Editor’s note: This is a regular series of conversations with District 9 Supervisor David Campos addressing issues and events in the Mission. If you have questions for Campos, please send an email to missionlocal@gmail.com.

Mission Local: Realtors are suggesting that the expedited condo conversion proposal — specifically the moratorium on the lottery for condo conversions — approved this past summer has now made “tenants in common” as valuable as condos and that is pushing owners of multi-unit buildings to use the Ellis Act to evict tenants in the building and then sell it. Can you share your thoughts on that?

David Campos: It’s something that we have heard and it’s something that I certainly have questions about. The report that we commissioned on the displacement didn’t really get into why the displacement is happening. And issues around [tenants in common] for some people are part of the reason. And so I think it’s something that should be explored, I just don’t know enough to know why all of this is happening. I think it’s connected to a lot of different things.

ML: The city seems to have incredible delays in putting up new housing — the audit on affordable housing published in 2012 shows the city way behind. The Association of Bay Area Governments asked the city to create 5,639 units for moderate-income households (earning between 80 and 120 percent of the average median income), and the city created just 725. From 2007 to 2010, the Association of Bay Area Governments mandated that San Francisco develop 7,400 affordable housing units, but the city built only 4,500. What has changed to expedite affordable housing and would you support getting rid of the developer’s option to pay a fee or to build affordable housing elsewhere? This would mean that affordable housing — at least some — would be created in any new building with more than 10 units.

DC: I think that as a general rule, we should prioritize building affordable housing on site and not paying an in-lieu fee. I think that building the housing on site for every project is the priority — should be the priority. Legally, it’s not clear if we can do that — if we can just require it. There are legal issues around that. But I think that as a matter of policy, we should ask that in every project, that the affordable housing is included on-site where the project is being built. And I agree that we’re not meeting our objectives under [the Association of Bay Area Governments]. And I think that we need to create not just more housing, but more housing that’s affordable for middle-income and low-income folks.

ML: What’s going on with the liquor license moratorium — where does it stand?

DC: There was a special-use district that was modified, that instituted some changes to the moratorium. The changes include allowing licenses to transfer from within the district, and it kept a lot of the moratorium in place, but it allows at least for licenses to be transferred from within the geographic area of the district. It also makes it easier for these businesses to become more ADA-compliant and to expand if they want to. So there were some modifications that were passed.

ML: In the situation with the eviction of René Yañez, have you stepped in to help him find a new home?

DC: We have worked with him, we have tried to work with the San Francisco Apartment Association to see if they can — they represent a lot of these landlords — to see if they can help find a place for him. So we have tried to do what we can. Nothing so far that I know has materialized. And that’s the challenge that we have — there isn’t a lot of affordable housing that’s available for these folks. And that’s one of the reasons why we are proposing to increase relocation costs when someone is evicted through the Ellis Act because right now, the relocation that’s paid is really not sufficient to allow that person to find something that’s affordable in the city.

ML: And on that same topic, how do you choose who you help in terms of evictions?

DC: Anyone who seeks help, anyone that we hear about, we try to help. And that includes not only residents, but also businesses. So you know, we try to help as much as we can. And we get calls not only from within the district but lately a lot of calls from outside the district. And we try to connect people with different folks who might be helpful.

ML: Can you talk about the legislation you are planning on introducing to combat Ellis Act evictions?

DC: We have a two-prong strategy. We have a strategy in Sacramento where we’re trying to work with Assemblymember Ammiano — and now we know that the mayor is also interested in working — in allowing jurisdictions like San Francisco to have their own modifications through the Ellis Act so that they can address issues that are happening in their own jurisdiction. So that’s one strategy.

And then the second prong is the local strategy, where we are trying to see what we can do locally. And at the local level, we have three main proposals. The first proposal, we introduced legislation to protect tenants from harassment. Right now, if there is an allegation of harassment against the tenant, the only option that the tenant has is to file litigation — to file a legal case against the landlord. And what we have done is introduce this legislation that creates a course of action so that they can bring the issue to the rent board.

The second piece of legislation is legislation that would increase the relocation cost for people who face Ellis Act evictions. And the idea is to make sure that if someone is evicted through the Ellis Act that they have enough money to be able to find something in San Francisco.

