Eviction Group Aims to Put Housing on the Ballot

Attendees at Saturday's tenant convention placed stickers marking where they live on a map of San Francisco that displayed average housing prices. Photo by Lynne Shallcross

Attendees at Saturday's tenant convention placed stickers marking where they live on a map of San Francisco that displayed average housing prices. Photo by Lynne Shallcross

En Español.

Sergio Lainez is fighting to keep his family of five in the only home they’ve known for the past 22 years on Bryant and 24th streets.

“I don’t have peace at all,” said Lainez, 41, who, with the help of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, has been in a five-year legal battle with his landlord. “They just want me out.”

Lainez joined a group of about 50 other Mission and Excelsior residents Saturday at Everett Middle School for a tenant convention organized by Just Cause (also known as Causa Justa.) The event was intended to be the first step in getting a measure to fight displacement on next fall’s citywide ballot.

Wading through topics including accountability for landlords who neglect repairs, reducing the impact of the Ellis Act and protections against evictions and vacancy control, attendees talked about what they want to see turned into a ballot measure.

“It’s going to be a pretty long fight next year, and we want people to invest in it and feel a part of it — and the way that we see that being a possibility is if they craft it, if they’re involved from the very beginning,” said Maria Zamudio, San Francisco Housing Rights Organizer for Just Cause.

Just Cause was part of a larger coalition last year that worked successfully to pass a bond to fund affordable housing development, known as the Housing Trust Fund or Proposition C.

The San Francisco Budget and Legislative analyst reported recently that more residents were evicted from the Inner Mission with the Ellis Act than in any other neighborhood. The Ellis Act is a 1986 state law that allows landlords to take their rental properties off the market by evicting all of the tenants. The report tracked 71 Ellis Act eviction notices in the Inner Mission from 2009 to 2013.

Citywide, all types of evictions reported to the city’s Rent Board rose from 1,242 in March 2010 to 1,716 in February 2013. Evictions under the Ellis Act increased 170 percent between March 2010 and February 2013. From October 2012 to September 2013, there were 162 Ellis Act evictions.

Hebert Sipion has been living in the Excelsior District for two years, and last month, his landlord raised the amount Sipion is required to contribute to his utility charges from 80 percent of the total to 100 percent. “He told us he can raise it whatever he wants,” Sipion said.

So Sipion and his wife, who are already working with Just Cause, came to yesterday’s event to gain more information and support.

David Campos, who represents the Mission on the Board of Supervisors, reassured residents that their voices are being heard.

“The Mission is, in many respects, the front lines of this fight,” Campos told attendees. “When you have the beginning of an economic recovery where the trend is clear, it’s pretty scary because evictions are up 170 percent, but we’re talking about the beginning of this trend. So, can you imagine where we’re going to be in three months, four months, six months from now? And we know that for every eviction, there are at least two to three or perhaps even more displacements through buyouts.”

Campos said that his strategy is two-pronged. The first part is working with Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) to craft a bill that would allow local jurisdictions to make changes to the Ellis Act.

“We want to see a moratorium on the Ellis Act,” Campos said.

The second part is working to combat evictions on a local level, Campos said. His local proposals include one allowing tenants to file a formal complaint with the Rent Board when they’re being harassed by landlords over buyouts, increasing the relocation costs during a buyout and possible legislation regulating buyouts.

Now that the discussion about the housing and eviction situation in the city is at the forefront, Just Cause’s Zamudio said it’s important to ask residents what they want to see change — and that happens by bringing them together, she said.

“The way that policy is often developed is our neighbors and our neighborhoods and our community members say ‘this’ is an issue,” Zamudio said. “And as policy advocates, we’re like, ‘Ok, well let me figure out if anybody has ever done anything about this and use those as models.’”

Four other meetings will happen in neighborhoods across the city, Zamudio said. Then, in January or February, Just Cause will host a citywide convention to consider the results of each neighborhood meeting and choose a proposal to move forward with.

135 Comments

  1. mhc

    “The report tracked 71 Ellis Act eviction notices in the Inner Mission from 2009 to 2013.”
    FOURTEEN in FIVE YEARS in a city the size of SF? And now they want me to pay for their housing as well as my own? (I live in the Bayview, thank you, nothing gentrified, just a modest house that I PAY FOR.) Unless you want to move to Russia, you cannot insist that you have a right to live wherever you want no matter whether or not you can pay for it. If you want to live in SF you have to pay those rates, and if the landlord raises the rent they do have that right – if you can’t afford it, MOVE, don’t whine and moan for 5 years! Take responsibility for your own shelter!

    • ThatGuy

      Thank you. What a joke this is becoming.

    • sfnative

      What awful people you are.

      I am amazed at how so many arrogantly act as if everyone, from elderly to disabled, has the ability to move without endangering their health and income entirely. Not to mention that we should all be fighting for such protections, as they strengthen a city and it’s people, rather than promote cut-throat Libertarian-style landlord antics. What if it was YOUR grandmother? being tossed out by a landlord who got TAX BENEFITS for having a controlled apartment?

      Go back to whatever heartless place you come from, leave my city alone.

      • 1innocentbystander

        Thank you sfnative! It’s so true that while everyone wants the world to be black and white, there is more gray area than either of those two choices. Having lived in this incredible city since the early 90’s I have seen the dramatic changes. I have lived the best years of my life here, worked hard made great friends life was looking good for me then I ended up disabled after a heinous assault. I now live with a older disabled woman and we are barely able to make it month to month, If we were forced to leave this home we have no options. Our support system is here, our doctors, our friends, our family. It’s hard to start over when you’re in your 30’s and healthy, imagine being over 50 and poor in wealth and health. I don’t mean to be a burden to anyone but I need a place to live, I give back to the community, I help other disabled people, I do what I can to be a part of society and useful. Because I can not land a tech job playing foos ball and riding a scooter around an office wearing Abercrombie and Retch I am now in danger of loosing all that I have. Out with the old! Well, that is sad isn’t it, I love this city and it breaks my heart everyday, all I want to do is stay here until I die. The unmerciless pursuit of profits is more important than my life so I must go out into the streets a victim once again, this time by heartless ignorance and a society more and more bereft of compassion. If this is what it comes to shame on you San Francisco.

