This is what it looks like when the SFPD brings it with eight vehicles:
Just a slice of life in the projects…
City Attorney Dennis Herrera, The Happy Warrior:
“Herrera sues short-term rental scofflaws for illegal conversions, unlawful business practices
Two cases target ‘egregious offenders’—both involving Ellis Act evictions of disabled tenants to illegally convert residential apartments into tourist lodging
SAN FRANCISCO (April 23, 2014) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed two separate lawsuits against short-term rental scofflaws for illegally converting residential apartments into commercial tourist lodging, which the property owners then marketed through such online platforms as Airbnb, Homeway.com and VRBO.com. In both cases, the defendants had previously evicted long-term residents from their apartments under the Ellis Act, a state law that allows landlords to evict tenants and withdraw their properties from the residential rental market. Two of the evicted tenants were disabled, according to San Francisco Superior Court and Rent Board records cited in today’s pleadings.
“In the midst of a housing crisis of historic proportions, illegal short-term rental conversions of our scarce residential housing stock risks becoming a major contributing factor,” said Herrera. “The cases I’ve filed today target two egregious offenders. These defendants didn’t just flout state and local law to conduct their illegal businesses, they evicted disabled tenants in order to do so. Today’s cases are the first among several housing-related matters under investigation by my office, and we intend to crack down hard on unlawful conduct that’s exacerbating—and in many cases profiting from—San Francisco’s alarming lack of affordable housing. I’m grateful to the city departments, including the San Francisco Planning Department, and community advocates who have worked with my office to help us pursue these kinds of scofflaws. And I encourage tenants and neighbors to report housing-related wrongdoing online to my office through our Up2Code.org website or the Up2Code app, or by calling our Code Enforcement Hotline at (415) 554-3977.”
Herrera’s complaints filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning detail pervasive violations of the city Planning Code and state Unfair Competition Law at three addresses: 3073-3075 Clay Street, owned by defendants Darren and Valerie Lee; and 734 and 790 Bay Street, which is owned or managed by defendants Lev, Tamara and Tatyana Yurovsky. If successful, the litigation could result in permanent court-ordered injunctions; civil penalties of up to $200 per day for Planning Code violations; up to $2,500 for each unlawful business act; disgorgement of illegally obtained profits; and attorneys’ fees. Though the Ellis Act itself does not preclude the commercial use of properties for tourists where long-term tenants have previously been evicted, Herrera’s litigation emphasized longstanding city policy that tourist conversions of residential properties be aggressively policed “in order to protect the residents and to conserve the limited housing resources.”
According to one of Herrera’s civil actions, defendants Darren and Valerie Lee purchased 3073-3075 Clay Street in 2004, and invoked the Ellis Act in 2005 to evict their tenants from both of the property’s residential units. One of the evicted tenants was disabled. Evidence presented in the complaint found that the Lees have marketed 3075 Clay Street, a four-bedroom, three-bathroom property, for tourist lodging on such vacation websites such as Homeaway.com and VRBO.com since 2009, describing it as an “exquisitely renovated home, in prime Pacific Heights.” The Lees charged their guests between $395 and $595 per night for a minimum stay of three nights. But in doing so, the owners flouted the city’s required conditional use authorization process—depriving neighbors and city planners of their role to first determine whether the conversion is necessary or desirable; compatible with the neighborhood; detrimental to the City’s housing stock; or consistent with the city’s Planning Code or Planning Department’s General Plan. According to Herrera’s complaint, San Francisco’s Planning Department repeatedly cited the Lees for their illegal use of the property for commercial tourist lodging, even collecting penalties of as much $250 per day for violations. The Lees—who at one point assured Planning Department officials that their illegal conduct had stopped—then defiantly resumed marketing and renting their property to tourists. In 3073 Clay Street, the Lees evicted a disabled tenant who had lived in the unit for more than ten years and, until evicted, was paying $1,087 per month. By invoking the Ellis Act, the Lees were legally restricted until August 25, 2011, from re-renting the unit at market rate. But evidence presented in Herrera’s action shows that the Lees admitted to the Planning Department that they had, in fact, re-rented 3073 Clay Street and charged their new residential tenants between $5,000-$7,038 per month.
