Ellis Act Eviction Stopped

Photo by Brant Ward, The Chronicle

Randy Shaw at Beyond Chron writes about the successful campaign to stop the eviction of elderly Latino residents who live in two units on Lucky Street.

Further demonstrating the importance of vigorously litigating Ellis eviction cases, 87-year old Roberto Edmundo Alfaro 87, wife Ana Maria, and son Roberto Eligio Alfaro will be remaining in their Lucky Street home where they have lived since 1987. READ MORE.

Filed under: Mobile, Today's Mission

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  1. John

    The only realistic defense against an Ellis Act is a technical issue with the paperwork, which is essentially what happened here.

    Even the retaliation defense which was discussed in the article is moot as that is not a valid defense to an Ellis.

    This sounds like a do-it-yourself Ellis which backfired on technicalities. It’s important to use a lawyer who does these all the time so that such nuisance defense strategies cannot prevail.

    If it was just a matter of a couple aged 87 and 85, I think many owners would just let things slide, expecting that the tenants would not be around forever.

    But a loophole in the rent ordinance allows any child who lives with the tenants to remain in place on the same rent when the tenants die. This has an important implication for property owners because households with two, or even three, generations living there don’t just give you a life sentence. The tenants’ children and grandchildren could still be there long after you pass on.

    Buildings with such a multi-generational “more than a life sentence” scenario are screaming to be Ellis’ed. This owner will be back to the Ellis table because there is no other viable option.

    • pete

      I didn’t know that the children could keep it at the same rent. Wow, that could go on forever…

      • Cindy De Losa

        It seems you don’tlike that.Remember when it was okay for us to buy the property for you!

        • John

          That’s a myth. You rent a home and that rent helps the owner to pay the rent on the money he borrowed.

          The idea is that the arrangement is good for everybody. But it should not be a life sentence for one party and not the other.

      • John

        Pete, it’s even worse than that because seniors are protected from any other form of no-fault eviction.

        So on the one hand, you cannot do something like an OMI. While on the other hand they may have children or grandchildren who can effectively “inherit” the deal.

        I was put off buying one particular building because of this generational issue. My lawyer advised against it unless I was willing to Ellis and, since the other units were viable, that was not on the table.

        Luckily, not many flats in SF have children and most children don’t want to live with their parents all their lives. The kids have no rights if they do not live there.

    • two beers

      Actually, there is a viable option: if you don’t want to own a rent-controlled property, DON’T BUY A RENT-CONTROLLED PROPERTY.

      • John

        Actually, there is a viable option: if you don’t want to be Ellised, DON’T RENT A RENT-CONTROLLED PROPERTY in a city where you know that Ellis evictions happen.

        • two beers

          That’s a false equivalency, a red herring, and a tu quoque.

          Another trifecta — you’re on fire!. .

          • John

            So landlords should know what they are getting into but tenants should not?

            On what possible, reasonable basis would you advocate such a double standard?

            You knew the risks when you decided to rent here.

          • poor.ass.millionaire

            How the hell is that a false equivalency? Do explain.

          • two beers

            Many people lived in their unit before the Ellis Act. DO YOU THINK RENTERS HAVE A TIME MACHINE, YOU FREAKING CLOWN?

          • John

            And many owners owned their rental building before rent control (1979) or when it was extended to small buildings (1994).

            So the same logic cuts both ways.

          • two beers

            Rent controlled was enacted to mitigate well-documented landlord abuse.

          • John

            And Ellis was enacted to prevent such rent control going too far and encroaching on important constitutional rights.

            Bad behavior by either party leads to a slapdown.

      • poor.ass.millionaire

        Hey, I have the RIGHT to buy a rent controlled property and Ellis act it. Get it through your fucking skull!

        And John is 100% accurate- he said most owners would not go after people in their 80’s, BUT IF they are trying to pass the apartment off to their children or grandchildren, old or not they are clearly trying to screw over the landlord. What the fuck do these dimwits think? Yeah, let’s keep this unit “in the family for the next 400 years! So they can pay 10% of true market value in the future? Screw that. Ellis those assholes.

        • two beers

          Of course you have the right to do that. we live in a state for, of, and by landlords. You guys make the laws and run the courts (mostly).

          John is presenting Ellis has the only option for poor, beleaguered, blindsided lanldord abused by the awful satan badness of rent control. If you don’t want to deal with rent-control , don’t buy a freaking rent-controlled building.

          • John

            And if you never want to be Ellis’ed, do not rent a freaking home in a city with rent control.

          • two beers

            Hey, Dr Science, how about building a time machine for the renters who lived in their units before the spoiled landlords who run California’s government enacted Ellis.


            GO TO YOUR ROOM, CHILD.

          • John

            Ellis has been around since 1985.

            Any tenant who has been renting the same home since before then is in the same position as a property owner in 1979 who got retrospectively put under rent control.

            Any tenant who rented after 1985 knew the risks.

          • pete

            If landlords made the rules we wouldn’t have rent control and all of the tenant protections. This really is a tenants-rigths city.

          • two beers

            Petey, Landlords run the state government and courts. There are only a few cities godless enough to have the mild rent control we have.

            You want to see real rent control? Go to Europe, pal. You spoiled and coddled brats wouldn’t survive a day in a society where sociopathic landlords aren’t glorified and allowed to run amok.

