Posts Tagged ‘housing’

Frisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera Goes After Lem-Ray Properties and Broker Chuck Post Over Section 8 Voucher Discrimination

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Just released:

“Herrera seeks injunction to halt discrimination over Section 8 vouchers

City Attorney calls vouchers ‘an essential tool for many San Franciscans to access affordable housing—especially in crisis like the one we are currently experiencing’

SAN FRANCISCO (April 20, 2016)—City Attorney Dennis Herrera is seeking a tough, enforceable court order to prevent a residential landlord and an affiliated real estate broker from continuing to flout the law by refusing to honor Section 8 vouchers. The motion for preliminary injunction filed in San Francisco Superior Court yesterday would require defendants Lem-Ray Properties, an affiliate of the once-high-flying Lembi real estate empire, and broker Chuck Post to immediately stop their unfair and illegal conduct and comply with the law.

“Housing vouchers are an essential tool for many San Franciscans to access affordable housing—especially in crisis like the one we are currently experiencing,” said Herrera. “Lem-Ray Properties and their real estate broker’s refusal to rent to tenants who rely on these vouchers discriminates against low-income communities. It’s a terrible injustice at a time when city leaders are struggling desperately to preserve San Francisco’s economic, social and cultural diversity.”

The requested injunction follows a March 22 ruling by Judge Ronald E. Quidachay that denied the defendants’ bid to dismiss Herrera’s suit. The ruling affirmed San Francisco’s local law that prohibits landlords from refusing to rent to tenants who intend to use federal housing vouchers.

Section 8 vouchers—so named for Section 8 of the Federal Housing Act, and also known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program—are administered locally by the San Francisco Housing Authority. The program allows low-income families to secure housing in the private rental market by requiring qualifying renters to pay thirty percent of their income toward rent, with Section 8 vouchers covering the remainder. The vouchers impose no additional costs on landlords, and landlords’ refusal to accept them violates local law.

Lem-Ray is among the entities associated with the Lembi family’s once expansive CitiApartments-Skyline Realty empire, which Herrera sued in 2006 for an array of lawless business and tenant harassment practices involving at least 30 properties. The defendant, which is still subject to the 2011 civil injunction Herrera secured in his five-year litigation battle, is among the landlords memorably dubbed “the Scumlords” in an award-winning 2006 exposé by investigative reporter G.W. Schulz. Schulz won first-place honors from the California Newspaper Publishers Association in 2007 for his San Francisco Bay Guardian series on tenant mistreatment by the Lembis, who at the time were among the largest residential property owners in the city. Chuck Post, also named in Herrera’s civil suit, is a real estate broker whose ApartmentsinSF.com website and other online rental postings brazenly flouted local law by advertising that Section 8 vouchers would not be accepted as payment for Lem-Ray’s residential apartments.

Under San Francisco law, property owners and real estate agents are prohibited from refusing to accept federal, state, or local housing subsidies as a form of rental payment, or to indicate in rental advertisements that housing subsidies will not be accepted as payment. Post and Lem-Ray are both alleged to have violated the local law, according to Herrera’s complaint, together with provisions of the California Unfair Competition Law that prohibit unfair and unlawful business practices.

If successful, Herrera’s lawsuit could secure civil penalties against Lem-Ray Properties of up to $6,000 for each violation of its 2011 court order, and civil penalties against both defendants of $2,500 for each violation of the state Unfair Competition Law. Both defendants could also be liable for three times the amount of a single month’s rent in which the landlords charged for any unit in violation of the Police Code provision. Herrera is also seeking a permanent injunction against both parties to bar them from business practices in violation of state or local law.

The case is: City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Chuck M. Post, Lem-Ray Properties I DE, LLC et al., San Francisco Superior Court Case No. 548551, filed Oct. 21, 2015.”

OMG, the New York Times Goes Long-Form re: Frisco Housing – 3500 Words on SFBARF et al – Conor Dougherty IS the Man from Mars

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Here you go:

In Cramped and Costly Bay Area, Cries to Build, Baby, Build – An activist who calls her group BARF is pushing for more housing, pitting cranky homeowners and the political establishment against newcomers who want the region to make room for them, too. By CONOR DOUGHERTY, APRIL 16, 2016″

1. Conor Dougherty? Who’s that? Let’s do a call-and-response. CALL: Meet Conor

“Aging skateboarder and New York Times reporter, in that order. I heart  Oakland, CA”

tfXvudTZ

RESPONSE: Hi Conor!