        • Shame on you, for thinking your landlords property is now yours to sieze and control for life.

          • Zig

            Although I am against rent control in principal I have much empathy for people being displaced. Your comment is terrible

          • Mark

            Yes, the displacement of long time residents is very sad. Ideally the city will develop a better publicly supported housing safety net.

        • You seem quite good at the unmerciless pursuit of of other peoples property…..

          • fuckyou Kevin Smith

            Hey Kevin Smith,
            I think it’s quite obvious the shame is on you. This person shares a personal story in order to demonstrate how hard it is to stay in a city they’ve lived in and loved for a long time and want to continue to live in despite the obvious hardships that entails. And what do you have to offer to the conversation? a hardy “shame on you”. wow. Stunning how ….and totally devoid of empathy some of you assholes are.

      • John

        It’s very common for people to move when they retire or become old. The place you live when you are 70 and frail probably isn’t the same place you thought was cool and fun when you were 20.

        There are many assisted care homes around the Bay Area.

        • Zig

          Assisted care homes are quite expensive, no? I recall reading in San Mateo country they have a crisis of not enough affordable places for the elderly

      • It’s NOT just your city MEGALOMANIAC…

      • lol

        If it were my grandmother, I would help her out to live wherever she wants for whatever I and she can afford.

        But I do NOT expect a landlord to subsidize MY own grandmother.

      • ThatGuy

        You’re fucking kidding me right?

    • Persona Pensando

      That’s a cheap and lazy reply. Its the silliest too. Rents have increased 21% this year alone. Despite over 65000 new jobs in the city, only 124 additional units were added to the market.

      Its not PEOPLE who are not taking responsibility for Shelter, its a city that can’t add up numbers!

      You conveniently fail to mention:

      1) the land your sitting on and the Mission is part of the City’s 4 neighborhood development plan,
      2) Landlords are being hoodwinked and being used to clear the city for development. Not all landlords are going to be making those rents unless SF expects to clear out the city immediately.
      3) The City never should have been chosen for a ‘tech campus’ – there is not enough housing and it was short sighted, which got us here in the first place.

      And lastly, City Planning had relied always on sparking a ‘war’ to clear out areas for out of state developers with no ties to local communities and which those communities have to pay with these taxes for incessant ‘community meetings’ that all the developers get paid over years for – and so does the City – meanwhile knowing they are starving neighborhoods of services to run people out – or did the Bayview and Treasure Island sudddenly become in need of public services?

      The policy is messed up so stop stirring the pot like this city is run on principles of capitalism – otherwise what city gives $26m in breaks to a company that doesn’t even produce a product or requires kids in the Bayview to hold bake sales to get a park while paying for parks for new developments.

      • John

        You miss the real point, PP. The city needs business to flourish, especially given its massive unfunded liabilities for worker pensions and healthcare.

        For that the city needs growth, development, better paying jobs and successful business.

        The city is about the economy. Its population merely serves to drive that economy. We are a city and not a theme park or human zoo.

    • Pcdc

      haha, Russia, you do understand they have been a capitalist country for over 20 years right?

      also, if you think that those with money and property should be able to do whatever they want to the people who rent, then you are hopeless. people are trying to save this cities beauty, diversity, and culture, by helping our most needy. Do you really want to be on the other side of that fight?? Huh, punk?!

      • Lu

        Facts! You’re offering facts? What need I with facts when my own personal sense of entitlement is so far off the charts that simply pondering it, one gets a sense of the vast infinity of the universe?

        Behold! I am a home owner, so it follows from the universalizability of the particular that anyone who is not a home owner must therefore be beneath me and thus not worthy of my consideration. What care I for those who do not even own their own homes? They should be lucky to eat my crumbs!

        My natural superiority, which explains my rank in life, is in turn explained by my ability to take personal responsibility for myself. Clearly, those less fortunate have failed to learn this lesson in life and are entirely to blame for whatever happens to them. How dare they complain or fight evictions! Taking responsibility means simply accepting what the market dictates because that’s a completely fair and neutral system.

        Whip them, I say! Throw them out on the streets! Send the commies back to Russia or wherever these vermin renters who think they have a “right to shelter” come from.

        What’s that you say? The Russians aren’t commies anymore? Well, surely there must be SOME place we can send them back to!

    • Kim

      Your ignorance and arrogance are astounding. What do you know about any of the people who have been or are being evicted? And what precisely do you contribute to San Francisco that makes you so freaking important?

      • John

        Kim, why is a certain natural rate of turnover not desirable in a city that has always thrived on new people arriving here?

    • Kim

      It helps if you actually read the article before commenting; then you might not sound quite so ignorant, although certainly nothing can make you sound less nasty or more human. That was only in the Inner Mission, not the entire city of San Francisco.

      • ThatGuy

        Kim, open your eyes. Relatively speaking the turn over is VERY low. We’re talking single digits at worst.

    • GentrifySF

      I agree 100%. Pay up or leave.

  2. mhc

    “Hebert Sipion has been living in the Excelsior District for two years, and last month, his landlord raised the amount Sipion is required to contribute to his utility charges from 80 percent of the total to 100 percent. “He told us he can raise it whatever he wants,” Sipion said.”
    Nobody is subsidizing my utility bill…and this dude has only lived there for 2 years so he already should have known it was a rising market. What is WRONG with these people, don’t they understand that life is change?

    • Pcdc

      typical lack of understanding or compassion for low-income individuals, if only you had struggled just to keep your self housed maybe you wouldn’t make comments that make you sound like such are horribly wretch.

