A protest for affordable housing at City Hall. Photo by Laura Wenus.

Tenant protections are making sluggish progress as construction project sponsors try to steam ahead in anticipation of a possible moratorium on market rate housing.

Tenant advocates breathed a sigh of relief after hearing that Mayor Lee, running up against a Friday evening deadline, did not make an attempt to block new eviction protections that the Board of Supervisors had passed unanimously – but it was a close call.

At the state level, California is now a “right to dry” state – meaning the right to dry laundry on clotheslines. Governor Brown signed a bill into law Friday that will keep property owners and homeowner’s associations from prohibiting line drying of laundry in backyards.

Apart from being an environmental issue, line dry bans can be a real concern for local residents – Mindy Spatt with the Utility Reform Network told the Chronicle that such bans have had Chinatown tenants facing eviction, and called the ban “unconscionable.” Reversing these bans makes California one of six “right to dry” states nationwide.

Which is a small win for tenants, but still a win. Unlike a tenant compensation law proposed by Supervisor David Campos, which was struck down by a Superior Court judge this week. The law would have required landlords to pay displaced tenants the difference between their current rent and the market rate for a similar unit in the city for two years, up to a maximum of $50,000 – way too much, in the eyes of the judge, and for something (the cost of housing) that the landlords can’t control. The city plans to appeal the decision.

As we head into an election season that could stop rapid development in its tracks, building presses ahead.

Capp Street Crap revealed yesterday that the owner of Balompie Café, Amadeo Gonzalez Figueroa, is planning to build three housing units above a restaurant in a currently abandoned building on 17th and Capp streets. The restaurateur hasn’t specified his plans, but applications have been filed with the Planning Department.

Meanwhile, Seattle has issued what almost sounds like a challenge to Ed Lee. Seattle’s mayor set a goal to build 50,000 homes over the next ten years, and to make 40 percent of them affordable, in a bid to “create enough affordable housing so we don’t find ourselves as skewed by who lives in the city as San Francisco is.” That might be inevitable anyway, given the flocks of Bay Area denizens migrating North, much to the disdain of Portlanders, who have started putting “No Californians” stickers on home sale signs. Read the detailed story of how Seattle is battling for its soul and the North hates us in the New York Times.

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