Herrera’s other civil complaint against Lev, Tamara and Tatyana Yurovsky notes that they, too, used the Ellis Act to evict long-term residential tenants — including one who was disabled — from one of their properties, at 734 Bay Street. Together with a residential unit at another of their properties owned by Lev and Tatyana and managed by Tamara, at 790 Bay Street, the Yurovskys illegally converted their apartments into tourist use beginning in 2010. They marketed the rentals to tourists on Airbnb.com and “greatsfvacation.com” for rates of between $165 and $320 per night, with three-night minimum stays. Though the Yurovsky defendants boasted on social media that they had hosted several hundred tourists, according to evidence detailed in the complaint, they too flouted the city’s conditional use authorization process, violating the San Francisco Planning Code and state law.
The cases are: City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Darren Lee et al., San Francisco Superior Court No. 538857; and City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Tamara Yurovsky et al., San Francisco Superior Court No. 538854. Additional documentation from the case is available on the City Attorney’s website at:http://www.sfcityattorney.org/
Well, here you go:
March & Rally
February 18, 2014 at 9:30am
Across the state, renters face unfair evictions by real estate speculators, rising rents, and slumlords that won’t make repairs. Now more than ever, renters need relief.
On February 18, 2014, renters and allies will unite in Sacramento for a march on the Capitol to demand a fair shake for California renters.
End Evictions by Speculators – Reform the Ellis Act!
Thousands of tenants are being displaced by real estate speculators. Give cities the tools they need to protect residents from eviction.
Create Affordable Housing – Homes & Jobs!
Build safe and affordable rental homes for Californians in need.
Relief for Renters – Reinstate the renters’ rebate!
Five years ago, Schwarzenegger vetoed funds for the renters’ rebate. The funds must be restored.
3) Spread the word! Download a flyer here (bilingual English/Spanish).
Man, San Francisco sure seems to be getting sued a lot by property owners a lot these days.
Get used to it, 2014’s going to be a bumpy ride.
“January 29, 2014
SMALL PROPERTY OWNERS OF SAN FRANCISCO FILE LAWSUIT TO BLOCK LAW
New Ordinance Would Discriminate Against Families Who Move Into Their Own Buildings
SAN FRANCISCO, Tuesday, January 28, 2014 – Today, the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute filed a lawsuit challenging Supervisor John Avalos’ Nonconforming Unit Ordinance on the grounds that the ordinance violates state law and fails to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
The Nonconforming Unit Ordinance would legalize the practice of renovating and expanding “nonconforming units.” Nonconforming units are “grandfathered” residential units that exceed local zoning laws’ density limits. Controversially, the ordinance would also discriminate against nonconforming units that have been the subject of lawful “no-fault” evictions, which are allowed under state and local law. Such units would be denied building permits for up to 10 years following a lawful eviction – even for regular maintenance and minor repairs. Property owners would also be barred from rebuilding their units after a fire or earthquake.
“This legislation punishes families who move into their own buildings,” stated Noni Richen, president of the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute (SPOSFI). “It could cause thousands of lawful housing units to sit vacant while the City denies permits for basic upkeep. Given the current housing shortage, this is unconscionable.”
“As we have shown again and again, we will not allow the City to violate property rights with these illegal schemes,” stated Andrew M. Zacks, SPOSFI’s attorney. “The state’s Ellis Act prohibits this kind of discrimination against lawful evictions. Moreover, cities are required to evaluate a new ordinance’s environmental impacts under CEQA. This legislation was rushed through without proper review.”
Nonconforming units are different from “in-law” units, which are generally unpermitted and illegal. For example, a permitted third unit on a parcel zoned for two units is considered a nonconforming unit. The City Planning Department’s Information and Analysis Group estimates that approximately 52,000 units in the city are nonconforming, comprising some 14% of the city’s housing stock.
A copy of the Nonconforming Unit Ordinance is available at http://zulpc.com/small-
The Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute (“SPOSFI”) is a California nonprofit corporation. SPOSFI advocates for the Small Property Owners of San Francisco, a nonprofit organization that works to promote and preserve home ownership in San Francisco. Its focus is to protect the rights of small property owners and foster opportunities for first-time home buyers. SPOSFI members range from young families to the elderly on fixed incomes, and its membership cuts across all racial, ethnic, and socio-economic strata. Its members include San Francisco residents who own nonconforming residential units in San Francisco.