      • Get over your entitled nothingness, there is plenty of affodabe housing ! Just not in San Francisco, 7 billion other people mange to live outsiide of SF just fine. So can you entitled deadbeats….

      • lol

        Low income individuals should be helped by TAXES, not by landlord shakedowns.

    • Battery Powered.

      Its in the excelsior. Probably an undocumented unit, that shares an electric meter with a garage light, security lights, hall lights and maybe something else, that do not directly benefit the tenant who will pay 100%. So subsidy is likely the reverse of your jump.

      • John

        Where did it say that the unit was illegal? Or if it was, then the LL can easily evict, so isn’t a hike in utility rates a better option.

        Nor was it stated that utilities were shared. But in any event, if rent increases are capped at a level below inflation, then you can hardly blame a landlord for seeking to recoup part of his losses in a way that isn’t controlled.

      • GentrifySF

        Exactly. In the last 10 years, the Excelsior has become a hotbed of undocumented Latino people living in substandard housing/illegal in-laws for cheap rent. Having lived on Persia & Paris before, they also bring down the quality-of-life and bring crime.

  3. John

    A city ballot to enact vacancy control is a total waste of time because vacancy control is banned at the State level. If this “convention” didn’t even know that then I wouldn’t place much faith in the rest of their ideas.

    Having a “moratorium” on Ellis Act evictions misses the entire point of that act, which was to allow LL’s to exit the rental business without municipal interference. There’s no point in having a state law at all if cities can just opt out of it.

    And anyway, as noted, there are very few Ellis evictions in view of all the heated emotions that are endlessly trotted out by folks with a sense of entitlement.

    Finally, buyouts really cannot be subject to legislation because they are entirely voluntary and consensual. Tenants are naturally free to leave any RC unit with 30 days notice, and I fail to see how that can be stopped if the tenant wants to move and is being rewarded to do so.

    I’ve paid off a couple of tenants and they were very happy with their windfall.

    • Deke

      I didn’t see anyone complaining about payouts to get someone to leave a RC apartment. Did I miss it? To me that system is very fair,
      Landlord can make more money if that person leaves so they agree to pay $x to the tenant who may not be wealthy. In some instances that payout could help them move to a new city (if they wanted to) or put a deposit on a house in a less expensive city. Nobody HAS to do anything and nothing is signed unless everyone is happy. My friend was just paid out and he got enough money to move to Puerto Rico and not have to work for a year. Sounds to me everyone was happy but what’s the downside of this? Am I missing something?

      • John

        Correct, Deke, the people who object to payoffs are not the tenants themselves but the activists, advocstes, non-profits and politicians who rely on the so-called “tenant vote” to justify themselves.

        That’s why Daly tried to stop them a decade ago. Both landlords and tenants opposed his move and, in the end, the courts rejected Daly’s amendment as un-necessary interference with the right of people to make and amend contracts.

        I have paid two tenants to move out, and they were thrilled. They had never had so much money in their lives. What’s not to like?

    • sfreality

      Let all the renter really around a ballot that will get overturned in court. In the mean time all the landlords will speed the pace of taking rentals off the market and using the Ellis act to get tenants out since the penalty will increase under the ballot. The only way to keep rentals and add more is to make it a profitable business. If you can make as much money as renting as you can selling units the problem would go away. But since landlords are required to subsidize 60% of the housing market in the city being a rental property owner does not make much since.

  4. ThatGuy

    Campos: go do something productive. Maybe crime? Public urination? Clean streets? Drugs?

    • Lydia

      Because helping people keep a roof over their head is clearly a worthless pursuit for a public servant? Good God, you people are amazing.

      • Lydia

        Because helping people keep a roof over their head is clearly a worthless pursuit for a public servant? Good God, people like you are amazing.

      • John

        Better yet, Lydia, how about people making an effort to keep a home they cannot afford by their own efforts? You know, studying, learning new skills, working harder or longer, taking risks etc.

        The nanny state doesn’t have to do everything for you, you know?

  5. Bob

    Campos is ineffective and will not succeed in stopping the Ellis Act. This is pandering for his next election.

    These people ought to be organizing for more market rate housing to be built in the Mission, Civic Center, Mission Bay, Bayview and other under-developed parts of the city. Nothing else will help slow evictions.

    • John

      True, Bob. I have one question for all these whiners who worry that they may have to relocate.

      So what? Or to put in more nicely, what do you contribute to the city to justify fiddling with the laws so you can stay?

      OK, two questions. Any why can’t you do that from Oakland?

      In many cases, the person makes no significant contribution to the city, but merely wants to be here because they think the city or the Mission is “cool” and “interesting”.

      Well, hey, if you really want to live here, why not learn some new skills and/or find a better way of earning enough to afford to live in the coolest part of one of the most expensive cities on the planet?

      I don’t owe you anything, and certainly not a subsidy so that you can enjoy a lifestyle that you cannot afford. If you can’t afford a Ferrari, drive a Merc. If you can’t afford a Merc, drive a Ford. And if you can’t afford a Ford, ride a bike.

      • Pcdc

        John, how off the charts arrogant you are, and honestly, plain ignorant. YOU are the problem, did you ever wonder where the people who clean your houses, fix your toilets, help your homeless people or fix your streets come from? Do you understand the basics of economics, diversity, thriving culture?? Most of the people who are being evicted aren’t people who think this neighborhood is “cool” idiot, they have lived here for generations and just want to continue working and living here.

        Your lack of compassion is horrid, please go straight to hell.

        P.S. Oakland is now nearly as pricey as S.F. so now what? How about you go gentrify Orange County along with all your other self obsessed thoughtless reactionaries.