And then the third piece of legislation at the local level is to regulate buyouts because what we know is that for every Ellis Act eviction that is recorded, we know that there are probably two to three [more] reported to the city. That’s where the landlord and the tenant have an informal agreement where the tenant moves out, and there is no regulation of buyouts right now. And so I believe that in order to deal with the displacement, that it’s not enough to simply focus on the Ellis Act evictions, that we also have to focus on the buyouts.

ML: Can you describe the city’s long-term plan to deal with its LGBT homeless population? Is this a high priority for the city right now?

DC: It’s a high priority for me, and I do think it’s a priority for the city. We’re doing a number of things. One of the things that we heard from the LGBT homeless community is that they don’t feel safe in the shelter system. So we have been working to open a LGBT-friendly homeless shelter. We’re trying to increase also the cultural competency of staff at the existing shelters so that they know how to interact with the LGBT community and make sure that LGBT homeless people feel safe.

We’re also trying to increase the number of shelter beds that are available because we know that the homeless population is growing and that we don’t have enough beds. But giving them housing is just part of the solution — there have to be services that come with that, including substance abuse services [and] mental health — so we have to increase the availability of those programs.

ML: Why don’t you update your newsletter more frequently?

DC: You know, we try to do it as frequently as we can. It’s been really busy and crazy with everything that’s been happening in the office and so the relocation/affordability crisis has taken up a lot of time, but we try to do it every month.

ML: Last question — with Thanksgiving around the corner, pumpkin or apple pie?

DC: Pumpkin.

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Lynne Shallcross was stressed and tired after walking three miles without finding an open community clinic. “Is this what it's like for Mission residents who work full-time?” she wondered. Having walked in their shoes, she feels compelled to write about accessible healthcare in the Mission.

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  1. One would think living a life of luxury and security from rental income would satisfy a person. And, thankfully, it usually does. But some people are not normal: they are addicted to money, OTHER PEOPLE’S money. While their tenants go to work every day in order to fork over most of the paycheck every month, they sit around hating and scheming.

    Greed is an irrational sickness. The greedy have empty souls which are NEVER satisfied… Why settle for $2k/month rent for
    that studio? Why not demand $3K… or $4K? Hell, it could be $10K and they would still be stuffing the comment sections –
    whining about rent control socialism, accusing people of envy, and desparately trying to rationalize thier parasitic existences.


    Greedy real estate types care nothing of the subtleties of life and community. Music, literature, visual arts and family connections are just obstacles to them making more money. They, and their Happyface Surveillance Corporation enablers are
    destroyers – fundamentally anti-life.

    1. The problem with market distortions are well known enough. They induce all kinds of weird behavior. not just on the part of landlords who scheme to get rid of under-paying tenants. But also by tenants who cling tenaciously to homes.

      The whole situation becomes antagonistic and confrontational. And all because a class of people do not want to pay full price for something.

      There will be no comments pointing out problems like that as soon as distortionary and confiscatory housing policies have been repealed and housing is right-priced in this city.

  2. A few highlights in his answers:

    “And so I think it’s something that should be explored, I just don’t know enough to know why all of this is happening. I think it’s connected to a lot of different things.”

    “I think that building the housing on site for every project is the priority — should be the priority. Legally, it’s not clear if we can do that — if we can just require it.”

    “So we have tried to do what we can. Nothing so far that I know has materialized.”

    This guys is a joker, a mouth piece. Where’s the meat, Campos?

    Does his fanbase not realize he’s a pure politician?!

  3. DC”I think that we need to create not just more housing, but more housing that’s affordable for middle-income and low-income folks.”
    Really? On Nov 5, David Campos led a block of Supervisors in voting against on-site affordable housing at 1050 Valencia St (the old KFC building.) This was one of the rare, urban infill sites, where a developer has actually committed to providing on-site below market rate units. And he opposed it why? Because the construction noise would bother The Marsh theater, he says. So jobs, a 10 times increase in tax revenue and housing-both market and BMRs-put on hold because a business on the Valencia St that charges you $20 to hear Will Durst rant on about his deviated septum, won’t spring for soundproofing. But The Marsh was quick to gloom on La Raza’s efforts to stop evictions, even though owner Stephanie Weisman holds millions of dollars in inequity in The Marsh building, cannily parleyed from taxpayer subsidized grants. There is not one Latino on The Marsh board, or on its production or administrative staffs. Adding insult to injury, Weisman has testified repeatedly that she “brought culture to the Mission.” Campos turned his back on us. We need jobs and housing, not grey ponytails feeding us their lame Dora the Explorer productions. If you want theater, support our local high schools – the acting’s better anyway! There’s a word for guys like Campos…Tranza!

