google, Stewart asked "why are they protesting those buses anyway?" Last night though, the Daily Show fire shot straight at Google and everyone's favorite Glasshole: Sarah Slocum.Read more »