Posts Tagged ‘civic center’

Can the Managers of the New 100 Van Ness Apartment Building Get Away with Making “Security Deposits” Non-Refundable? We’ll See

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Click on “Lease Now” to see this:

“*To reserve your new home, please click the “Get Approved” button above to complete our rental application and start the screening process. You will be required to submit a payment of $35.00 for the non-refundable Application Fee and the Security Deposit of $500-$1000 for the apartment is due within 72 hours by drop off or overnight mail. After three days from the date of application, the Security Deposit is non-refundable.”

Well, first off, “home.” Like, it’s not even a condo, man. How about “apartment” instead?

And second off, I ain’t never paid no nonrefundable application fee. What you do is ask how much the  credit / eviction check costs them and then offer to pay that. If that’s a no-go, then perhaps you shouldn’t move in? (I realize that building employees have to deal with flaky people all the time, but I’m not the flaky people category, I don’t think.*)

What really grinds my gears is the idea of any building manager talking about any kind of “non-refundable” deposit. Such a deposit does not exist under California law.

Check it:

(m) “No lease or rental agreement may contain a provision characterizing any security as “nonrefundable.”

You want to quibble? Fine, quibble, but this non-refundable status is agin the law, agin the law I tells you!

Most people in Cali can market apartments without prima facie violations of Cali law. So why can’t you, 100 Van Ness? Why can’t you?

Just asking.

Oh what’s that, what’s $35 to somebody who thinks moving into the Outer Twitterloin at $4000 for a one-bedroom is a good idea? All right, well, maybe it’s not a good idea to move into this building. Realize that most of the non-BMR people are probably not going to renew after their first year (just like at the abysmal “luxury” Fillmore Center apartments near Japantown, where you can pay thousands and thousands per month in rent, and for what). So, why are so many people going to move out of 100 VN after just a year? Think on that. Part of the reason might have to do with dealing with the 20-somethings in “building management.” Are they going to come in and say, uh oh, you walked on our cheap, brand-new hardwood flooring in high heels so here’s a bill for $7,000 for reflooring? Maybe. (Stuff like that happens just around the corner of 100VN all the time.) And there’s the nabe, which might wear you down over the months. OTOH, maybe this building is a dream come true for you, right next to Van Ness Station and not too far from the Civic Center BART Station. Fine, be my guest. Enjoy. But the same 20-something chicas who don’t understand why it’s not kosher to expropriate four-figure “Security Deposits” in the Great State of California just might not be aware of all the other laws what protect you.

Oh, what’s that, it’s OK to retain a “holding deposit?” Well, we aren’t at that point yet, because you all labeled it a “Security Deposit.” I’m now satisfied that you all don’t know what you’re doing. Welcome to Cali, 100VN Management. It’s going to be a bumpy ride…

END OF LINE

*Like the last time I bought a car, I didn’t even test drive it. No salesperson neither – the “big guy” had to assign a salesperson to me at the end of the sales process in order to “get the transaction to go through.” This sales process took about seven minutes. Later on, the salesperson had to “orient” me. I asked for the 30-second version of his 20-minute spiel. It was basically this: “Never press this button.” And I’ll tell you, that was good advice. I had already figured the downsides of pressing the button and if I hadn’t, then I would have figured things out fast, like during the times that I pressed that button by mistake. In any event, what he meant was, never press this button unless you know what it does and the conditions are right for it.  The point is that I’m not a flake so I never pay no nonrefundable application fee and you shouldn’t either. Sometimes, like back during Dot Com 1 in the late ’90’s, landlords would harvest thousands of dollars in application fees for just one unit over one weekend. Did the LLs actually run the checks potential tenants paid for? Nope. That’s what made it a scam. A nice, four-figure, income tax-free scam. These days, they charge you $35 to run a check that costs them even less than before, like a few bucks max. Oh well.  

NIMBY’s vs. the SFMTA: Local Objections to New Traffic Signals on McAllister at Broderick and Scott for the 5 Fulton

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

This effort appears to be similar to the SFMTA’s attempt to add traffic signals on Haight at Scott and Pierce.

This isn’t the worst example of NIMBYism, but I’d say it’s fairly alarmist, fairly absurd.

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I’ll just say that, generally speaking, it’s generally harder to get around town these days by car, by bike and by MUNI, compared with ten or twenty years ago. Part of this has to do with our newer, absurdly-wide sidewalks, designed for pedestrian “comfort.”

And yet, most ped and cyclist deaths in San Francisco involve fault from the peds and cyclists. Here’s 2014:

The Police Department found that in the 17 pedestrian deaths, drivers were responsible for eight and pedestrians were responsible for nine. Bicyclists were responsible in all three instances when they died.” 

(I should do a video on how to be a pedestrian in SF. It might involve some jaywalking but it would also involve extreme alertness on behalf of peds. You see, the way to prevent a lot of ped deaths in SF would be to get inside their heads to see what’s going wrong.)

IMO, the SFMTA should leave McAllister alone and then start taking out as many bus stops as politically possible.