          • pete

            I’m not a landlord, two beersy. But I’ve lived many places and SF has more tenant protections than anywhere in the states. Count your lucky stars and quit whining.

          • two beers

            hey, petey, it’s the landlords who are whining about the “onerous burden” of owning rent-controlled properties, not me.

            Even with RC, the laws overwhelmingly favor LLs.

            I think its time to talk about strengthening the weak tea RC laws. Let’s talk about expanding them past 1979. Let’s talk about expanding them into non-residential-zoned units. Let’s talk about about expanding them into single-unit dwellings. Let’s talk about vacancy control. Let’s talk about commercial rent control.

            I know, I know: some of those things aren’t legal in CA. Exactly. This is an overwhelmingly pro-landlord state, where the landlords make the laws. But Llaws can be changed, as can the make-up of courts. Yes. it’s an uphill battle for tenants, workers, and families, but as LLs continue whining about the very mild rent control they endure now, sentiment will begin to turn against the ungrateful, spoiled, and coddled Land Pirates who’ve been given a silver spoon and complain that it isn’t gold.

            “keep whinin’,ya bastids!”

          • John

            You can pass all of that and the result would be the same. More and more property owners would simply refuse to rent out their properties, and would find 101 ways of avoiding being in the business.

            In fact, that is the story of the last 35 years i.e. ever stricter rent control and ever higher rents and lower vacancies as investors decide that the returns are better elsewhere and the risks lower.

            In the end, you cannot force anyone to rent a home to you. All you will achieve is making the so-called housing “crisis” worse.

          • pete

            No, the only ones whining are the anti gent types like yourself who demand life long subsidies to live in SF. All of the changes you would like to see, like vancancy control, would only make the problem worse.

          • marcos

            Right, people are going to pass up astronomical rents just to make a point about rent control.

          • John

            Rents for vacant units are at market, and so the same for both RC and non-RC units.

            The problem is more about motivation. If i own 2 RC units and 2 non-RC units, it makes more sense for me to rent out the non-RC units permanently and use the RC untis either for AirBnB or sell as TICs.

            So stricter rent control does make the problem worse because it reduces the motivation to be a LL.

            We’ve been seeing that for 35 years now.

          • marcos

            So sell your RC units into TICs and STFU.

          • John

            It doesn’t matter what I do. But the idea being discussed here was how making rent control much stronger would be helpful to tenants.

            My point is that it would have the opposite effect because it would further decrease the number of RC units made available for rent.

            The current system motivates owners to permanently rent out only non-RC units, and take the RC units out of commission.

            Tenant activists need to decide whether they want weaker RC covering a greater number of units, or stronger rent control covering an ever dwindling supply of the,.

          • marcos

            Of course it is not about you unless you want to move to Oakland or Amsterdam, no?

          • John

            We’re talking about policy in SF and how it erodes the supply of rental homes.

          • marcos

            There’s no evidence of erosion of the supply of rental homes.

          • John

            marcos, even the SFTU admits that RC units are gradually going away for a variety of reasons, of which Ellis is only one.

            And of course no new RC units are ever created.

            To the point where already less than 50% of SF homes fall under rent control, and that percentage will continue to decline.

            Your condo is a good example off a home that will never be rent controlled.

          • marcos

            You asserted that RC units were going away due to LL keeping them off of the market. Keep yer stories str8.

          • John

            Wrong, marcos, I said there were various reasons why the number of RC units declines every year.

            I would guess that the biggest component sof that is LL’s doing only short-term lets thru AirBnB etc. pr selling them as TICs. Neither require any approval from the city.

            But other reasons include merges of units, demolition of units, condo conversion, reverting to use by family or even just keeping it vacant rather than risk a lifer tenant.

            I’ve seen estimates that there are tens of thousands of RC units that are not rented out for one reason or another. That rarely happens with non-RC units like yours.

  2. two beers

    PAM- buying a rental is an optional investment, theoretically made by sophisticated people. These renters who are getting Ellilsed are typically unsophisticated, often uneducated, working people, poor people, immigrants, old folks, etc. THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO RENT WHAT THEY CAN AFFORD TO PAY.




    • two beers


    • John

      TwoBeers, shouting doesn’t make you right. It just makes you sound desperate and unconvincing.

      Shelter may be necessary but living in a desirable, affluent zip code in the most expensive city in the US is not.

      Did it ever occur to you that the reason Ellis was passed was because the voters of this State wanted to put prudent limits on the excesses of rent control as practiced in some CA cities?

      • two beers


        • John

          Resorting to either shouting or personal attacks is generally a sign you know you have lost the debate.

          Doing both at the same time removes any doubt.

          You want a double standard and I am calling you out on that.

      • two beers

        Most of the people getting Ellised lived here long before the Mission became a desirable, affluent zip code in the most expensive city in the US. They lived here precisely because it wasn’t a desirable, affluent zip code in the most expensive city in the US .

        But you know that. You are a naughty boy. NOW GO TO YOUR ROOM.

        If landlords don’t want to own rent-controlled property, DON’T BUY RENT-CONTROLLED PROPERTY.

        • John

          Ellis will be 30 years old next year. Unless you have rented the same place for 30 years or more, you knew the risk when you took the deal.