    1. Excellent analysis, Jose, and entertaining too.

      Bravo. Better than a night out at the endlessly tedious and self-absorbed Marsh theater.

    2. Stupidvisor Crapos is a pandering hypocrite. His transparency is obvious even to the blind. The naïveté of those that elected him are astounding. He’s right up there with Chris Daly (who left SF, and rents out his non rent controlled condo btw) and Matt Gonzo.

      How do people elect these clowns?

          1. He’s running to replace his do-nothing daddy Ammiano in Assembly District 17. People, someone has to man up here and run against the machine.

          2. Chui is running in the same race and, since Chui is more moderate, I cannot imagine that Campos has any chance at all.

  4. I support David Campos, Mayor Lee, Tom Ammiano, and others in trying to exempt San Francisco from the Ellis Act. It’s not surprising to find property owners in support of the act commenting here, since they are the ones who benefit from it. Tenants who wish to remain in San Francisco are very unlikely to support their evictions under the Ellis Act, since any replacement housing will now come at a much higher cost that the payouts that the Ellis Act provides. This is not brain science… stop the Ellis Act evictions now!

    1. The whole point of the Ellis Act is that cities cannot stop Ellis evictions.

      To change that, you must change state law, remembering that 2/3 of Californians are homeowners and would like to think that one da they might want to rent their home and know that the can get it back if they need it.

      1. The legislators are seeking a change to the Ellis Act to permit cities like San Francisco to have an exemption from it.

        By the way, since the banks engineered the global economic collapse that caused millions of homes to go into foreclosure and turned millions of families out onto the street, the home ownership rate in California has declined considerably. It was briefly over 60% in 2007, but by 2012 was back down to 54.5% (see http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CAHOWN ) and perhaps even lower now..

        The home ownership rate in San Francisco is more like 37.1% (2007-2011, see http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/06075.html ) and perhaps even lower now.

        So, San Francisco has a substantially lower homeowner rate than California does, thus the pressure for a change to the Ellis Act in the city where housing of all kinds is the most expensive in the U.S. (for example, see http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/new-numbers-show-san-francisco-has-nations-highest-rents/Content?oid=2626465 )

        I’m perhaps a rare breed, a homeowner in San Francisco who supports getting rid of the Ellis Act and strengthening rental protections. I’d like to live in a city with economic diversity so that interesting people who generate our unique and diverse culture can continue to live here.

        Otherwise, I might as well move to somewhere else in the strip mall nation overpowered by corporate greed.

        1. LOL, Stardust, the Ellis Act only exists for cities like SF. So what you are saying is that you want to carve out exceptions to Ellis for the very same cities that the Ellis Act is designed to help! Priceless.

          But of course if you really want to see expanded home ownership in Sf then you should support Ellis because those evictions create affordable TIC home ownership opportunities, to allow tenants to escape their tenuous living circumstances.

          Finally, i do not accept your premise that having a lot of renters trapped in crappy apartments helps make SF more diverse at all.

        2. Actually, “stardust” is an accidental genius! Eliminating the Ellis act and strengthening rent control will greatly increase the value of her home in SF. Furthermore, single family homes are not under RC, so if she chooses to rent out in the future, she will be all set. And the cherry on top, she gets to flex her liberal policy muscles/feel good about herself, while benefiting from the consequences. Like I said, accidental genius.

        3. This is infuriating. There’s nothing “rare” about you; the combination of strict rent controls and the difficulty in building new apartments in SF creates a goldmine for property owners like you, as no one can find a new place to live in SF without fighting and fighting.

          The housing shortage here benefits you, and the policies you advocate fuel it.

  5. I just moved to Bernal Heights and lately there are alot of cars, trucks and school bus park sleeping at Bernal Heights St can we this ban

  6. Agree with John. Nothing wrong with the Ellis Act. It’s not broken; no need to fix it or for that matter put restrictions on it. Property owners should have a right to move into, sell their property. It is a risk you take when you are a renter, that eventually you will have to move.