I’ll tell you, not that many cyclists pass by Broderick and McAllister compared with Scott and McAllister, it seems, owing to geography. So looking at McAllister and Scott, it seems that the lights will be timed against cyclists using FULTON DIVISADERO MCALLISTER eastbound as an alternative to the already-overcrowded Wiggle route to get from the Golden Gate Park Panhandle to the Financh.

So for my own selfish reasons, I’d prefer that MUNI not make these changes, but who am I to stand in their way? What the MUNI people are saying is that we’ll all be better off overall, and 40 seconds each way each day will add up to millions of seconds, eventually.

In conclusion, meh. If MUNI wants to put in lights, we should let them do it.

Advice for San Francisco Newcomers: What’s “Rent Control?” It’s Something You Might Want – Not Now, But Next Year

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Or not. It’s hard to say how much rent control would benefit you next year once your lease is up.

But these days, there’s a ton of SF newcomers who are just figuring out the big benefit of RC.

Check it:

“Unfortunately most residents can’t afford to stay longer that 1 year. We’ve been living at Argenta for 10 months and have been very happy with the apartment. But we began to suspect that things weren’t quite right with management shortly after moving in. People we met in the elevator, lobby and our floor were all saying the same thing — rent had been raised to ridiculous heights and they were moving out. Over the last 10 months we have watched many of the tenants on our floor leave because of the rent increase.”

So that’s what you get with your brand-new building – a huge rent increase after your first year.

Generally speaking, older buildings have rent control and newer buildings do not. One exception is federal land, like Treasure Island and The Presidio. In those places, you can live in an older building but still get with huge rent increases.

Of course, it always pays to check.

Here’s a test – can you tell which places are rent controlled?

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You see, it’s hard.

Choose wisely.

Argenta Inquest: How Can a One-Bedroom Apartment in the Twitterloin Qualify as a “Luxury Home”

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

That’s the Question of the Day.

Here it is, the Argenta, at 10th and Market on 1 Polk Street:

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$107K* per year(!) for a one-bedroom – am I reading that right?

I mean, wouldn’t have a second bedroom be a kind of luxury in itself?

*”From $8920” a month times 12 months in a year…

News Flash for Willie Brown: SF WAS NOT IS NOT AND WILL NEVER BE the Sister City of Paris – The Real Sister is Rome, Italy

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Here’s Willie Brown (Mayor of San Francisco, 1996 to Present) going on about:

…our sister city Paris…

The problem with that is that Paris only has one (1) sister city and it’s not San Francisco.

It’s Rome.

They even have a saying about this:

Only Paris is worthy of Rome; only Rome is worthy of Paris.

Seule Paris est digne de Rome; seule Rome est digne de Paris

Solo Parigi è degna di Roma; solo Roma è degna di Parigi.

Ergo, San Francisco is not “worthy” of being the Sister City of either Paris or Rome.

Sorry, Mayor Brown.

The fact is that Paris is in an exclusive sister-city relationship. It’s an “elaborate cultural partnership,” as they say.

Now, here’s our real relationship with The City of Light. We’ve signed a few of these things:

“Pacts of friendship and cooperation signed by the City of Paris.”

Les pactes d’amitié et de coopération signés par la Ville de Paris

Which, IRL, is rien de bien grave* (no biggee).

All right, TTFN. But remember:

We’ll Always Never Have Paris.

*Paris, France is pals with just about everybody:

2014: Rome 
2014: Seoul 
2014: Mexico 
2013: Montevideo 
2013: Amsterdam 
2011: Yerevan 
2011: Dakar
2011: Sao Paulo, signed an amendment to the Cooperation Agreement of 2004 
2011: Yerevan 
2011: Rio de Janeiro 
2011: Ramallah, signed a pact of friendship and cooperation inauguration, the Garden of Nations, a bust by French sculptor Emile-Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929), including Ramallah to Paris 
2010: Doha 
2010: Tel Aviv-Jaffa 
2009: Istanbul 
2009: Quebec 
2009: San Francisco  
2009: Rio de Janeiro 
2009: Quebec 
2009: Jericho 
2009: Istanbul  
2007: Phnom Penh 
2006: Montreal  
2006: Cairo  
2006: Beirut  
2005: Copenhagen  
2004: Tunis  
2004: Sao Paulo 
2004: Rabat  
2004: Casablanca 
2003 St. Petersburg 
2003: Quebec 
2003: Algiers 
2002: Geneva 
2001: Porto Alegre (joint statement) 
2001: London 
2000: Madrid 
2000: Athens 
2000 (updated in 2004): Washington 
1999: Warsaw 
1999: OVA (Arab Towns Organization) 
1999: Mexico 
1999: Buenos Aires 
1999: Amman 
1998: Sydney 
1998: Sofia 
1998: Lisbon 
1998: Yerevan 
1997: Tbilisi 
1997, Santiago  
1997: St. Petersburg 
1997: Riyadh  
1997: Prague 
1997: Beijing 
1996: San Francisco 
1996: Quebec 
1996: Chicago 
1995: Jakarta 
1993: Beirut 
1992: Moscow 
1991: Seoul 
1987: Sanaa  
1987: Berlin 
1987: Amman 
1985: Cairo 
1982: Tokyo 
1958: Kyoto 
1956: Rome (Twin Exclusive)

ATTENTION RESIDENTS OF THE NEW “NEMA” BUILDING: A Massive Rent Increase is Coming Your Way – ‘Cause No Rent Control

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

But don’t take my word for it, listen to one of your neighbors at 8 Tenth Street, 94103, via the Yelp:

“Please read this if you are considering any non-rent control building in San Francisco. I wish someone had told me this when I moved to the city and chose Nema. Please consider this advice.