          • two beers

            That’s a red herring and has nothing to do with landlords who don’t want to own rent-controlled properties but who buy rent-controlled properties, and then complain about owning rent-controlled properties.

            If you don’t want to own rent-controlled property in the Godless People’s Satanic Stalinist Republic of San Francisco, DON’T BUY A RENT-CONTROLLED PROPERTY.in the Godless People’s Satanic Stalinist Republic of San Francisco.

            What about that don’t you understand?

            GO TO YOUR ROOM

          • John

            And if you do not wish to risk an Ellis, do not rent a rent-controlled place in San Francisco.

    • poor.ass.millionaire

      2B- look, I agree that the two are no equivalent from a humanitarian POV. And I think that most reasonable people, on both sides, could come up with REASONABLE measures that work for both sides. But that’s not what happens in SF. It becomes a blood sport for lawyers to maximize advantage for either side.

      Prop I in 94 hurt small landlords, and Gonzales’ measure to extend RC to other family members, inc. siblings was another major factor. On the LL side is the Ellis act. These are blunt instruments, that hurt people on both sides.

      I’m sure you would agree that it’s not fair for a couple to pass their low rent down to their children once they pass away. That could literally go for generations. It’s also not fair that well off people who happen to rent for many years get to keep their low rents. Means testing or increasing the rental cap, or allowing units to go off RC once they hit a certain dollar amount are all things that can be looked at to be more equitable. Tenants would still have protections, and they can be further safe guarded for those of lower incomes. But the present system is a poor solution that benefits some tenants and LL’s greatly, and screws others. Don’t you agree?

      • two beers

        Nope. Means testing is the camel’s nose under the tent, just like means testing for social security. Rightwing groups like AEI and Heritage support it, because once you start means testing, you can begin tearing it down from within.

        No go.

        • John

          2-Beers, a total unwillingness to compromise does not mark you out as someone who can successfully be involved in any solution here.

          If you cannot come up with some concessions to offer in return for, say, limiting Ellis, then you are not a good faith participant in any such debate.

          I can think of some concessions that LL’s can and perhaps should make, in return for removing the more egregious cases of tenant greed and selfishness.

        • poor.ass.millionaire

          Ok, how about increasing the rental cap, or allowing units to go off RC once they hit a certain dollar amount. Or offering that for 2-4 units. Or not allowing siblings to inherit unit at same rent once orig renters pass away?

          • John

            I think the onus now on tenant activists is to choose between two options:

            1) Make rent control as tough as they want, but accept that that will either lead to more Ellis evictions or more cases of property owners simply deciding to not re-rent whenever there is a vacancy. Either way the stock of rent-controlled units decreases every year.

            2) Agree to some relaxation of rent control in return for tighter restrictions on Ellis.

            In the end, tenants cannot be protected by endlessly blaming and attacking the very people who give them homes. Tenants have a vested interest in landlording being a profitable and viable enterprise.

            They are in danger of killing the goose that lays their golden eggs. Already many LL’s rely on the tax breaks and the appreciation to get returns that are comparable elsewhere.

          • two beers

            I think the onus is on Landlord Activists to encourage landlords who don’t want to own rent-controlled properties not to buy rent-controlled properties

          • John

            And you have been successful TwoBeers.

            That’s why we are seeing all these Ellis evictions.

            So, you win! Congratulations. What are you complaining about then?

  3. I predict an increase in residential fires…

    • two beers

      Wow. From the landlord’s mouth.

      I rest my case.

      • John

        What case are you resting? That you know rent control is so onerous that you think it is inevitable that some owners would rather destroy their own properties than continue being a landlord?

        What does that say about the policies that you advocate?

        • two beers

          Uh, “Rabid libertarian, self-important, anti-mild-rent-control, incompetent boobs who couldn’t survive in an economy which didn’t felate landlords are dangerous sociopaths and a menace to society.”

          That’s my case.

          • John

            I’m still not clear why would you seek to actively deter people from offering rental homes when you want more people to offer rental homes.

  4. pete

    I’m still a bit taken aback by the fact that you can pass down, like an inheritance, your rent controlled apartment. How is that legal? Do the kids half to be on the lease as well? What if they get mail there to establish residency but really don’t live there? Is there any time limit? Like PAM said, can it go on for generations?

    • John

      Pete, I’m not 100% certain about how this works but I was told quite explicitly by a lawyer that if the tenants have an adult child living with them, that he or she can “inherit” the same rent control deal. They do not have to be on the lease and, indeed, may not have been born when the lease was entered into.

      It’s not literally an inheritance and such an entitlement does not get awarded in probate. Rather the child becomes an “original tenant” as defined by section 6.14 of the rules and regulations of the Ordinance. Put another way, a LL cannot issue a 6.14 notice to an immediate family member and rely on it.

      I do not know that this has gone to court and been tested. Absent that it remains a risk. And I suspect it was a factor in the Alfaro case here because the son is probably around age 50 and can reasonably be expected to be around (given his evident good genes) for another 40 years.

      And of course he could have a child.

      There are opportunities for abuse, as you note.

  5. Kaliman

    The tipping point is getting close.
    There are still a few honest/long-term landords that are doing good with their rental business and comfortable with reasonable profits. They are becoming just a few.

    The rest are just trying to cash in on the real estate market driven by greed. Include the speculators and out of town investors looking for quick flip with Ellis Act evictions.