        • two beers

          John is a walkin’, talkin’, typin’ argument for revoking Prop 13 and enacting steep progressive taxation. The tide is slowly beginning to turn. Smart landpirates are lying low, keeping their mouths shut, and trying not to stir up even more resentment, but John is doubling down on his unilateral, top-down class-warfare, smug in his self-righteousness, and oblivious to the consequences that the privations he endorses are engendering.

          He is a taker who produces nothing. The security and functioning of his properties, the infrastructure they exist within, and the economy he operates within, is paid for by the working people he despises and exploits. Like his ideological peers on Wall St, he exists to extract wealth from the workers who actually create it, and he will be shocked and dumbfounded when the fraudulent system he is helping to propagate collapses from within, and will no doubt blame that collapse on his abused tenants.

          • John

            You’re the one talking class warfare here, two beers. And dragging down a debate on housing into a personal attack.

            Lose the loathing for a while. embrace freedom of expression, accept realities that you cannot change, and try working with those you disagree with. You might just be surprised at the outcome.

        • John

          PCDC, those service workers can and do live in Oakland or Daly City.

          And Oakland rents and home prices are about half what they are in SF. In fact a townhouse I recently saw in Oakland for 350K would be a million in SF.

          Don’t blame the messenger here. I’m simply explaining the economic reality of life in SF so that you can make more informed and better lifestyle decisions.

        • Demonizing to make them less human so we can steal their property… the rent control addicts playbook

          • John

            Subsidies and handouts are addictive.

            Folks here become addicted to the idea that they can afford to live in an expensive and highly desirable town, when in fact they cannot.

            I’d like to live in Aspen, but I cannot afford to, and so I do not. I don’t show up there and start whining about wanting a handout.

      • Persona Pensando

        I agree Bob and John. San Francisco doesn’t have to accept every Tom, Dick and Harry that wants to move into San Francisco. And, we certainly don’t need to be on ‘firesale’ because the Bio and Tech industries couldn’t get their ‘kink’ on in Silicon Valley, Santa Clara or Oakland.

        I mean, why can’t those industries remake areas with few people? Create community and development elsewhere?

        Or pay their taxes and make this Lady shine as a beacon of a new economy, not demand the same old engine for the shiny new destination.

        We are better than that – and aren’t these industry’s leading edge? Why employ planning and economic policy from the 1800’s.

        Spread around the love and business and transform the region.

        Or at least pay taxes and stop whining or move to Oakland instead.

        Why do corporations and developments deserve more stability than families that you all seem easily to be able to dismiss!?? Somethings not right Bob, something is not right!

      • Battery Powered.

        Good thing about John and Bob mean spirited comments, , is that they will motivate more people to get out and change the law. Thank for your generous gift in the campaign to carve out a local exemption to the Ellis Act.

        • two beers

          You’re so right about that. Their venality is their own worst enemy, but sociopaths just can’t help it! They will reap the consequences of their arrogance and perceived privilege

          • John

            So anyone disagreeing with you is a “sociopath”?

            I thought the left was supposed to be tolerant and loved diversity? Evidently not, if your narrative is typical.

        • NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN ! If you think Ellis act segregation will pass in the courts YOU ARE DELUSIONAL. The law has to apply EQUALLY TO ALL

    • GentrifySF

      Exactly. Campos is only in office because of the strong Latino vote/support behind him. He says whatever is necessary to keep them satisfied, but he’s largely ineffective and delusional.

  6. landline

    As I predicted, the comments here have turned into the classist, hateful drivel one finds on sfgate.com and sfbg.com. What a shame. It only takes a few persistent commenters to ruin a website’s comment pages.

    Their replies will mention freedom of speech and openness to opposing viewpoints. But the essence of their commentary is to attack working class people and to belittle our contributions to our community because we don’t have enough money to their liking.

    I mean, can someone actually say “God created Oakland” as a place for displaced San Franciscans and expect reasonable people to consider that productive discussion?

    • John

      So a website is “ruined” if people express opinions that you don’t agree with? Why so intolerant?

      And what is the problem with suggesting that those who do relocate can find an affordable home just a 15 minute BART ride from 24th and Mission?

      Finally, we alll “work” so what is this thing about “working class people”?

      Landline, can you describe to us what you contribute to the city and our taxbase that would convince me that it’s a vital public policy imperative that can afford to stay here?

      • ThinkPlease

        John, everyone knows that rent control reduces the supply of housing and increases rents. For all those staring years, the tenants paid you excessive rents compared to what wound exist in the free market. Were you whining at the start of the tenancy when renters paid you more then they would have, or only when the rent control became inconvenient for you.

      • Pcdc

        ok, i’ll ignore that you don’t understand the term “working class” but really have you no compassion for people who are evicted because of landlord greed? do you know how horrible it is to be low-income and evicted in the bay? many people become homeless, Oakland is very close to being just as expensive now.

        work on your compassion before you ever make another comment on here, seriously.

      • landline

        No, I don’t have to justify anything to you.

        Congratulations on dragging the discussion down to the base level you enjoy with you continual references to “whiners” and “losers” and your baiting loaded questioning of anyone that doesn’t conform to your values or world view.

        (Are you satisfied, ThatGuy?)

        • John

          landline, you are the one who dragged down the debate here by making it personal.

          We were talking about housing policy until you showed up and started throwing insults and personal attacks around.

          • landline

            Um no, that would be you with your insulting terms of “whiners” and “losers” aimed at those that don’t meet your income requirement.s I merely analyzed the content and tone of the misanthropic comments posted by some contributors. Nothing personal or insulting about that.

          • John

            “Whining” seems like an appropriate term to use for the tone of the article, which appears to have as a premise the idea that people are entitled to lifetime leases at massively discounted rents without some kind of backlash.

            Is it so wrong to ask people to pay their own way and not rely on others to subsidize them?

            Or to suggest that not everyone who is here, should be here?

