Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Interim Mayor Ed Lee Stars as a Menacing Celestial Body in This “Yes On Prop G” Flyer

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Hadn’t noticed this one before:

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Take it away, BALLOTPEDIA:

“A City of San Francisco Transfer Tax on Residential Property Re-Sold in Five Years, Proposition G ballot question was on the November 4, 2014 election ballot for voters in the city of San Francisco, California. It was defeated.

Proposition G imposed an additional tax on the sale or transfer of multi-unit property that has been owned for less than five years. Details about the tax are in the San Francisco Ballot Simplification digest.

Election results

City of San Francisco, Proposition G
Result Votes Percentage
Defeated No 117,887 53.91%
Yes 100,776 46.09%

Election results via: City and County of San Francisco Registrar of Voters

The San Francisco Ballot Simplification Committee provided the following digest for Proposition G:[1]

THE WAY IT IS NOW:The City collects a transfer tax on sales of most real property in San Francisco. The tax rate depends on the sale price of the property. The lowest tax rate is 0.5%, for property sold for $250,000 or less. The highest tax rate is 2.5%, for property sold for $10,000,000 or more. The tax rate is not affected by how long a property is owned.THE PROPOSAL:

Proposition G would impose an additional tax on the total sale price of certain multi-unit residential properties that are sold within five years of purchase or transfer. The following table shows the tax rates that would apply:

Length of Time Seller Has Owned Property – Tax Rate:

Less than one year – 24 percent
One to two years – 22 percent
Two to three years – 20 percent
Three to four years – 18 percent
Four to five years – 14 percent

This additional tax would apply to sales occurring on or after January 1, 2015.

This additional tax would not apply in the following circumstances:

  • The property is a single-family house or condominium and does not include an in-law unit;
  • An owner of the property, including a tenancy-in-common unit, has used it as a primary residence for at least one year immediately before the sale;
  • The property contains more than 30 separate residential units;
  • The property is sold for an amount equal to or less than what the seller paid for the property;
  • The property is sold within one year of a property owner’s death;
  • The property is legally restricted to low- and middle-income households;
  • The property is newly built housing;
  • The property meets the following criteria: it contains no more than two dwelling units; the seller applied on or before July 1, 2014, for a building permit for a project with a total construction cost of $500,000 or more; and the last permit was issued no more than a year before the sale of the property; or
  • The sale of the property is exempt from the existing transfer tax.

This measure would also authorize the Board of Supervisors to create additional exemptions from both the existing transfer tax and this proposed additional tax for properties that are subject to affordability-based restrictions.

A “YES” VOTE MEANS: If you vote “yes,” you want the City to impose an additional tax of between 14% and 24% on the total sale price of certain multi-unit residential properties that are sold within five years of purchase or transfer, subject to certain exceptions.

A “NO” VOTE MEANS: If you vote “no,” you do not want the City to impose this additional tax.

Dubious Claim: “THE FUTURE OF SF HOUSING WILL BE DECIDED NOV. 3RD” – How Could This Possibly Be True?

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Prop A? That thing’s a nothingburger, sold as free money, something that won’t raise taxes. Well if it’s not going to raise taxes, then it’s not really much of anything, right?

Prop F? I don’t think that it has much to do with THE FUTURE OF SF HOUSING, not really.

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In conclusion, the future of SF housing will NOT be decided on November 3rd, 2015.

Sorry

The Best Political Ad in History: “FRIENDS OF OBAMA” ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY Sign, on the I-80

Monday, September 21st, 2015

What comes next, FRIENDS OF TRUMP?

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Wonder how much the naming rights for this sign cost…

YES ON PROP F Fever Sweeps Over Frisco (AFAIK) – Spotting New Posters About Town – “FIX THE AIRBNB MESS”

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

I looked for signs like these afore, but didn’t see them.

Now, in mid-September, I’m seeing them – that’s the update:

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Here’s a nice write-up from a neutral source:

“Prior to February 2015, the city banned private, short-term rentals, but did not dedicate sufficient resources to fully enforce the law.”

Yep, pretty much.