Zacks & Freedman, P.C. is a law firm dedicated to advocating for the rights of property owners. With experience and knowledge in rent control issues, zoning, permitting, transactional disputes and other real estate matters, Zacks & Freedman, P.C. has successfully advocated its clients’ positions before local administrative tribunals and at all levels of the State and Federal courts.
Read it and weep, San Francisco. We’re getting sued:
“For Immediate Release, January 29, 2014:
San Francisco Housing Associations File Lawsuit to Block Anti-Family Legislation
San Francisco – On Tuesday January 28, 2014, the San Francisco Apartment Association, Coalition for Better Housing and the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of legislation known as the Avalos Ellis Act and Merger Prohibition Legislation.
The legislation was passed by the Board of Supervisors and signed into law by Mayor Ed Lee in violation of building owners’ rights under the state law known as the Ellis Act.
The legislation prohibits owners of multi-unit buildings from combining units in a building for ten years following an Ellis Act eviction or for five years following an owner-move in eviction.
On a practical level, the legislation prevents families who own a building from creating a home that meets their needs. For example, the legislation prevents a family from combining two small units into a larger one to provide a home for a growing family. Couples with young children often find themselves in need of additional space they did not anticipate when they purchased a rental building, yet the legislation punishes them.
Only 2 percent of new housing built in San Francisco since 2001 are single-family homes that provide adequate space for families, often with multiple generations living together. Lack of adequate housing to meet the needs of families has contributed San Francisco losing 5,278 people younger than 18 between 2000 and 2010, according to the census.
“The San Francisco Association of REALTORS® supports the rights of private property owners for the free use of their property as their needs suit them. This legislation only exacerbates the problems families face in finding adequate housing and drives out the families that have created the diversity we want and celebrate in our city,” said Walt Baczkowski, CEO of the San Francisco Association of Realtors.
Because so few single family homes are being constructed, families rely on improving buildings they own, including tenancies in common to add living space. This legislation prohibits them from creating the home they need in a building they own.
“Families are fleeing San Francisco due to a multitude of reasons that include a lack of adequate space for growing families that often include multiple generations. This legislation exacerbates that problem by punishing and limiting options for families who simply seek to create a home that meets the needs of their family,” stated Janan New, Executive Director of the San Francisco Apartment Association. “This legislation punishes hard working families, while doing little to protect renters.”
The lawsuit states that the legislation is pre-empted by state law known as the Ellis Act, which allows building owners to take a building off the rental market and convert those units to condominiums or single -family homes. Under the law, building owners are already required to give occupants up to one year advance notice and provide relocation fees of $5,210 per tenant, up to a maximum of $15,632, plus $3,473 additional for tenants who are senior or disabled.
“My clients are seeking relief from this just-passed legislation which unfairly takes away the right of individuals and families who simply want to create a home for themselves and their family in a building they own,” stated Jim Parrinello, attorney for the plaintiffs.
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And here’s Uber’s first statement on the matter, awkwardly-phrased:
And here’s the second statement, with another graf added:
And here’s the text version of this ham-fisted statement:
“Our hearts go out to the family and victims of the accident that occurred in downtown San Francisco last night. We work with transportation providers across the Bay Area, but we can confirm that this tragedy did not involve a vehicle or provider doing a trip on the Uber system.
Our policy is to immediately deactivate any Uber partner involved in a serious law enforcement matter. For that reason, we urge the police to release information about the driver in question as soon as possible. If the driver is, in fact, a partner of Uber, he or she will immediately be deactivated from using Uber technology.”
“Upcoming Tenant Convention
Please join me and tenant leaders from the Richmond and Haight-Ashbury for a Tenant Convention to be held on Saturday, January 18th at 1:00 p.m., at the Park Branch library (1893 Page St. between Cole and Shrader).
It will build on the momentum that was generated by the Our Richmond/No Eviction event that I convened on December 4, which drew over 70 participants from the Richmond eager to talk about what can be done to stop the eviction crisis that is tearing apart communities in District 1 and throughout the City.
Come and learn about what you can do if you or your neighbors are being faced with eviction and help us to plan for legislation to fight back.
This gathering is sponsored by the San Francisco Tenants Union, Housing Rights Committee, Causa Justa/Just Cause, Senior and Disability Action and ACCE.”
The Central Subway project might make sense politically (let’s take money from taxpayers from all over America to pay for a big project in our little-big city), but it doesn’t make sense from a transit standpoint.