      • Lu

        John, you might want to start by googling “working class” and I’m sure you’ll be able to find a wikipedia article or something like that, which could explain it to you. If you weren’t working so hard all the time, you might have time to read a book about basic political theory. Maybe on your next vacation?

        But you are absolutely right, lots of people work and we don’t call them all “working class.” Confusing, right? Yeah, I know.

      • Kim Workman

        John, why don’t you prove to the rest of us that you deserve to be here? Precisely what do you do that makes you feel so freaking important and stokes your giant ego?

        • John

          Kim, I don’t have to justify being here because I am not demanding that someone house me for cheap, nor demand that I have a lifetime lease, nor demanding that the government “do something”.

          I deal with the real world and not some make-believe fantasy world where the nanny state always bails me out.

    • Bob

      Oakland is quite nice. There is no need to bash Oakland along with the rest of us.

    • Lu

      Thank you, landline. So many of the comments here show no understanding of the real life situation at all.

      For a start the number of evictions is not the same as the number of people evicted and, as the article mentions, this number does not include the buyouts either. Those of us living – and engaged with community – in this neighborhood are well aware of this.

      There are *hundreds* of people being displaced. Many of these are artists, musicians, community leaders, activists, writers. So these people *do* contribute something to the neighborhood and the city they live in. They have shaped this place, the rich culture of this neighborhood. And now they’re being told to f*ck off cos if they can’t afford it, they should just leave? Really?? I guess this is the same mentality as those who like to say “If you can’t speak the language, then get out of the country.” Some of us like the diversity here, but I suppose we should just f*ck off too?

      Many of those being displaced are also elderly and working class families, people for whom moving and finding affordable housing is extremely challenging. But pointing that out clearly won’t move the entitled cynics. What do *they* care about the elderly or the working class? Why should *they* been forced to subsidize “these people”?

      It is always disheartening to see how the privileged are so often blind to the social, political, and economic structures that benefit them. They feel entitled to be where they are. They speak of “personal responsibility” as though the position of those less fortunate stems from personal failure or laziness. They project their own sense of entitlement onto those who demand that the institutions are changed so they are more just and equitable for all. They wonder who “these people” are to feel entitled to affordable housing when there are developers from outside the city who could be making ridiculous profits.

      Oh, the bitter irony.

      • Persona Pensando

        Hi Lu, thanks for these great comments.

        ‘What people contribute’ is a rouse question!

        Its to deflect from asking, just how much does each San Fransciscan get from handing its shoreline over to anyone signing a privacy contract for public lands, or why taxpayers have to fund these so called ‘economic geniuses’ and not ask – gee, if we invested that $26m into the local economy and local producers and others what sort of economy do we stimulate vs handing a $26m taxbreak to a company that produces nothing and has set off $1500 a mo studios in the TL.

        So, they take cheap shots.

        I won’t dignify the question till a few of my own questions on ‘value’ are answered.

        • Lu

          Thanks to you too. Good to know that the cynics do not drown out the voices of the compassionate, that there are those who value culture and community over personal gain.

        • John

          No, PP, the voters are entitled to know what value you add when they are being asked to pay more taxes to fund programs that enable you to stay here.

          If you accept subsidies or handouts, then we are entitled to ask what we get back for that outlay?

      • John

        Lu, I will let you know when I think SF has too few artists, activists, writers etc.

        Certainly isn’t the case now – we arguably have way too many of them.

        • Lu

          Hahaha! Let’s elect John Arbiter of Culture in SF! You are hilarious, dude.

          • John

            The point was that I do not notice any shortage of artists in SF.

            Seems to me every other person I meet claims to be some kind of artist. How would you know when we have too many? Or don’t you think that is possible?

      • John

        Lu, buyouts are not a problem because they are voluntary. The tenant only leaves if he is willing to and if he feels he is being compensated adequately. (Not that I think a tenancy should ever be “sold” but that is the reality right now).

        You cannot make it illegal for two people to negotiate something, nor agree on something.

        And why would you ever want to?

        • Lu

          You obviously don’t know what’s being going on here and the kind of high-pressure tactics landlords have been using to reach these “voluntary” agreements. Tenants are leaving all the time without adequate compensation because of the threat that they will get nothing. But it’s clear you don’t really care; so long as you’ve got yours, everyone else can go to hell, right? Your position of privilege is just a result of your hard work and determination, right? Poor people are just irresponsible and deserve whatever the market forces bring about, right? You know, social scientists have done studies on how wealth and privilege make people think they are better than everyone else. While you’re learning what “working class” means, maybe you could educate yourself on the psychology of wealth too? http://distilledmagazine.com/wealthy-entitlement/

          • John

            Lu, again no tenant is forced to take a buyout offer. They only accept such an offer if they are happy with it.

            Where is your proof that LL’s threaten TT’s with anything. At worst, a LL may remind a TT that he can Ellis at any time, and then the TT will only get the minimum mandatory payout.

            With that education in place, some TT’s may take an offer to leave, but again only if he think it is a good deal

            Why do you seek to deprive tenants of a potential windfall?

    • 7 billion people do not live in San Francisco … what makes YOU so much more special, than all of them?

  7. landline

    No, I don’t have to justify anything to you.

    Congratulations on dragging the discussion down to the base level you enjoy with you continual references to “whiners” and “losers” and your baiting loaded questioning of anyone that doesn’t conform to your values or world view.

    • ThatGuy

      That’s not how you reply to comments.

      • landline

        Thanks for the tip, Mr. Perfect.

      • John

        I agree, ThatGuy, it’s most unfortunate that some people come here simply to try and bully or insult other contributors, rather than discuss the real issues.

        • landline

          He was referring to the format because I placed the comment in the wrong place. You are the epitome of a bully and insulter. As I predicted, your recent arrival to this website has moved the comment section towards the cesspool of the sfbg.com comments where you spend your time elicting flame wars.

  8. Pete

    How about a ballot initiative to get rid of the gangs. Oh, never mind, they’re Campos’ base.