2. Conor is The Man From Mars – he’s just like Tom Wolfe:

3. Mmmm:

San Francisco does not have enough places to live. Sonja Trauss, a local…

If this piece is about Frisco, Sonja Trauss certainly is not a “local.” Like, her phone is from the 215 and she resides in the 510. It’s kind of like this:

OTOH, if this piece is about the Bay Area, then I guess she could be described that way, except it seems to be about Frisco for the most part. Note the URL:

san-francisco-housing-tech-boom-sf-barf.html

In any event, I’d change the first two words of the 3500(!) from “San Francisco” to “The Bay Area,” you know, but that’s just me, sry.

4. Hey, are we really talking about a “federation” here?

While only two years old, Ms. Trauss’s Renters’ Federation has blazed onto the political scene with youth and bombast and by employing guerrilla tactics…

No, not all! But I can confirm the bombast, always with the bombast:

Sonja Trauss, Grand Marshall at SF Bay Area Renters’ Federation

One wonders if this kind of approach is effective. I’ll tell you, I’m quite familiar with how pro-developer forces try to sway public opinion, if there’s a lot of money to spend on one particular project. (That approach is not bombastic at all. You get somebody like Alex Tourk to work his magic. This costs big big bucks, of course.) OTOH, there’s not a lot of money swashing around these days to pay for a general BUILD BUILD BUILD movement, hence the bombast. One continues to wonder if this kind of approach is effective. One suspects it’s not effective. (AT ALL. Oh well.)

5. Check this…

In January, for instance, she hired a lawyer to go around suing suburbs for not building enough.

… and then check out last graf in the NYT. Nice stinger, Conor!

6. And while we’re on this topic, I’ll note that Junius & Rose partner Andrew J. Junius was the lawyer who was involved with this suit against Lafayette, CA last year, but then things didn’t work out, for whatever reason. And then, in December 2015:

SFBARF now has an ad on craigslist, trying to hire an attorney to handle this lawsuit.

And now Sonja has a new attorney? Good for her, $75 well spent. But I’ll just note that a good lawsuit would never be the topic of a law school exam like this, you know, because it would be too easy for test-takers. No no, you want to test students about crazy lawsuits – that’s the ticket. Or “novel,” I guess that’s the less pejorative term…

7. Wow, what a photo! It’s the opposite of a snapshot. I’ll caption it: “‘Grand Marshall’ Sonja Trauss suddenly turns her head and wonders, once again, if she has mice nibbling at her baseboards.”  Good timez.

8. Now this, this is insanity:

Donald Dewsnup, was arrested and charged with voter fraud — a move that Ms. Trauss claims is political retaliation. “There’s no other explanation for why the district attorney of a major city would investigate and charge one person for registering at an inaccurate address,” she said.

Well, here’s your background, from locally-beloved KevMo in Vice. And I’ll tell you, the DA had dead-bang prima facie evidence direct from Donald Dewsnup himself. So this “no other explanation” crap isn’t “smart” (to use one of the 3500 words), not at all. And I’ll tell you, District Attorney George Gascon was appointed by Developer-supporting Gavin Newsom, and the DA and SFBARF both endorse a similar roster of candidates, so why would the DA “retaliate” against someone who loudly supported and, allegedly, apparently, possibly, illegally voted for D3 Supervisor Julie Christensen? BTW, was Julie Christensen endorsed, IIRC, by George Gascon? He himself is a “Moderate,” right? Anyway, the DA’s investigators looked into things and now we have this prosecution. Indeed, there are OTHER EXPLANATIONS as to why SFBARFer Donald Dewsnup got charged with so many felonies, sry.

9. What what?

Kim-Mai Cutler, a reporter at the TechCrunch news site who has gone on to help found a communal-living start-up called Roam

News to me. Thx, NYT!

10. Hey, thanks for commenting upon:

City Hall, with its Beaux-Arts architecture…

Indeed. The highest classical done in the Western Hemisphere! Higher than even our US Capitol. (By just a tiny, tiny amount. On purpose.)

11. Yep yep:

Nobody seemed to get it.

KISS = Keep It Simple, Smarty. What general populace might notice is a self-indulgent, 12-person circle jerk. So, people don’t even understand your “clever” antics? Ha ha! They must be a bunch of loosers, right? Once again, one questions the effectiveness. I mean, does SFBARF have any victories yet? Oh, they’re just around the corner? (No they’re not, but anyway…)

12. I’m LOL-ing on all the lines about “Erotic Service Provider” Starchild.

“‘Prostitute’ is O.K. as long as it’s said in a respectful way.”

13. Hey, is Jeremy Stoppelman srsly here?

“When I think about all those college grads signing up to work for companies like Yelp, I think it’s a very difficult place to live and get started.”

I’ll just note this recent news:

The Yelp employee who wasn’t making enough money to eat

Does Jeremy think paying his sock puppets / flying monkeys $10k is an act of charity? IDK. But isn’t it ironic?