Prop F Update: Let’s Look at Both Sides of SF Proposition F (2015), the Airbnb Law – Fixing Frisco’s Broken Short-Term Rental Mess

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

(I’ll tell you, I don’t care what you do or where you rest your noggin at night. Fundamentally, I’m not a NIMBY – I don’t care what you do. I’ll admit I think it’s noteworthy when I spot Airbnb users in the Western Addition or the Sunset or wherever, ’cause they stand out (without realizing it) like a sore thumb, but I don’t have anything against tourists milling about, you know, per se. It’s funny, they ask me about parking laws. I try to help out. I tell them which way to curb their tires, ’cause a lot of them just don’t get it. And I’ll add that I know people who use Airbnb, and I know people who make some money letting rooms and units via Airbnb and the VRBO. But obvs I don’t own Airbnb options or anything and I’ll also note that I don’t own any hotels or anything.)

So that’s where I stand. No conflicts of interest – how refreshing, non? Now let’s take a look at Prop F via ShareBetterSF:

1. Limits short-term rentals to 75 nights per year, regardless of whether a ‘host’ is present

THIS LOOKS GOOD TO ME. THE WHOLE “HOST PRESENT” THING APPEARS TO BE A GIANT LOOPHOLE COOKED UP BY AIRBNB ITSELF IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE OFFICE OF SUPERVISOR DAVID CHIU. THE RULES THAT HE AND AIRBNB CAME UP WITH ARE A HUGE, UNWORKABLE MESS, IMO.

2. Requires quarterly reports to the Planning Department on the number of nights a unit is rented to tourists

IF YOU’RE RENTING OUT A ROOM OR A UNIT, YOU’D NEED A REGISTRATION NUMBER AND YOU’D NEED TO REPORT HOW MANY TIMES YOU DID IT EVERY THREE MONTHS. SOUNDS PRETTY SIMPLE TO ME. SOUNDS A LOT SIMPLER THAN, SAY, THE EXTRA WORK YOU’LL HAVE TO DO WHEN ANNUAL TAX TIME COMES. IF THIS IS TOO MUCH OF A BURDEN ON YOU, THE PERSON RENTING OUT ROOMS, PERHAPS YOU SHOULDN’T BE IN THIS BIDNESS?

3. Fines ‘hosting platforms’ (like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway) for listing unregistered units

BAM. IF YOU HAVE A REG. NUMBER, YOU CAN LIST. IF YOU DON’T, YOU CAN’T.

4. Provides other building tenants, neighbors and neighborhood associations with notice when a unit is registered as a short-term rental

SO SFGOV WOULD SEND OUT A BRACE OF LETTERS EVERY TIME A UNIT GETS REGISTERED – THIS IS A ONE-TIME DEAL, RIGHT? AGAIN, DOES THIS SEEM SO UNREASONABLE?

5. Allows other building tenants & neighbors to go to court to protect their rights to the quiet enjoyment of their homes when the City fails to enforce the law

SO THERE ARE YOUR TEETH. THIS IS WHY AIRBNBER’S WILL ACTUALLY PAY ATTENTION TO SF PROP F 2015.

[INTERMISSION]

NOW LET’S HEAR FROM AIRBNB::

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1. WELL, YEAH, I GUESS, AIRBNB – YOU COULD CHARACTERIZE THINGS THAT WAY. BUT LET’S SAY AN AIRBNBER FROM WALNUT CREEK BUYS A BUILDING IN SF AND THEN AIRBNBS ALL THE UNITS 365/366 DAYS A YEAR – THIS IS WHAT THE PROP F PEOPLE WOULD CALL “RUNNING A HOTEL.” IF I WERE SAID BUILDING OWNER LIVING IN WALNUT CREEK, I’D BE VERY AFRAID OF PROP F, SO I’D FOLLOW THE NEW RULES, RIGHT? IS THAT SO BAD?

2. WELL, I LIVE IN SF, AIRBNB. SO I DON’T THINK YOU’RE TALKING TO ME. BUT i’LL SAY THAT I THINK THE “DATA” WE’RE TALKING ABOUT IS HOW MANY TIMES A QUARTER AIRBNBERS ARE IN BUSINESS, SO NO BIG DEAL, RIGHT? SO FAR, YOU’RE NOT REALLY SCARING ME AWAY FROM PROP F HERE, AIRBNB. LET’S SOLDIER ON…

3. SFGOV AND AIRBNB HAVE MADE A HASH OF THIS PROCESS SO FAR. THE CURRENT SYSTEM ISN’T WORKING, SORRY. THIS IS WHY PROP F QUALIFIED FOR THE BALLOT, RIGHT?