    • Persona Pensando

      Grow up!

      The world is diverse the world is diverse the world is diverse the world is diverse.

      You’ll be ok.

      Now, why do we have to let out of state developers steal our tax dollars again?

    • GentrifySF

      Exactly! Without them, he’s toast.

  9. InSF

    I can’t believe the hot air spewing from sup “Crapos”. I think he is so disingenuous, just saying whatever will make these entitled housing advocates smile.

    Regulating voluntary buyouts is something that would make Stalin proud. And now vacancy control? Why stop there? Let’s not allow tenants with low rents to leave their units. Ever. This town is getting crazier by the minute.

    • sfnative

      Yes, of course, Stalin = fair housing laws. How sill of us for not noticing.

    • Battery Powered.

      Are these type of potty jokes allowed on Mission Local? They make the poster look bad, but the whole comment section suffers.

    • Persona Pensando

      Really?

      Have you seen the absurdity of what SF landlords think they have a right to control of their tenants?

      And honestly, the craft of housing in SF was abandoned a long time ago – have you seen what passes for housing?

      $250,000 for eac box apartment – that’s what we pay developers to make ‘affordable housing’ boxes.

      Let’s take a look at how much developers make off those and they complain!

      Seriously, we have too many grown adults living in rooms like teenagers to let that stand!

      • InSF

        If housing here is so crappy, why do so many tech people want to move here? It’s called supply and demand. It’s worse in manhattan BTW.

        Look, I feel bad for those of low income that get forced out of the city, but why is that burden placed purely on private landlords? Why don’t ALL SF residents pay a special tax which will be used to subsidize these people. An SF version of section 8. Rent control puts that burden solely on property owners. Of course they are going to resist and some will resort to the Ellis Act, sans another viable alternative.

        • Ecomics101

          @InSF Rent Control lowers the supply of housing, and increases the rent. Landlords have been the major beneficiary when for the first 8 years of a tenancy, they are paid more than if the free market ruled Somewhere, about year 6 to 12, the situation flips for the individual tenant who has remained in the apartment.

          So yes, a person who has lived in an rent controlled apartment subsidizes the landlord for the first 6 to 12 years, and thereafter, the landlord subsidizes the tenant. Well knon economist published this stuff in the Journal of Economic literature at least ten years ago.

          • chicalista

            The landlord who has recently purchased his building, is forced to accept RC tenants when they purchase a building. The Original owner paid much less for the property, and over years, received low rents. BUT a NEW owner pays more for the building and is subsidizing the renters by 60%! My tenants own other property, (this does not disqualify them), use the unit for storage and in general, keep the unit dirty and filled to the ceiling with boxes. I only want to charge a reasonable rent so I can make much needed repairs and install a driveway. I am a little LL and probably make less per year than my low income renters. We cannot be the source of the entire subsidy for RC tenants! The city must bear the burden along with the renters to contribute to providing affordable housing! Currently the city has placed the responsibility and financial cost of providing affordable housing entirely on private homeowners and small LL . Most LL are not greedy corporations, we are struggling along with many homeowners trying to make the mortgage payment each month. Let;s try to discuss and provide workable solutions to the city so the CITY can provide protections for both LL and renters! Allow the city to place new regulations that will all;ow for higher density development in parts of the city that are available for development..

          • John

            chicalista, Yes, the sad fact is that many rental buildings are simply not viable as rentals once a building is sold.

            A rental building should yield about 8% to 10% net to be comparable with other forms of investment. But a building with established rent controlled tenants and deferred maintenance may yield not even half of that.

            To some extent that is priced in but the numbers really do not crunch for any owner who bought recently.

            And do not even crunch for a long-time owner unless he ignores his opportunity cost.

            So most rental buildings that get sold will be Ellis’ed unless turnover can be generated.

        • Persona Pensando

          Poor Planning.

          If so many people want to move here, why do we give away tax breaks like candy to ‘entice’ bizes to come? Can’t have it both ways.

          Reading a little history on how this new ‘tech campus idea developed, all the companies were in Silicon Valley, why’d they leave?

          This isn’t ‘low income’ vs ‘high income’ this is ‘awake voters/taxpayers’ or ‘asleep voters/taxpayers’.

          And by the by, its rather disingenuous to give such props for an activist economy that has produced such inequity and all gains in the last ten years of income to the 1% and a marketplace that can not create housing for all income strata.

          A City has a responsibility to create an economic ecosystem if the market can not.

          I’ve heard City historical organization members boost how this will be a city of millionaires, Millionaires! Take the richest city on the planet. Is it a city of only millionaires? Of course not!

          Economy is an ecosystem and our economy for the last 10 years has only produced income gains for the 1%.

          Poor and low and middle income people aren’t going to accept responsibility for ‘building that!’

  10. From John: “Landline, can you describe to us what you contribute to the city and our taxbase that would convince me that it’s a vital public policy imperative that can afford to stay here?”

    Why does anyone have to articulate what they “contribute” to the city? If you do ask that question, perhaps you should start by explaining what exactly you “contribute”.

    “These” individuals and families you are interrogating, provide much more to this city than you would ever imagine. Who are your chefs? Who are your bus drivers? who are your waiters? Who are your baby-sitters? Who are your cab drivers? Who teaches your children? “These” people are what make up the majority of San Francisco. “These” people are the reason others move to this city. “These” people create the culture and history that floods this city. So, next time you ask someone what they contribute — think about who sustains the San Francisco lifestyle for the middle- and upper- class.

    Please show some respect to “These” people.