    The current condition will not last long since the ongoing illegal Ellis Act evictions will result in policy changes in Sacramento. And there will be ballot initiatives to further protect the fragile tenant population.

    Assume there will also be policy changes to TIC’s. The RE sector/speculators have taken their greed a bit too far.

    • poor.ass.millionaire

      Dream on, dip shit. (John will explain why.)

      • Kaliman

        Don’t have to dream. It’s getting real. Blame your greedy poor ass.

        John who?

        Sorry for the bad news.

        • John

          I understand why it’s important for you to believe that the cavalry is on its way to rescue you.

          But not why you find that credible given the complete dearth of evidence.

    • two beers

      It’s funny, Kaliman: these guys live in one of the most pro-landlord states in the most pro-landlord nation on earth, and they whine because a few cities are enlightened enough to enact very mild and limited forms of rent control to mitigate some of the effects of well-documented landlord abuse.

      Imagine these coddled and incompetent boobs in a country with real and strong rent and _vacancy_ control, such as in that well-known Stalinist nation, the Netherlands.

      These Randian Supermen can’t handle being landlords here; imagine John or poor.ass trying to pull their cr*p in Europe…..They’d be run out of town on a rail, and they’d come back here _begging_ for some good ok’ SF rent control.

      • John

        So why don’t you move to Holland then?

        I would never do business there.

        • marcos

          Yes, the Netherlands is too successful and prosperous for you, you’d feel inadequate in comparison, both jealous and envious.

          • John

            I’ve been to Amsterdam a number of times.

            It’s a cute town. I just wouldn’t want to run a business there.

          • marcos

            The Netherlands has had a longer more prosperous and sustainable run than the US has or will.

          • John

            Then I strongly suggest that you move there and leave America to those who actually believe in capitalism.

            Oh wait, didn’t you apply for a job in Holland and get rejected?

          • marcos

            You really cannot get through a thread without going ad hominem when you are proven wrong, can you?

          • John

            Hey, marocs, you cannot really expect to drone on about how some other nation is better than the US without someone asking you why you don’t just move there, do you?

            If I didn’t live in what I thought was the greatest nation on the planet, I wouldn’t just sit there and whine. I’d do something about it. And not give up because I slip at the first hurdle.

            Have you been learning Dutch?

          • marcos

            Tu quoque.

          • John

            You stole TwoBeers’s concession phrase from him. At least be original when you want to admit to losing a debate.

          • marcos

            Tu quoque. Tu quoque.

          • John

            One admission of defeat is sufficient, marcos.

          • marcos

            Tu quoque. Tu quoque. Tu quoque.

          • John

            To think that you once harbored aspirations of being a city supervisor. And courted real political influence.

            And now you are reduced to muttering inanities in an anonymous chatroom?

            I guess it’s not just the mighty who fall from grace and relevance.

          • marcos

            What was I thinking 14 years ago? After volunteering on the supervisor side of City Hall I saw how power was arrayed and how power coopted those who fashioned themselves as insurgents but were susceptible to corruption. I’ve spent enough time in meetings over the past decade with diverse constituencies outside of the progressive comfort zone to realize that the main impediment to government that serves the electorate first is corruption by money that deprives residents of honest government service. Just yesterday I put forth four motions at the MTA CAC finance committee that passed muster unanimously. My political skills are functional.

          • two beers

            Seriously, John doesn’t believe that the Netherlands is a capitalist country!

            John, you’re an example of the total and utter failure of American education.

            I suppose you feel that other countries with strong social safety nets, strong rent control, and/or guaranteed housing policies like France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Israel are capitalist countries.

            These countries feature free higher education, high wages, long paid vacations, universal healthcare, and progressive housing policies, so they are COMMUNISTS!

            God bless Somalia America, where lazy, incompetent boobs rise to the top, because the laws are rigged for libertarian sociopaths to plunder the gains of productive workers.

          • two beers

            John, you don’t believe in democratic capitalism.

            You believe in authoritarian and plutocratic kleptocracy.,

            A typical ignorant and uneducated xenophobe, an example of the neo-liberal destruction of American education.


          • marcos

            I would add the People’s Republic of Switzerland to the bastion of communist revanchism against the glories of the libertarian capitalist ideal.

          • marcos

            Essentially, any economic system that imposes any regulation on laissez-faire capitalism is worse than Stalin.

          • John

            I suspect that i have spent a lot more time in Europe than you have. It is capitalist, but the State takes a much larger role than here.

            Surely it is good to have a choice. There are communist nations, there are social democracies like in Europe, and there are a few places with relatively unfettered capitalism like Hong Kong, Dubai and the US.

            So we can all choose to live in a land that suits our politics. Nothing wrong with that at all. But it does shock me that people continue to live in a place that they hate rather than doing something about it, like moving.

            Generally speaking, nations get the government that they deserve, and Americans are not real big on a massive, centralized nanny state.

          • marcos

            Wrong, there are no communist nations, no socialist nations and no laissez-faire capitalist nations.

          • John

            The point was that there are nations with different systems in place, and if you think somewhere like Holland is better, you should move there.

            It’s much easier to move yourself than it is to change the prevailing political system in a nation.

          • marcos

            Clearly given the extent to which the US political system has been forced rightward, it is not that difficult to change. Given the fact that in 1988 nobody expected the USSR to collapse within 18 months, anything and everything is possible.

