In a more pensive mood yesterday afternoon (compounded by a migraine), I walked on the streets between Mission and Valencia, places between the lines where tensions seem to cancel themselves out, producing a calm before the storm effect. I was enjoying the tree-lined sunny sidewalks as I walked towards the higher numbered streets, but then I stopped suddenly.
It was 19th and Lexington, my intuition told me without looking at the street signs, and it was verified by the huge, three-story Victorian building looming overhead, right across the street from The Lex. In May of this year, a handful of people stood on the corner in front of that building with a lawyer from the Tenderloin Housing Clinic and representatives of the Tenants Union.
There was a 70-year-old woman who swept the streets every morning for decades and several other long-time tenants with families, all rent-control residents about to be evicted so the new owner could turn the place into a Tenancy in Common. The owner had been able to buy the building by getting a loan from a bank that encouraged him to evict to make a profit off it as a TIC. At that time, I wrote this article.
Half a year later, the huge building sits empty, parts of it boarded up. I wonder where the long-time Mission locals are today. Daly City? Oakland? Richmond?
This Examiner article says the city will begin enforcing an anti-vacancy law signed by the mayor in August of this year. With 500 abandoned or vacant buildings citywide, this month the Department of Building Inspection sent out notices to 200 deemed blighted, and owners are expected to register their building as vacant and pay a $765 annual fee. It’s supposed to encourage owners to bring their building into active use. I’m all for active use, but rather than charge a little fee after the fact, why not deal with the problem before it happens, like tackling laws that allow buildings to go vacant after evicting families and old people?
While many people can’t afford to live in the city, San Francisco’s commercial properties, including the Bank of America Center, the Marriott Marquis, and the Westin St. Francis want tax relief. This article says they could lose the city $115.78 million in property taxes.
Despite the slump, the city plans to move forward on changing its skyline with skyscrapers taller than the Transamerica pyramid, so tall that it could cast shadows on the city’s sunlight ordinance.
A short video published on Tax Refund Geek shows employees driving a van around and giving free tax service at Valencia Gardens. Seems like a cool service, but why am I suspicious? “The Mobile Tax Van is made possible through One Economy’s Partnership with the United Way and Wal-Mart.” Hmmm, any thoughts?
Mission Loc@l’s Anrica Deb writes about how the redevelopment explosion at Mission Bay brought an estimated 300 children, mostly less than 5 years old, to the new neighborhood, and parents and community are pushing to open a new school with a heavy emphasis on science to the biotech-filled area.
Over in the Mission, man of the hour Mark Sanchez surfaces in the media yet again as the principal that has turned around one of the lowest performing schools in the state, Horace Mann Middle School. In this interview, he reveals some of his techniques.
Meanwhile, at City College, Mission Loc@l’s Rosa Ramirez reports, the city’s financial crisis has caused hiring freezes, salary freezes, cancellations of hundreds of classes, and the bump—a process of higher-ranking civil service employees displacing others. Ramirez lets you know that it’s no dance.
On that note, I’m signing out. Be safe and stay warm.