4. HEY, AREN’T MOST IN-LAW UNITS IN TOWN ALREADY “BANNED?” I THINK SO. I THINK IT’S BECAUSE THEY AREN’T CODE COMPLIANT. WHY SHOULDN’T WE LEGALIZE THESE UNITS FIRST, IF THAT’S WHAT WE WANT TO DO, AFORE WE START WORRYING ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY WE CAN MAKE OFF OF THEM? AND IF THIS IN-LAW ISSUE IS SUCH A BIG CONCERN A FEW YEARS DOWN THE ROAD AFTER THE POSSIBLE LEGALIZATION OF THESE UNITS, WELL, THEN WE CAN VOTE AGAIN, RIGHT? PERHAPS THIS WILL BE A BIT CUMBERSOME, BUT THAT’S WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU HAVE A REGULATORY CAPTURE SUCH AS THE ONE WE’RE IN.  

So, IDK, am I missing something here? What am I missing? Any beef anybody has against Prop F is displaced anger – the people who created the current situation are the ones responsible. Oh what’s that, Airbnb, you say the rules from Prop F are “too extreme?” Well, that’s because, unlike the current regs,  you didn’t write them. See how that works, Airbnb? Perhaps you should have cooked up a fairer set of rules for yourself, and then Prop F never would never have gone on the ballot, right?

So tell me, Gentle Reader, what am I missing here?

Otherwise, I’m a-voting YES ON PROP F.

Heh: “DRAFTGORE.COM!” – Sadly, This Website is Now Out Of Commission

Friday, August 21st, 2015

The True Believers of Aught-Seven:

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Still, one never knows What The Future Will Bring

“PRESIDENT LONDON BREED’S STATEMENT REGARDING ALLEGATIONS FROM RAYMOND CHOW”

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

“PRESIDENT LONDON BREED’S STATEMENT REGARDING ALLEGATIONS FROM RAYMOND CHOW

I learned long ago that you can’t control what other people say about you. And that’s especially true when you serve in public office.

Today, the attorneys for a man who’s facing multiple felony charges tried get him off the hook by making baseless allegations against many other people, including a number of local African American leaders. The attorneys wrote:

Reverend Amos Brown, Reverend Arnold Townsend, Derf Butler, Malia Cohen, and London Breed [all African American] were all implicated in dramatic pay to play schemes including calling into doubt the efficiency and real purpose of the One Stop Career Center in the Fillmore…London Breed who is a supervisor in a district where young children join gangs and are murdered before they can ever ‘pay to play.’ Butler allegedly takes Breed shopping for clothes and touts himself as something akin to a pimp explaining to Jackson that you have to teach an official how to be corrupt.

The One Stop Center exists to help people in my community find stable, quality jobs. The statement about children being murdered is as callous as it is offensive. And the only thing I’ve learned from this sad episode is that you should be very skeptical of what you read in the news, especially when it comes from an accused felon looking for anyone but himself to blame.

I’m not angry. It’s just very sad.”

There’s also this:

Serial entrepreneur Derf Butler, purportedly told an FBI agent he “pays Supervisor [London] Breed with untraceable debit cards for clothing and trips in exchange for advantages on contracts in San Francisco.” She denied this claim to the Examiner.

“San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi Responds to Mayor Ed Lee’s Call to Rescind ICE Contact Policy” – Requests BoS Hearing

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

A new release:

“San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi Responds to Mayor Ed Lee’s Call to Rescind ICE Contact Policy

San Francisco, CA ― San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi today delivered his response to Mayor Ed Lee’s July 14, 2015, letter [referenced here in the Examiner] calling on the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department to rescind its policy regarding contact with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“This tragedy spotlights the need for legal clarity at every government level,” stated Sheriff Mirkarimi. “This matter requires an open and honest conversation about the legislative intent and meaning of San Francisco’s ordinances and how they comport with everyday enforcement of laws leading to deportations.”