Down down we go, under Market Street, under the MUNI Metro, and under the BART. When you pass by, you should crumple up all your ones and fives on you and throw them into this sinkhole because that’s what you’re already doing and what you will be doing far far into the future.
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Oh, what’s that, “transit justice,” they say? Well, most of the victims of this project live in San Francisco and most of them aren’t caucasoids, so I don’t know what the fuck that phrase means in the context of this ridiculous scheme.
“The project promotes transit justice by providing reliable, efficient, and safe transit for those who live in Chinatown and those who want to visit Chinatown.”
Does City Attorney Dennis Herrera believe this bullshit? No. Does Supervisor Scott Wiener? No. How about closeted Republican Supervisor Mark Farrell? No. How about Board of Supervisors President David Chiu? No.
Don’t dig there and dig it elsewhere
You’re digging it round and it ought to be square
The shape of it is wrong, it’s much too long
And you can’t put a hole where a hole don’t belong
“The Hole in the Ground” was a comic song which was written by Myles Rudge and composed by Ted Dicks. When recorded by Bernard Cribbins and released by EMI on the Parlophone label in 1962, it was a hit in the UK charts.
The song is about a dispute between a workman digging a hole and an officious busybod y wearing a bowler hat. This exemplifies English class conflict of the era and Cribbins switches between a working class Cockney accent, in which he drops his aitches, and a middle class accent for the gentleman in the bowler hat.
I’ll tell you, I saw “upscale nightclub of choice for hipsters” and I was settling in for an epic press release, perhaps the best of 2013 so far.
But then it turned into a more normal press release, into something like listening to an acquaintance talk about a recent trip that was turbo, turbo fun.
Here it is, below, with the more appalling sections in bold.
On the catwalk, well you know what I mean, I like to do my little dance on the catwalk, oh on the catwalk…
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“Infusion Lounge in San Francisco Reveals Spectacular Redesign at Four Year Anniversary Event”
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 27, 2013 — Infusion Lounge, San Francisco’s upscale nightclub of choice for hipsters, celebrities, and global jet-setters, unveiled a dazzling new redesign and lighting installations at its glamorous Four Year Anniversary celebration on Saturday, February 23.
On the red carpet for the official launch were local legends and international icons, including San Francisco 49er Donte Whitner, Bar and Nightclub Magazine’s two-time DJ of the Year, DJ Ikon, and the award-winning designer, Kinney Chan, who originally created the opulent Asian-inspired interior.
Since its Grand Opening on New Year’s 2009, Infusion Lounge has welcomed over a half million of the Bay Area’s finest club goers and has hosted some of the biggest names in music, film and sports, including P Diddy, Mary J Blige, Lebron James, Gerard Butler, LMFAO, Dave Chappelle, Mario Lopez, Vernon Davis, Sergio Romo, Catt Sadler, Kevin Dillon, Apl.de.ap, Terrell Owens, Vida Guerra, Clinton Sparks, ‘Lil John, Rob Thomas, Jake Shields, Tim Lincecum, Jesse Metcalf, Pablo Sandoval and many more.
The extensive new redesign within the 6500 sq. ft club enhances the nightlife experience with the addition of premium VIP tables and a new dance floor area. The brand new state-of-the-art lighting & sound system features a custom-made DJ booth faced with a 7′ digital screen, the latest crowd-scanning laser, 8 stunning new mirror scanner dance lights, a smoke machine, and a custom-designed LED chandelier.
Executive Chef Evan Turner debuted his all-new lounge menu that includes delectable savory appetizers to complement the newly-expanded cocktail menu. The chef has received multiple Diner’s Choice Awards from OpenTable for his Pan-Asian cuisine.
Guests also had the opportunity to enjoy the property’s unique ‘4D’ Experience, which includes Drinks, Dining, Dancing, and Dreamy overnight accommodations at the Hotel Fusion directly upstairs.
Named by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine as one of the World’s “Top 35″ New Nightclubs, Infusion Lounge is located at 124 Ellis Street at Powell near Union Square. It is open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 6 PM-2 AM, with dinner service until 9 PM.
Guest list registration, dinner reservations, and more information are available at sf.infusionlounge.com.
About Infusion Lounge and Hotel Fusion
Infusion Lounge San Francisco and Hotel Fusion are licensed concepts of the InfusionLounge Licensing Corporation and are managed by the C-Two Group.
SOURCE C-Two Group