          • John

            Keep telling yourself that.

          • two beers

            I guess it’s safe to say that if the US didn’t exist, John would be most happy in Somalia, the country closest to his libertarian laissez-faire nirvana.

          • John

            2Beers, I am actually considering leaving the US at some future point. My candidates for another location would include Switzerland, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and a handful of small principalities.

          • Kaliman

            Dear Troll,
            Good to hear of your departure. There are many passport offices around you.

            Good ridance and god help the country that will take you.

            Troll on MF

          • John

            Relax, Kaliman, I’m talking about at retirement time. I’ll be around for a good number of years yet, keeping you honest and spreading the truth.

            But if taxes aren’t reduced, many successful people will leave, and then you’ll find out who has been paying all the bills around these parts.

    • Frank

      Is there information about the amount of support Mark Leno has for modifying the Ellis Act to include a 5 year holding period? The last time he introduced a similar bill (2006, I believe) he received no support from other legislators.

      Also, what are the proposed policy changes to TICs? Isn’t a TIC just a form of ownership with an agreement between owners as to who has possession of each unit? Haven’t all past attempts to regulate them failed?

      • John

        Kaliman is just engaged in fantasy thinking.

        There isn’t much support for messing with Ellis in Sac because it only affects a handful of towns in the State.

        TIC formations cannot be messed with because it is not a process or subdivision at all. It is merely a form of ownership, common in all 50 states and throughout the English-speaking world.

        In fact, the appalling sue bierman tried to bring TIC formation under the condo process some 14 years ago. It passed but the courts bounced it for the reason given.

        These pro-tenant zealots will not be happy until there is no rental sector left.

        • poor.ass.millionaire

          Exactomundo. Thanks for laying it out John!

          And 2B is smoking dope if he thinks that CA is pro tenants. Sure, compared to socialist countries. But guess what buddy boy, socialist policies aren’t exactly winning on the global stage these days. American entrepreneurialism and globalization are the lingua fraca of the 21st century. At a global level hey have lifted millions and millions of people out of poverty over the past 20 years. I suggest you get with the program, being that you reside in the seat of technological advancement- a primary driver of these successes. Rock on!

          • John

            I feel sorry for liberals. They gloat about all the gains in civil rights over the last few decades, like abortion and gay marriage. But most folks on the right that I know don’t really care about such things – they just lay it on think because it’s a vote winner in the heartland.

            The real battle is the economy and the right have been winning that battle since Reagan. And not just America either. Privatization has been a global trend, while even Scandinavia has been rolling back its impossibly generous welfare state.

            What you are really seeing here is the death throes of the American left in their last major holdout in the nation. It’s like watching Custer’s last stand in slow motion.

            Obama gets it but the SF left will die with their boots on.

          • marcos

            If the Federal Reserve messes up juggling any one of those live chainsaws, then the entirety of the bankster and warmonger regime that has lurched the US rightward collapses. The conflict with Russia over the Crimea could easily degenerate into economic warfare the likes of which the US Fed and government are ill situated to defend against.

          • John

            I feel sure that our liberal President will deftly navigate us through the world’s tempestuous waters.

            With help from other powerful liberals like Kerry, Biden, Clinton, Pelosi, Feinstein and Boxer, of course.

          • two beers

            Obama is hardly a liberal.

            His idol is Ronald Reagan.

            He is far to the right of Nixon on almost every issue.

            He is as far to the right, or even more extreme, than Bush Jr, on many issues.

            Most Democrats are low-information voters, just as susceptible to identity and dog-whistle politics as Republican voters.

            The laws of this country are rigged to screw the 88% because, by default, any politician marginally to the left of the middle of the road is reflexively called communist by ignorant products of the American education/propaganda system.

          • two beers

            And the others you cite are “liberals” on social policies.

            Okay, they’re not overt racists, like most Republicans.

            And they support gay marriage, so they get a pass on coddling bankers, bombing brown people in far away countries, spying on American citizens, having the industrialized world’s highest incarceration rate, avoiding universal health care, screwing the environment.

            The only one of those you mention who’s even plausibly left of center — Boxer — is a cowardly, feckless, impotent, and embarrassing waste of a Senate seat from the nation’s most productive state.

            And Feintein’s (hitherto) kneejerk support of authoritarian excess, suppression of civil rights, surveillance, torture, and bombing brown people in far away countries would make Hoover and Nixon blanche.

          • two beers

            The one thing you’re right about is that American liberal are easily-duped by social issues/identity politics.

            this weakness has enabled the gutting of the powerful, productive, and equitable economic structure FDR created

            Now, as the last of FDR’s policies are being erased by gungho fascists who are destroying the Constitution while liberals are distracted and complacent with the dazzling gewgaws of gay marriage, America is rapidly becoming an authoritarian banana republic.

            Luckily for John and poor.ass, incompetent boobs rise to the top in authoritarian banana republics.

            The mere fact that a nazi like Feinstein is regularly and overwhelmingly reelected in this putatively “liberal:” state demonstrates that politics in the country are skewed massively to the right.

            Well done, boys!

          • marcos

            Yep, identity politics is a dead end alley that we need to back out of pronto and take another path.

          • John

            marcos, you are asking the left to give up the card-playing strategies that they consider has been working for them ever since the civil rights era i.e. conveniently divide a population into two different classes and then promote one class over the other.