    EL

    • Slapanignantprivilegedtransplant

      EXACTLY. The mere fact that these beliefs and as you put it, interrogations are being put out there (by human beings? People with souls?) is just plain TWISTED. To think that people actually truly believe these twisted ideas makes me sick. I am also shocked in a way because those mentalities are the complete antithesis of what San Francisco and the Bay are all about. Modern day colonialism at its ugliest. Instead of their missionaries, diseases, genocide and slavery its now their pocket books that has the ugly power to wipe out a whole cultural, diverse, soulful city of people. Worst of all, they think all this is CONTRIBUTING. I suppose, if your standard of contribution mean gentrification; a form of violence and ethnic cleansing, really. So is this enough whining for you?

      • You can just as easily spout just self serving fairy tales in Modesto…. Nothing special abut you and your ilk. YOUR MOTHER LIED, you are very ordinary.

      • John

        Why do you get to decide what “SF is all about”?

        • Lu

          John, if I might quote you: “I will let you know when I think SF has too few artists, activists, writers etc.”

          Really people, please don’t attempt to articulate what SF is all about because that’s for *John* to decide.

          • John

            No, Lu, I’m not claiming to want to determine who lives here. I am happy to leave that up to the natural flow of events, and not micro-manage quotas out of some misguided ideology.

    • Lu

      What he said.

    • John

      EL, if you get a government-mandated subsidy, or if the government tells me you can live in my home forever, then I get to ask what you contribute that makes your presence here worth all that cost and deprivation?

  11. bill

    hey greedy selfish, boring, uninspired breadhead SF homeowners enjoy your little real estate moment. San Frnacisco’s charm and vitality cringes and evaporates before you – you make it as bourgeois and ridiculous as yourselves!!

    • GentrifySF

      Yep, we’ll still be here while the rest of you leeches and whiners get evicted and shipped out to a place you can afford on your peppercorn salary. Now stop complaining and get back to mowing my grass, slave.

    • If it is so not to your taste any longer, why the hell have you not left town? I mean why stay in such a horrible place?

  12. notgoinganywhere

    And here we are at the same point in this ongoing discussion that has reached the national section of the latest Sunday NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/25/us/backlash-by-the-bay-tech-riches-alter-a-city.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0

    The city I grew up in, which has attracted gold rushers and dreamers for a better place since day one, is turning into a Dubai of wealth, riding on the 3rd bubble of prosperity (remember pets.com? Remember Zynga?) The very people who make this city interesting/cool/etc. are being priced out. For those here who say “deal with it that’s the market” I just know you’re jealous of my rent-controlled apartment that still takes 70% of my non-tech full time paycheck. My slumlord is raking in money from the new rentals paying more than double what we are, along with all the other properties they own. SF is turning into mostly white 25 bros and new families here to code, and the rest of us are pouring their drinks, taking care of their kids, and generally making the city run. We are not going anywhere. When this latest insane bubble pops, we will still be here, surviving and organizing stronger than ever, SF for La Raza, SF for the cabdrivers, the musicians and artists, and SF for the techies who do understand that it takes all kinds to make this city what it is. I’ve seen techies come and go, but I’ve seen too many friends, old school residents pushed out. Not me and mine.

    • Lu

      “When this latest insane bubble pops, we will still be here, surviving and organizing stronger than ever, SF for La Raza, SF for the cabdrivers, the musicians and artists, and SF for the techies who do understand that it takes all kinds to make this city what it is. ”

      YES!!

    • John

      Why do you assume that all economic growth is a bubble?

      If that were true, our economy would be no bigger or richer than it was 100 years ago.

      Your premise is false. Some growth spurts do indeed collapse but, overall, the economy grows continually and inevitably.

  13. John

    Just 71 evictions in 5 years? That’s barely over one a month.

    Crisis? What crisis? Normal turnover is hundreds of times that rate, and nobody is complaining about that.

    Let’s retain some perspective here, even if you do believe that a month-to-month tenancy somehow entitles you to a lifetime lease at a massively subsidized rent?

  14. GentrifySF

    I, for one, am glad that Ellis Act evictions are up. There are too many entitled people in this city who believe they should receive cheap rent forever from “mom & pop landlord”. There are too many people who don’t vote and don’t care about evictions/affordable housing until the bullseye is on their own back. There are too many homeless people and aggressive panhandlers ruining Mid-Market/Tenderloin/SOMA and using the sidewalks as open-air toilets and drug dens. Evict them all and gentrify SF for those who will appreciate it and make it a world-class city again. Low-income people that contribute nothing to this city don’t deserve to be here.

  15. BruceW

    I’m so sick of every article using 2010 as the base year. Does no one remember that NOTHING in real estate was happening in 2010? Of course evictions are up 170% since then. Contrast it with 2007 or 2000 and you get a VERY different picture of things.

    • John

      True, Bruce, it’s like gloating that the stock market has doubled in the last 5 years while omitting the fact that it halved in the years before that.

    • lol

      Indeed. Numbers can be used to say anything you like.

      Las Vegas Real Estate has gone up SEVENTY PERCENT since 2010.

      Of course it is still down FIFTY PERCENT since 2006.

  16. J.K.

    It’s time for a major revision of San Francisco’s affordable housing system. The current system has only produced extreme shortages and is not effectively directed toward those who truly need assistance.

    Unfortunately, I doubt our elected officials will do anything other than pander, because systematic change is certain to inflame one group or another. Is there a reform pathway that can be pursued through the courts?

    • John

      JK, nothing can really be done about affordable housing because it is so expensive that few people either can pay for it or want to.

      Building homes to rent or sell at a huge loss in an affluent town is never going to work. The simple fact is that SF will always be expensive, and not everyone who is here, should be here, nor can be here forever.

  17. lol

    We are in a new Gold Rush and this one is almost as strong as the first one. People will become rich, and others will have to adapt.

    John Sutter did protest a lot when gold was found on his property. He first tried to cordon off his property but was quickly overwhelmed by the early 49ers. He called up the CA military, and the soldiers who came there defected to prospect for gold.

    There is no stopping a strong and deep movement.

    Tech money is here. This is the New Gold Rush. It’s not going away. It has been changing the city and it will keep changing it in the next decades.