    More important, what is Campos doing about the violent gangs still in District 9? It has gotten very old to have to deal with daily crime, filth.

    1. Thanks, Pamela. The irony here is that the Ellis Act only exists because a few CA cities tried to interfere and over-regulate their rental housing market.

      People like Campos never learn. They constantly meddle and tinker but all that happens is that it makes things worse.

  7. Campos isn’t doing anything: just posturing and repeating empty words to keep his “fan base” (undocumented Latinos and Mission gang members) placated. Nothing he or any other supervisor says will stop the Ellis Act evictions or keep rents from going up. Not on Mayor Lee’s watch! This is what it comes down to: most of the undocumented Latinos in the Mission have been taking advantage of cheap rent for too long and contribute nothing to the neighborhood. It’s time for them to pay up or go back to their home state/country and let the Mission evolve.

    1. Setting aside the hatefulness of your flurry of comments, I would like to remind you that undocumented residents do not have the right to vote in elections, undermining your simplistic political analysis.

      1. The voter registration process does not accurately capture citizenship or right to vote. I know aliens who have been on the voter register.

        1. More relevantly, Campos ran unopposed. Maybe next election the Mission will get a candidate who actually cares about using more than just a political stepping stone to another position and who will actually try to do something about the problems of the neighborhood instead of pretending they don’t exist.

        2. And your proof of voter fraud in the Mission is what exactly? What planet did the alien voters come from?

          1. I’m not claiming to be able to prove anything, and do not have to. I simply said I know some aliens who are on the voting register.

            The left often throws around unfounded allegations of voter fraud when they lose an election. The other side can’t as well?

      2. Are you mad because simplistic political and economic analysis is YOUR specialty? We all know your agenda ‘landline’, it’s to keep the Mission smelling like urine.

  8. I’d like to know more about the liquor license transfer laws. Can a corner store sell its license to a new bar under the new provisions?

  9. Campos is wrong about (at least) two things there.

    1) The suspension of normal condo conversions that happened this past summer had a very unfortunate effect, which he should understand but clearly does not.

    The main thing that was previously deterring Ellis evictions was that an Ellis’ed building can never go condo. But if owners cannot go condo now anyway (it’s effectively off the table for 10 to 15 years) then owners might as well Ellis now rather than wait and hope.

    And with less condos to buy, TIC’s have to increase to soak up the demand. Meanwhile fractional loans are taking some of the risk out of TICs anyway. And of course NYC has had co-ops – a form of TIC – since forever.

    2) Campos talks about “regulating buyouts” but that is a non-starter. A government cannot really regulate what is a purely private negotiation and agreement between two private parties.

    If a tenant is free to leave with 30 days notice, then clearly he is free to accept a cash payment in association that decision.

    Daly tried that trick a decade or more ago, and the courts bounced the whole thing.

    For many tenants, a payout represents more money than they have ever had in their lives, and the possibility of a fresh start somewhere where they might actually be able to afford housing on a more permanent and less subsidized basis.

    The two tenants I bought out were thrilled – does Campos want to take that one-time opportunity away from them?

    1. “A government cannot really regulate what is a purely private negotiation and agreement between two private parties.”

      Of course it can, once it makes it the law.

      “For many tenants, a payout represents more money than they have ever had in their lives”

      A few grand? How much did you pay your tenants to leave that thrilled them so? Enough to relocate in San Francisco?

      1. Its all relative, bud. Maybe they were A-OK finding a much newer place to live outside the city with less pressure of getting Ellis’ed again.

        Does everyone realize that there’s life outside the SF city limits?!

        1. Agreed, ThatGuy, the so-called “housing problem” goes away when you stop thinking in terms of only SF and consider the real city to be the Bay Area.

          It’s a really artificial situation where our urban conurbation is divided into nine counties and dozens of cities.

      2. Russo, I gave one guy 5K and another guy 10K – the larger sum reflecting the fact that he had been there longer.

        I didn’t ask them what they wanted to do with the money but i know that one of them moved to another State so I guess I helped him do that. Or maybe he was going anyway and I paid him for nothing as he would have quit anyway. No matter.

        Buyouts are the obvious remedy to the dysfunctional and antagonistic relationships that often occur between LL and TT under rent control. I still do not see how the city can regulate buyouts when they are informal, voluntary agreements between two individuals.