            And it’s not like you are immune for that, as I’ve seen you pontificate about tenants, gays, illegals, municipal workers etc. And commit the cardinal sins of class warfare and the politics of envy.

            Separate, then hate, is too ingrained into the fabric of the left for your belated advice to be ever taken seriously.

          • marcos

            Class warfare….is not identity politics, it is the antithesis of identity politics.

          • John

            The tactics are the same. The only difference is that the goal of class warfare is the forced confiscation of wealth and the goal of identity politics tend to promote certain classes of people deemed politically correct.

            But the playbook is the same:

            1) Divide people into some arbitrary self-serving classification

            2) Stereotype those two classes e.g. “white=bad; black=good”

            3) Promote hate against the class you don’t like.

            With class warfare, the class you don’t is typically defined economically e.g. bankers, tech workers, landlords. But the same tactic permeates all forms of card-playing

          • marcos

            The numbers are different and that must scare the shit out of you.

          • two beers

            Jesus, John, you a

          • John

            What numbers? Digits never scare me.

            I was simply agreeing with your statement that the left should lose their obsession with identity politics, and I added some related behaviors that are equally counter-productive.

          • two beers

            er, Jesus, John, you are the ace foot soldier in the class war, except it’s in the only class war now being waged, that’s the top-down class war being waged by the rich against everyone else.

          • two beers

            What you call “class war,” is simply the attempts of the lower class to attain the standard of living they had attained before Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush Jr-Obama came along to wage war on the poor on behalf of the rich.

            Self-defense to you is “class war.”

            For real class war, please refer to the machinations of the .01% to steal almost all of the gains to productivity since the Great Recession.”

          • John

            No, class war is that people who have failed support in order to take from those who succeeded what they could not get fairly.

            It is the politics of envy writ large, and a perfect example of the identity politics that progressives like marcos and I are so anxiously to bring to an end so that the fight for social justice is no longer a suicide mission.

        • Kaliman

          No fantasy thinking.
          The greed espoused by John and the Poor Ass is exactly why some type of legislation will be enacted.



          Lee, Ammiano, Leno and others are (albeit – slowly) understanding the implications of the tech surge and the devastation of fragile tenants.

          Something will be enacted.

          • John

            A handful of leftists do not generally get their way in Sac. Ellis and Costa-Hawkins were both passed to rein in SF’s antics, and so SF alone cannot get them changed. Extremists do not get to repeal laws designed to control extremists.

  6. Adam

    We all should live with no regrets. The tenants who find that they are paying below market rents are regretting that they didn’t plan for their future. They are taking out their self inflicted unfortunate situation on landlords. It’s the government’s role to help them, not private enterprise.

    • John

      Agreed, Adam, the burden of supporting the poor should be spread across everyone, to the extent that the voters are willing to fund it.

      Pushing that obligation onto a decreasing minority of residents will inevitably cause those property owners to withdraw their generosity, close down their rental businesses and invest elsewhere.

      Ellis is merely a mechanism for achieving that, and isn’t the real problem at all.

      • two beers

        “…cause those property owners to withdraw their generosity”

        Comedy gold, Jerry!

        • John

          TwoBeers, I’m going to guess that you live in a rental that is made available to you by its owner.

          How is it in your interests for the owner of your home to feel that he no longer wants to do that?

          • two beers

            Then he can sell it. If the buyer decide to move in and evict me legally, so be it.

            Landlords making money by collecting rent on assets they own has absolutely nothing to do with generosity. But you’re free to redefine the English language a you see fit. But doing so doesn’t makes you look very intelligent.

          • John

            You miss the point, TwoBeers. A property owner can always sell a building, of course. But he can also reclaim possession of it via legal mechanisms that have been put into place specifically to prevent a landlord being disadvantaged by a tenant signing a month-to-month lease and then staying for decades, without any ability to meaningfully raise the rent.

            If you do not like that situation, go get the constitution changed.

            But there is a broader point. Regardless of your personal situation, the direct result of rent control is that property owners go to great lengths to avoid renting out their units. so in the long-term, rent control is killing the rental business in SF, and thousands of RC untis “vanish” each year.

            Tenants will not be well served as the number of RC units dwindles, and no new ones are being created. Eventually this will lead to an even bigger crisis and rent control will be repealed since, by then, not many people will benefit from it/.

            You cannot keep stealing from others without it eventually coming back to bite you.

          • two beers

            To benefit landlords, you create artificial crises that have extremely simple — and free! — solutions:

            If you don’t want to own rent-controlled property, don’t buy rent-controlled property!

          • John

            Except that if nobody bought a RC building, you would have no home.

            Investors can always find another market to invest in, but what are you going to do when there are no rentals here?

  7. landline

    Arson for profit is a serious and potentially deadly crime.

    To some hypocrites who espouse the discredited “broken windows” theory, it is a justifiable response to rent regulation while gleaning recyclables (and food) from garbage cans is an unforgivable response to poverty, unemployment and hunger.

    From such attitudes come revolutions and the tumbrils.

    • John

      Thank you for your reply, landline.

      I refer you to marcos’s argument that when people feel their rights have been unfairly trodden on and feel a lack of democratic power, that direct action can be effective.