If you have visited Nema, you probably can tell that the management, amenities and staff are outstanding. You may also notice that everyone living in the building has just moved from another city or state. Here’s why:

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you rent in a non-rent control building, unless you can sign a multi-year lease. Could you afford a double digit rent increase? 50% rent increase? Is your income doubling next year? It seems far away now, but you will probably want to renew your lease. Now is the time to make a good decision about housing, not next year because you will be paying much more then.”

So basically, buildings built AFTER rent control came to San Francisco in 1979 don’t have no rent control. (The relevant date is printed on your landlord’s Occupancy Permit, but if your crib went up in 1980 or later, don’t even bother checking.)

That means that your friends renting units in older buildings will face a maximum annual rent increase limited to 60% of a certain Cost of Living Index dealing with the Bay Area. That means one-something percent per year.

OTOH, if you moved into the NeMA at $1950 per month last year (as some did, 2nd or 3rd floor, lousy view* – Unit 324, for example**) and your lease is coming up, consider that there are no units available now for less than $2800 (I’m srsly – some studios go for $4000+)

Are you, the NeMA renter, looking at a 40% rent increase soon? 

If not this year, what about the next year too? How long will it take to have a 40% increase for your unit, you know, cumulatively?

Sooner than you think Auslander.

Sooner than you think, Outlander.

Why don’t websites aimed at tourists and newcomers tell you this? Well, because they’re on the take from … The NEMA!

I assign this story to the San Francisco Chronicle – this one writes itself. (This would be a good CW Nevius, I’m seriously.)

*Compared with the rest of the units in the Nema.

**This was not a BMR (Below Market Rate) unit reserved for those people making less than $38,000 per year, no no. Those places went for around $950 per month. I’m talking about market rate units back when market rate was $1950 per month for the least desirable apartments at NeMA – that was all the way back in 2013. 

SFGov’s “Friday Night Market” at UN Plaza is Surprisingly Expensive – But At Least It Has Coors Light “Craft Beer”

Monday, September 8th, 2014

JSpiderSF made it down to the inaugural Friday Night Market down in Civic Center. Here’s his report:

“Friday Night Markets in Civic Center! Because what mid-market needs is $13 cocktails, $8 cans of beer, $6 coors light”

And here’s his photo:

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Of course “craft beer” is defined as either:

1. Beer not brewed by one of the big “mega-brewery” corporations; or

2. Beer that’s been marked up 1000% by middlemen

Mmmmm… crafty.

Finally, a Night Market in SF _Not_ Run by Shrimp Boy – But Will Civic Center’s “Friday Night Market” be Marred by Crime Reports?

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

(Man, the URL for Friday Night Market sure is hard to get to.)

My point is that any street crime happening anywhere near UN Plaza during the next eight or nine Fridays will be attributed to the night market, right? Just as with Pride Weekend, right?

“Venture out to the United Nations Plaza (8th St. and Market St.) for The Night Market, an exciting urban evening experience. The Night Market will feature food, fashion trucks, entertainment and arts/crafts. The event will be held every Friday night starting this Friday, September 5 and ending October 24 from 4:00pm – 9:00pm.”

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So we’ll see how this one goes. (I wonder if they’ll run this on the night of Halloween 2014.)

Anyway, this certainly is a bold move – I’m glad I’m not responsible for running this event…

Remembering the Aughts: When San Francisco Hippies Wore Crocs Shoes, Srsly

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

As seen in Civic Center back in the aughts:

How will we remember The Aughts? IDK.

This is how I’ll remember the aughts, a time when you (well, not you yourself, but some people, well, maybe just one person, for some reason) could easily recover from big, big mistakes like this

Confession: I still have a pair of Crocs (pink, size XXL, thank you very much) from that time Costco sold a few container ships worth, back in the aughts. Of course they weren’t counterfeit, but they were less than $15 and that pissed off the Crocs people oh well.

Seattle Had Its Spoon Man, But San Francisco Had Pigeon Man – Remembering Civic Center’s #1 Pigeon-Feeder of 2012

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Forget about superwellknown Spoon Man from two decades back.

Just two years ago, San Francisco had its own icon – Pigeon Man.

All the pigeons of Civic Center knew Pigeon Man was coming – they’d walk with him down Larkin, Pied Piper-style. See?

Click to expand

They used the crosswalk better than the average San Francisco pedestrian:

Here was the reward, some kind of grain, like what the Road Runner used to peck at:

Hurray!