In his response, printed in its entirety below, the Sheriff asserts that the Mayor’s request raises legal conflicts; the Sheriff asks for an open and immediate discussion, via a Board of Supervisors committee hearing, to resolve the conflicts, provide clarity, and produce a workable and fair ordinance.

July 15, 2015
Reference: 2015-120

The Honorable Edwin Lee
Mayor
City Hall, Room 200
San Francisco, CA 94102

Dear Mayor Lee:

I received your July 14, 2015 letter regarding the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department’s (SFSD) Federal Immigration communications policy. Your letter does not provide legal clarity regarding my department’s duty under city law. Your request to immediately rescind the policy contributes to the confusion and conflict between the Sanctuary City Ordinance (Administrative Code 12H.2) and the Due Process For All Ordinance (Administrative Code 12I). I urge a resolution of these conflicts so that there is a consistent and uniform understanding of the laws.

Finger pointing around this tragedy serves no purpose other than election year politics. It would serve the public interest to have an immediate open discussion of the Sanctuary City Ordinance and the Due Process For All Ordinance. I propose that you and I and other stakeholders come before a committee hearing with the Board of Supervisors so that a resolution of the conflicts can be achieved in a meaningful and transparent way.

Your request to rescind the policy and require the SFSD to contact federal immigration officials would eviscerate the city’s Due Process For All Ordinance, an ordinance I supported and which you signed into law. Historically, the only reason for SFSD to notify federal immigration officials of an individual’s release has been in relation to honoring an immigration detainer. This practice has been curtailed by the Due Process For All Ordinance and the federal court ruling that any detention for the release of an individual to federal immigration officials without probable cause violates the Due Process Clause and the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

At present, the only request for notification SFSD has received from federal immigration officials is contained in the detainer form which the Due Process For All Ordinance prohibits SFSD from honoring, absent limited circumstances.

The only reason to now notify federal immigration officials of an individual’s release would be to facilitate the release of the individual to the federal immigration officials. This would completely circumvent the requirements and intent of the Sanctuary City Ordinance, the Due Process For All Ordinance and lead to unconstitutional detentions.

In 2013, my office worked closely with the City Attorney’s Office and the Board of Supervisors before and after the Due Process For All Ordinance was implemented to provide guidance on its provisions and effects. SFSD alerted representatives from the City Attorney’s Office, the Board of Supervisors and you of provisions of the Ordinance that posed operational and procedural problems. In early 2015, I met with the Deputy Secretary and Secretary of Homeland Security separately on two occasions to confirm San Francisco’s laws and procedures. I also expressed concern about the legality of the detainer/notification process.

I shall continue to ensure that SFSD policy as it relates to federal immigration issues is consistent with city, state, and federal laws. I therefore request legislative direction to reconcile the conflict inherent in your proposal versus city legislation prohibiting ICE detainers except in specific circumstances. Your request would require the Board of Supervisors to amend the Administrative Code as it relates to cooperation with federal immigration officials and honoring detainers.

In addition to clarifying city law, other solutions should be considered. One such solution is to propose that an Administrative Law Judge review immigration detainers and provide a warrant or finding of probable cause for those persons who federal immigration officials seek to detain.

I will continue to cooperate with any amendments to city legislation by the Board of Supervisors. I look forward to working with all city representatives including the Board of Supervisors and the City Attorney’s Office to provide legal clarity to these sensitive and complex issues.

Sincerely,

ROSS MIRKARIMI
Sheriff

cc London Breed, President of the Board of Supervisors
Board of Supervisors

Beat Sweetening Goes Sour: Writer CW Nevius vs. Judge Susan Illston – Dishonest Reporting in the SF Chronicle

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Meet Senior District Judge Susan Illston, Duke University (B.A., 1970) and Stanford Law School (J.D., 1973). Publications. She was appointed by Bill Clinton:

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Photo via Jason Doiy

And in the other corner, comes now CW Nevius, known for his “breezy writing style” and also known for “having lived in the suburban East Bay until May, 2010, whereupon he moved to San Francisco.Publications. (He was not appointed by Bill Clinton, nor by anyone else.)

Introductions finished. So here you go – Losing a lawsuit can mean financial gainby CW Nevius:

“As Judge Susan Illston said in her ruling, ‘plaintiffs did not prevail on a single substantive motion before the Court.’”