      Naturally I would never advocate something like that myself. But I do understand how some property owners may be driven to extreme measures. And particularly if all other exit strategies have been cut off.

      BTW, I note that in some circles it is being suggested that the Mission Bay fire was started by “activists” as a form of protest against gentrification. In the unlikely event that that turns out to be true, it sounds like you would be just as emphatic in your criticism of such a “direct action”. Right?

      • poor.ass.millionaire

        Yea I thought of that too (desperate activist committing arson), but would they really be *THAT* stupid? Taking 400+ units off the rental market will hurt all upcoming tenants, given how little gets built in this city. I mean, even I am willing to give these activists-turds a bit more credit, for now at least, unless proven otherwise.

        • John

          I agree that it wasn’t arson nor politically motivated. Not because a leftist activist could not conjure up some rationalization for doing such a thing (and indeed Ted Gullicksen did exactly that).

          But rather because setting a fire like that in broad daylight in the middle of a working day is far too sophisticated for activists whose playbook appears not to extend beyond breaking the odd window and standing in front of buses.

          But there are, apparently, some who believe that destroying new homes is helping the under-housed. You can’t make this stuff up.

  8. Pamela

    This is so wrong. The owners of the building should be able to do what he/she wants with it. Hopefully, they prevail & can move into their building, possibly as an owner move-in. From the photo, the place looks like a lot needs to be done to bring it to code. That’s one way to get the tenants out; plus bring the building back to single family.
    These people have been living there since 1978 & 1987 respectively paying below market. During those years it was still affordable to buy a home. Can only guess what they did with their money besides blowing it. Also, they are renters, they do not own, & should not be surprised when a landlord asks them to leave.
    There was an article awhile back in the Chronicle giving the salaries, amount of properties owned by the so-called advocates/non-profits. In it, Randy Shaw owns 20+ properties in the Tenderloin. Why didn’t he find a place for these people instead of screwing over the landlords?
    Forgot how many properties Ted Gullickson owns. However, neither are poor; far from it.

    • two beers

      yes, Pam, this is awful, and there’s an extremely simple and free solution to the problem, which will step on nobody’s toes:

      If property owners don’t want to own rent- controlled property, don’t buy rent-controlled property!

      I don’t like borscht. So, I don’t eat a bowl, and then complain and whine to the waiter that it’s unfair for me to eat borscht. Instead, I just don’t eat borscht!


      • John

        And another easy win-win would be for tenants who do not want the risk of an Ellis to avoid rentals that come under rent control,


        • two beers

          Be careful what you ask for. The consequences of libertarian utopia are the exact opposite of what you believe.

          If the income-restricted tenants whose options are either to live in rent-controlled units or lto eave San Francisco chose the latter, and left the city, service industry wages would have to skyrocket to attract replacements. Consequently, prices for all service industries and related products would skyrocket.

          You — smugly ensconsed in your free market anarchist ideology — would, ironically, be the first to whine about the resulting high price of groceries, coffee, haircuts, et al, and you would bitch and moan about the bloated wages of uneducated workers and “illegals.”.

          You are unfailingly blind to the fact that you owe_ everything_ you have to the sweat and labor of the underpaid, undereducated, and overworked people you despise and abuse (and who possibly account for some of your tenants). These people are invisible to you, yet without them, your life would be utter shit,.

          Sure, John, have it both ways, hypocrite.

          • marcos

            Libertarian capitalism is the mirror image of communist socialism, in that it looks good on paper but runs counter to human nature and has never worked and will never work.

          • two beers

            Anything marginally to the left of libertarian capitalism is communism to these sociopaths.

            So, basically, according to the rightwing neo-liberal ideologues who run the US, we only have two choices: massive poverty or Stalin!

          • John

            There are far more affluent and unaffordable places than San Francisco, and yet they all manage fine for service workers. Indeed, it is the wealthiest places that employ the largest numbers of service workers.

            So enclaves of expensive exclusivity like La Jolla, Beverly Hills, Aspen and so on manage just fine. And SF has a huge advantage over those places – a vast hinterland where it is much cheaper for workers to commute in from.

          • marcos

            So how many service workers were displaced via rising rents to make room for the rich in La Jolla, Aspen and Beverly Hills?

          • John

            Probably the same number as the number of new residential opportunities that were created when those rich folks left wherever they were.

            But the point here was more a refutation of 2B’s claim that a wealthy place won’t have any service workers. In fact, they have more.

          • marcos

            Wrong. You asserted the equivalence, not substantiate your claim.

          • John

            My point was limited to refuting 2Beer’s claim that towns full of rich people cannot possibly have any low-paid service workers because they would not be able to afford to live there.

          • marcos

            Wrong. Aspen is a resort town, San Francisco is a city. La Jolla is a neighborhood in the City of San Diego. Service workers rarely live in St. Francis Wood or Pacific Heights in San Francisco as they rarely live in La Jolla. There are all sorts of LA neighborhoods a few miles to the south of BH where service workers can afford.

          • John

            Thanks, marcos, you have just made my point for me. Service workers who are priced out of SF can live a few miles and minutes away in Oakland or Daly City and still easily get to work.

            So TwoBeers’ fear is unfounded.

          • marcos

            Wrong, they cannot, as San Mateo is very expensive and Oakland is being gentrified as well. Commute costs into San Francisco are likewise more expensive than driving around these other localities.

