Protesters marched with picket signs and balloons that represented "speculative bubbles" in August 2014. Photo by Leslie Nguyen-Okwu.

Wait, hold it, reverse! Even though columnists officially declared an end to the tech boom last week, based in part on a shrinking job market, now there is a report from SiliconBeat that the opposite is about to happen – tech companies are about to go on a hiring binge.

Of course, these companies are going to hire a bunch of people partly with the purpose of figuring out how to automate jobs and eventually eliminate them, so who knows how long they’ll actually keep the employees hired in this three-year burst.

I wonder if all us news sites are locked in an unspoken contract to try to hasten the downturn by incessantly speculating about it. Or maybe we just don’t want to miss it when it does arrive? At least that’s what I think when I read this Curbed story about how rents are down, or maybe not, but they could be. Could it be that our opinions are worth just as much as people pay for them? Perish the thought…

Oh Airbnb. Even the Chronicle editorial board is telling you to settle the %&$*^ down, and yet you tenaciously persist. But here’s the thing – “big government” will also persist in sticking its nose in even the best business ideas when you erode rental stock in a city that already has a shortage.  

That said, the Board of Supervisors is now forced to make some concessions on its get-tough-on-vacation-rentals legislation, agreeing not to fine Airbnb $1,000 a day for publishing listings whose hosts haven’t registered with the city until someone actually books that listing. That legislative lane change came after Airbnb made good on its promise to sue the city for passing the enforcement legislation. 

Even this concession is not good enough for Airbnb, which is expected to keep pushing back, wasting everyone’s time, money and energy on a lawsuit that will only be the beginning if they win and will probably cost the company the majority of its listings in San Francisco if it loses. But I guess to a company that can spend $8 million on passive-aggressive campaign ads, what’s waging a lil bitty lawsuit? Then again, maybe a federal investigation will ruffle its feathers.

Another City Hall happening this week was the passage of the much-ballyhooed Affordable Housing Density Bonus Program. No wait, sorry, the passage of half of that proposal. The idea behind the program was originally to allow developers to build higher if they included incrementally more affordable units in the development. Now, a version has been passed that grants developers the additional height if their building is 100 percent below market rate. However! According to this helpful map from Hoodline, it’s unlikely to have much of an effect on the Mission District.

That’s not to say, of course, that nothing is going to change in the neighborhood.

One thing to keep an eye on is the Baha’i community center on Valencia near the freeway. The building is, apparently, up for sale and SocketSite notes that its zoning would allow the building to be a bit taller while the building itself could be a historic resource. So, is there an upcoming planning dilemma here? Where will the community center go? What could become of the art deco facade? We’ll try to find out.

Remember how we just recently talked about the city’s condo glut? Guess what’s in the pipeline? That’s right, condos.

Condos to replace a Mission auto shop. Condos in a Mission building where tenants mysteriously disappeared. Condos by Caltrain. Condos in Pac Heights. Condos in the Tenderloin. You get the gist.

San Francisco is a city with a majority of renters, of course, but I sort of wonder if this apparently unstoppable flow of condos will shift that balance at all – especially given the conversion of rental units to condos (a very tightly regulated conversion) and TICs (de facto condos that are subject to less scrutiny).

Somewhat relatedly, a Stanford graduate student recently found that the majority of evictions in the city since 2011 occurred – of course – in the Mission, and that the most common type of eviction here was the Ellis Act. Breach of contract and nuisance are the reason given for the eviction in more than half of cases citywide, but whether that’s because tenants are just sloppy or because landlords have decided to scrutinize more closely is up to the reader to decide – perhaps with the knowledge that evictions jumped 60 percent overall citywide since 2011.

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6 Comments

  1. Raise minumum wage to $100 an hour. A place maximum wage to $110. Keep rent control and 90% tax on capital gians.

  2. Is this an editorial piece, because it certainly reads like one. If not, the snarky comments hurt Mission Local’s credibility as a ‘news’ source.

    1. Yes, it’s an editorial piece/ column, which is why it has the tone of one. As for credibility, if there are factual inaccuracies let me know.

    2. Seems like you’re not happy with what is said, truth does hurt. You moved to San Francisco, most likely in the last couple years, this is the way we are. I don’t get how all you suburban Techies move here and think we are going to change for you? We are a city, not the valley.

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