  18. lol

    Just 6 months ago they voted a freeze on TIC-to-Condo conversions.

    Now they are surprised landlords have no more incentive to play nice.

    • John

      Yes, this latest increase in Ellis eviction is directly attributable to the SFTU “victory” on condo conversions.

    • Mark

      Also 5 and 6 unit buildings now can never be condo converted. Owners will just Ellis long term tenants because the possibility of future conversion has been eliminated. This is exactly what happened to Rene Yanez and family.

      • John

        True, Mark, I’m really baffled why the tenants’ advocates didn’t anticipate this inevitability.

        Or perhaps they were so wrapped up in their hatred of condos, and their immunity from rent control, that they did not think through their strategy.

        Every year about 5,000 units in SF vanish from rent control, and no new ones replace them. It’s demise is an inevitability.

  19. I don’t understand the tenant who fight for the house that is not theirs. If you want to fight, just the get the credit and pay the mortgage every month despite of paying your landlord. The mortgage price won’t be raised and the house or the flat will be just YOUR OWN. If you were a landlord and see that the prices rise every year, sure that you would be able not to change the price for the flat and leave the things as they were…I don’t think so, nobody works for someone’s wellbeing, only for his and his family. Of course we are not talking now about the cases when the landlords act very strict without even saying nothing to you and then organize an eviction.

  20. bhagavan

    What is not mentioned is the Landlord who worked and scrimped and saved and maintained the building him or herself. Starting with nothing he bought a small building for retirement income, but low and behold the building is worth two or three million and he is barely breaking even and he is too old to climb those ladders and get under those sinks. He sells it to an investor who Ellises the building, evicts all the tenants, renovates the building and sells individual apartment. The Landlord can passively invest his money for a good income and can retire in peace.

    • John

      So true, bhagavan, one effect of rent control is that it drives out the “good” landlords who play by the rules and then get punished for it. The expression I hear most from SF landlords is “no good deed goes unpunished”.

      That creates a vacuum that sucks in the “bad” landlord. Why? Because these expensive low-rent buildings are not viable to a buyer unless he is willing to get tough and vacate the building, one way or the other. And there are ways apart from Ellis.

      Rent control always contained the seeds of its own demise.

  21. Peter Skouras

    Hello Missionlocal.org. It is amazing what landlords think they can do…”above the law” let alone being nasty individuals. Specifically, my Mother and Brother and myself have been living in a 2 bedroom in Los Angeles since 1997 with my brother joining the Lease in 2008. I remained in the apartment until today. Well, Mom passed last Month as my brother remains on the Lease…but get this…after we paid the rent for November, the Manager runs a credit check on me (after 15+ years) and gives ME a new lease. What about my brother and HIS Lease? So now we have “2” Leases…one current and one “unsigned!” What they want to do is “separate” 2 brothers who are incredibly “tight” and “loving.” We are in our 40’s, can afford 1000.00 a month. Our rent is due on the 1st but of course will submit on Monday. My question is as was my brother added and amended to my Mother’s lease, shouldn’t I also be succeeding my Mother on the original lease? They think I am going to sign the new lease with just “my name” on it…they are mistaken. Any feed back would be appreciated.

  22. Peter Skouras

    Sorry…also forgot to mention where did the “Eviction” subject come from! Just “gossip” I suppose…but can they? They ran my credit, offered a “new lease” which I do not want. Am I in positive position with my brother who has a lease? Thank you for any feedback.

    • bhagavan

      Peter, perhaps you could ask them for one Lease that would have both of you on it. Except for rent control a Landlord usually prefers to have all parties residing at the Premises on the Lease. They all then 100% responsible for the rent and Lease.

      • John

        Yes, generally the LL wants all TT’s on the lease so they are jointly and severally responsible.

        However, in SF and because of rent control and the problem of endlessly rotating roommates, I have known some LL’s who have a separate lease for each tenant. Effectively the LL is renting out rooms separately.

        The big advantage of that is that every time a roommate moves out, the rent for that room can go up.

        It also gives the LL more control over who moves in, because it is the LL who chooses each new TT, and not the other roommates. And that in turn can drive out the other tenants.

        I know one LL who did that and moved his student son in. That immediately gave the LL the right to “visit” whenever he wanted, The other TT’s didn’t stick around much after that.

        Result.

  23. Dan

    I agree with those landlords who are sick and tired of being responsible for the well being of their tenants. After my tenants tried to extort money out of me with lies they brought to the Rent Board and lost their criminal endeavor, they finally moved out and I never put the large apartment back on the market (it’s beautiful and sits empty for my friends and family to enjoy when they visit SF). Shame on those of you who think we landlords owe you something and should be responsible for subsidizing your lives. If you don’t take responsibility for your own livelihood and well being, you are going to continue living as an entitled unhappy victim the rest of your lives. San Francisco owes me nothing, owes you nothing. We all have to take responsibility for ourselves and give back when we can. I’ve worked very hard to find a way to become financially secure for myself and my family. I will never put my apartment back on the rental market again and understand why many landlords are doing the same. For those of you who cannot afford to live in SF, get clear with your reality, do some research and find a town/city that you can afford and be content in and take responsibility for yourselves. You will be a much happier person by shedding that dark “victim” cloud. That is just not a fun way to live and life’s too short to keep fighting for self entitlement that is not deserving.

    • John

      Well said, Dan, Your experiences are just one of the 35,000 reasons why 35,000 rental units in SF are deliberately kept vacant.

      And why countless more get converted to short-term lets, TIC’s and condos.

      Probably the only thing that could reduce rents in SF is those units coming back on stream. But of course that will take the repeal of rent control. Until and unless that happens, SF tenants will continue to get screwed over by either evictions, high rents and lack of supply.

    • sfreality

      Well said

  24. Amazing design! What’s the name of it?

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