          • John

            I’ve researched Oakland Re and rents and they are still 50% of SF values, or less. There are many unused buildings and vacant lots.

            Daly City is maybe 25% less than SF and even the southern parts of SF are still quite affordable.

            It’s a lame excuse that anyone who works in SF cannot find a home in the Bay Area.

          • marcos

            Wrong, you cannot comprehend the present progressive tense and have no refutation for my demolition of your effort to make a point.

          • John

            I refuted you. you claimed that Oakland is a cheap alternative to SF and I outlined my research showing prices are at about half SF levels.

            Think of the city as being the Bay Area and not just SF, and your illusions and confusion will fall away.

          • two beers

            Thanks for lying about what I said as usual. Are you congenitally incapable of telling the truth? Must you lie about EVERYTHING?

            I didn’t say there would be fewer workers. I said that service wages would have to skyrocket to replace the workers you say shouldn’t complain about being evicted.

            So, you lie about what I say, and you keep repeating your utterly disingenuous and false analogy of sophisticated and wealthy landlords to poor and unsophisticated tenants.

            Your arguments drip with smug hypocrisy, class privilege, and sadism.


          • John

            Speculation, TwoBeers. Have you researched the hourly pay rates of service workers in the towns I cited?

            Higher wages suck in more workers and so I doubt there would be any price pressure beyond what we see anyway.

            Anyway, why complain? i thought you wanted workers to be overpaid?

            While Oakland beckons for all those service workers who feel priced out.

          • two beers

            So, to you, a fair wage is being overpaid.

            Spoke like a spoiled plutocrat!

          • John

            You were the one expressing concern that pay might be too high. I was just reassuring you that that won’t happen.

    • landline

      Ted Gullickson is a renter and his salary is about $20,000 per year.

    • John

      Yes, Randy Shaw has a two million dollar home in the Berkeley Hills as well as all his Tenderloin buildings, which of course were brought with money the city loaned him after the city had passed “safety” laws that devalued those properties enabling them to be bought cheaply.

      Oh, and of course once those buildings are owned by the city, a charity or a non-profit, they immediately become exempt from rent control. What a boondoggle.

      Gullicksen owns property? It wouldn’t surprise me given that Welch, Hestor, Shaw, Daly etc all own.. But do you know more about Gullicksen’s properties?

      • two beers

        Tu quoque, as usual,

        Dude, put the rightwing “How to Talk to a Liberal” manual down. You sound like Rush Limbaugh or Michael WeinerSavage.

        • John

          No refutation then?

          • marcos

            Refute my logical fallacies!

          • John

            I invite either of you to refute the facts cited in my 10:34 a.m. post to which both you and twobeers have responded to without any substance.

            Readers may assume my statements are correct in the absence of any counter-evidence.

          • marcos

            Randy Shaw is a scumbag poverty pimp who’s shifted his politics in favor of his own personal economic interests.

            The rest of them have tried to keep their politics although each has compromised a bit, just as you’d have them do so that they can “get something done.”

            The more apt analogy is Rebecca Solnit’s sale of her home to a google engineer.

        • two beers

          You’re such a joker. One doesn’t refute a fallacious argument. One can only refute a logical argument which either uses facts incorrectly or draws the wrong conclusion from facts.

          What you used was a fallacious argument. It is inherently irrefutabal because it is not based on the rules for logical argumentation.

          The correct way to respond to a fallacious argument is to identify it as fallacious, and specify what type(s) of fallacy is being deployed.

          You used an explicit tu quoque fallacy.


          • John

            TwoBeers, again no facts to counter mine. just the usual foray into obfuscatory rhetoric.

          • two beers

            John, you didn’t make an argument. There are no facts to refute.

            I’ll gladly refute your argument should you actually decide to make an argument.

          • John

            Op cit, 10:34 a.m.

          • two beers

            Learn what constitutes an arguement, you joker.

            The English language can be dangerous in the hands of the ignorant.

            GO TO YOUR ROOM, CHILD.

          • John

            More diversions with no substance. Dig yourself deeper.

            And hey, your rent is due on the 1st.

          • two beers

            Diversionary tactics is all you have, pal.

          • John

            Facts posted at 10:34 a.m., remain unchallenged/

          • two beers

            Your facts may well be true, I have no idea, nor do I care. What is it relevant to?

            The thing is, you cited facts, BUT YOU DIDN’T MAKE AN ARGUMENT.

            I can say the mean temperature of Slobostan is 20C, and you can agree or disagree, but there is no argument being made, therefore there is no argument to refute.

            What’s so hard about this to understand?

          • John

            My post was a reply to another post, so I wasn’t making an agument so much as commenting on and agreeing with a previous argument.

            But if there is no argument then why devote so much time to it while saying so little?

          • two beers

            Thanks for agreeing with me, John, Maybe in the future you won’t make such a big ado about nothing, and try to make actual arguments, instead of cluttering up the board with stupid pissing contests.

            GO TO YOUR ROOM, CHILD.

          • John

            I didn’t agree with you. You were the one trying to discover an “argument” in what was a series of facts relevant to the post I replied to.

            If you had said at the outset that you had no facts to contribute and that you “didn’t know” and “didn’t care” about the topic then you could have saved us both some times and energy.

  9. poor.ass.millionaire

    OMG you guys are killing me.

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