But now let’s look at the entire sentence:

“First, although the Court has found that they gained their desired outcome, plaintiffs did not prevail on a single substantive motion before the Court.”

See how that works? Judge Illston awarded attorneys fees of $300,000-something to the plaintiffs in this particular Sharp Park Golf Course case because they gained their desired outcome.

So Avuncular East Bay Everyman Chuck Nevius chopped up the judge’s sentence because, because why? Because it would have weakened his point? Is this an honest approach for a writer to take? I don’t think so.

And then a reader of The Nevius, the Blessed Nevius, might read his bit and think to ask:

Shouldn’t we blame the judge instead of the environmental group?

And the answer is … no, no we shouldn’t, because the plaintiffs won, at least sort of:

“…[t]he Court finds that plaintiffs’ litigation goal was the halt defendants’ taking of the Frogs and Snakes without first obtaining authorization pursuant to the ESA.”

I’ll tell you, Judge Illston looked at a host of evidence when making her decision, including this bon mot from SFGov:

“…it is extremely important to be able to dispose of the litigation at long last.” 

Here you go, read the whole thing yourself, Gentle Reader. You don’t need to be up-to-speed on “catalyst theory” or whathaveyou to understand what the judge is saying.

Oh, and quoth The Nevius:

“Take the ruling in U.S. District Court on July 1, 2013, which, by any measure, rates as a legal smackdown of the institute.”

But as we’ve seen, in fact, this ruling was NOT “a legal smackdown” “by any measure.”

So, Judge Susan Illston isn’t crazy after all.

(One wonders why the City and County of San Francisco wishes to operate a money-losing White elephant of a golf course in the first place. Our Board of Supervisors has tried to unload it back in aught-eleven, to no avail. And now, in 2015, we’re in a drought what rivals what we experienced in the 1970’s. Oh well.)

IMO, the job of CW Nevius is to promote the goals of his local political faction, the dominant one. That’s why I refer “beat sweeteners” and “source greasers” and the like. He slavishly promotes SFGov’s department heads, among others, and, in return, he gets rewarded by them. That’s his gig. But sometimes the way he promotes his faction is wrong.

Simply wrong.

AARON THE GIANT HAS A POSSE: How Aaron Peskin Would Beat Interim Supervisor Julie Christensen, Were the District 3 Election Held Today

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

Here’s your Aaron Peskin running hard, once again, for Supe of District Three:

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As you can see, Aaron has a posse.

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Have you seen the polling? The thing is that gaffe-prone Julie Christensen, the Sarah Palin of SF politics, still has a few more months to introduce herself to her constituents and we still don’t know what kind of effect the “uncoordinated” and inevitable Ron Conway-type money-dump against Aaron will have.

Now let’s hear from Julie, the unknown redshirt, the redshirt freshman in her 60’s, you know, talking about economic classes, trying, you know, to give a shout-out to her temporary fiefdom:

…both lower and upper and middle, middle upper, lower, you know, fisherman’s wharf, the financial district, the waterfront…”

I think, you know, that’s enough for now.

All right, place your bets:

D3 is Rose Pak’s Chinatown district, and according to Rose, Julie Christensen “doesn’t know jack shit about Chinatown.”http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanf…  She’s also facing former D3 supervisor Aaron Peskin, who can boast significantly greater name recognition.”

As you can see by clicking on the above link, JC is not the favorite in this race, oh well.

All right, play us out, Mssrs. Matier & Ross:

“San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is dropping his affable smile when it comes to Aaron Peskin. The mayor grew a set of fangs last week, warning a collection of the city’s business, labor and tech leaders that there would be consequences if they help the former Board of Supervisors president’s bid to unseat Lee’s handpicked District Three incumbent in November, Supervisor Julie Christensen. “I am paying attention,” the mayor told the assembled guests at a closed-door meeting Tuesday at the Hanson Bridgett law offices, according to people who were there.”

And here’s the stinger:

“And tech investor Ron Conway, one of the mayor’s biggest backers, urged the business community to step up to the plate for Christensen — saying there would be a backlash if he and his tech friends wrote the checks for the mayor’s candidate.”

We’ll see…