New access to homeless shelters has been curtailed as of Monday, leaving street dwellers on the street. File photo, February 2016, by Joe Rivano Barros

Anticipation of the next tech crash is so buzzy that even the New York Times had to chime in. And someone else picked up those fidelity ratings I mentioned last time and says it’s a sign of the crash to come.

But, hark, a media trend shift! It turns out the number one concern among San Franciscans, according to a new San Francisco Chamber of Commerce poll reported by the Chronicle, is not the tech bubble – it’s homelessness.

Supervisor David Campos’ legislation that would declare a state of emergency on homelessness, by the way, will be heard by a Board committee on Thursday, and he is inviting members of the public to attendLegislation that would force the city to build six more navigation centers in the next year is still forthcoming, and still being dismissed by the Mayor.

Nonetheless, it’s hard to argue that the housing crisis and homelessness are not the tiniest bit related – especially as the mayor’s new point man on homelessness, Sam Dodge, argues that Campos’ proposal to build new shelters and build them now doesn’t help people get off the street if there aren’t any homes to go to. Curbed reports that San Francisco, in series of civic scorecards the city issued to…uh, itself…is actually pretty noncommittal about its performance in constructing housing, simply stating that home values are up and rents are up (surprise!) and leaving it at that.

Another slightly more conclusive indication of the scorecards is that even the city knows its public transit is seriously unimpressive. But where the rest of us might be frustrated by unpredictable bus times and overcrowding, the city gave itself a failing mark on how often Muni buses crash into other vehicles. Ouch.

And while the city is has only a shrug for its tourism stats (hotel occupancy rates and revenues are slightly down, even though costs are slightly up), it is going after the non-hotel tourism industry again.

The Chronicle reports that the city will be asking Airbnb hosts to give a list of the items, like furniture, that their guests use and pay taxes on them. According to Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, the hosts brought it upon themselves – “We have heard loud and clear from (hosts) that they want to be treated like everybody else and are willing to pay taxes like everybody else,” she told the Chron.

At the same time, the company is doing some self-regulating. It’s asking for feedback from hosts’ neighbors. Bloomberg reports that this is going to be rolled out in Japan first, with global implementation to follow. One wonders, were this to become a reality in San Francisco, could it be a way to encourage frustrated neighbors to try to work through the private system before going to the city and outing the hosts – now that so many of the city’s short term rentals are technically unsanctioned?

Legal shifts aside, let’s look at how development is unfolding in some local buildings:

Nonprofit MEDA announced last week that it managed to seal the deal to buy the Precita Avenue building that houses both a 40-year-old mural arts center and four rent controlled tenants, securing the building as affordable housing in perpetuity. A group of neighbors with the means to do so lent the nonprofit more than half of the $400,000 down payment, forming a financing system that may make the nonprofit more competitive in the open real estate market. More on that here.

In other welcome news, the city has now broken ground on a long-anticipated new park at 17th and Folsom streets. While the real work is set to begin in about a week, the park is expected to be completed within about a year.

Here’s a photo of the ceremonial groundbreaking:

The groundbreaking at 17th and Folsom. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros

Socketsite has the scoop on two locations around the neighborhood that are likely to undergo serious changes, most moving from neighborhood stalwarts to upscale housing:

The site reports that La Parrilla Grill’s space on 24th and Folsom, where plans were made years ago for 20 condos atop the restaurant space and later put on hold, is now again being marketed as a “high foot traffic corner location” – and a tipster sent Socketsite a photo featuring a new building with a second story on top.

Socketsite also revealed that the former Anna’s Linens building on Mission Street near 22nd Street may get four stories of housing stacked on top, after the master tenant accepted a buyout for the remaining 30 years of their lease.

Finally, we’re up to two figures in local development politics who have taken to their Twitter recently with incredibly frank messages, and let me say, I hope this is the beginning of a trend. Planning Commissioner Dennis Richards went off on Twitter hecklers the other day, even throwing a few expletives around. The move wasn’t popular with everyone, but it was honest – and a week or so later, BART crisis management media relations person @iwriterealgood (a millennial, folks!) took to the internet to lay some real talk down on the conversation about why BART is always so frickin’ broken. Also known as Taylor Huckaby, the BART spokesperson then followed up his viral tweets with an op-ed in Popular Mechanics. More of this, bureaucrats of Twitter! In the incredibly difficult conversation about development and infrastructure, nobody else is holding back – if you know something, say something.  

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