Dontcha think?

14. Hey, who in this graf has some serious serious rent control in Frisco?

Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of SPUR, an urban policy research organization. “What’s the matter with San Francisco? Why is it that in a city that’s two-thirds renters we have adopted a housing policy that is horrible for renters?”

To repeat, isn’t it ironic? Dontcha think?

Or it’s worth nothing, anywho.

END OF LINE

So, that’s off the top of me head.

I’d just like to thank Conor Dougherty…

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…for explaining our tiny planet to the world. We need coverage like this, IMO.

So please, MSM. More long-form coverage like this.

Moar!

Turns Out That the Best Way to Fill Up the Parking Lot at the Horrible LUCKY PENNY Diner was SHUTTING THE PLACE DOWN

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Here’s the lot of our former LUCKY PENNY (“People Hate Us On YELP!”) as it is these days:

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Man, the only time I’ve seen as many cars here was that week in December when news got out that the joint was going kaput. (Otherwise, this place was like a ghost town in the daytime…)

So now this parcel of land can fulfill its highest and best purpose – as a parking lot for neighboring Trader Joe’s #100:

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Good times.

Hey, are people living inside the Lucky Penny, our Brokedown Palace these days? IDK. But what are the people in there doing?

Oh well.

Just 14 Points About Kara Swisher’s Fawning Interview / Prop F Victory Lap with Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Here you go, a podcast from yesterday:

November 29, 2015 | Re/code Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher – Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO; Holiday Gift Guide

“Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky talks with Kara Swisher about the attacks in Paris, raising “a couple billion” and the future of…”

Start at 14:00:

  1. No Airbnb, you can’t really say you had a recent “victory” in SF. A pyrrhic victory, maybe. (But your $8+ million helped to defeat Prop F, I’ll concede that.)
  2. “It’s hard to be a tech company in SF.” What on Earth does this mean? Why don’t you leave then, if things are so, so hard (but not really, not IRL) here?
  3. Oh, so using SF’s direct democracy ballot system when, as in this case, we have regulatory capture of the $F Democratic Party (and other$) is not only immature but “ridiculously immature?” Again, one wonders why Airbnb chose to come here to this horrible, horrible place.
  4. In regard to the “Airbnb Law,” didn’t Airbnb meet with then-Supervisor David Chiu something on the order of sixty (60) (!) times to craft regs as favorable to Airbnb as practically possible? I think so. Am I wrong on this? David Chiu was/is a partner of Airbnb, non? David Chiu is now in the Assembly thanks, in part, to Airbnb, non? So that’s what some people mean by the term Airbnb Law. (And incidentally, it was/is an unworkable mess, with a very low compliance rate, so far.)
  5. No, Airbnb, Prop F would not have “ban[ned] in-law units.”
  6. No, Airbnb, Prop F would not “have created a private right of action,” for the simple reason that Prop F didn’t pass and yet San Franciscans have a private right of action right now.
  7. Let’s stop now to ponder – does Kara Swisher know any of this stuff? She’s not up-to-speed, apparently, or she is and she wants to conduct a fawning interview. I’ll tell you, so far so good, KS. Mission accomplished.
  8. Does one need to be “against Airbnb” to approve of regulating Airbnb?
  9. “Even the San Francisco Chronicle…” I don’t know what this means. Was this editorial from the Publisher a surprise? Not at all. Also note that the Chron calls for changes to the regs cooked up by Airbnb and David Chiu…
  10. “[T]here’s this notion that we aren’t paying our share of taxes.” Well, here’s where that comes from. How much in hotel taxes should Airbnb have remitted as opposed to the mystery amount that it actually did – well, that’s not really knowable from outside of Airbnb.
  11. “We’re not jerks.” So why not explain what happened with the bus ads? Your choice, Airbnb. Are the people down in Socal who made the ads jerks? What did you do, just throw money around and say, oh don’t bother us, just make a contract with ClearChannel after you run it by a solitary Airbnber – that’ll be fine. We like surprises! And of course, this ad campaign was totally totally independent of anything having to do with Prop F. Of course.
  12. “Volunteers” knocking on 285,000 doors? Weren’t some of those “volunteers” actually paid, like with cash money? Yep. You want to get into this? We can get into this.
  13. Reference to “party houses.” I don’t think this issue was addressed. Or Airbnb Hotel, neither – these We Heart Airbnb podcast people didn’t have time to get into these things. I guess they were too busy with the “Holiday Gift Guide,” IDK.
  14. And what’s this – “I think the vast, vast majority of people are renting the homes they live in.” So what’s that as a number, is it 51%? IDK. Doesn’t Airbnb know this stat for San Francisco, like down to five significant digits? I think so. And how about this – most Airbnb units in SF are being rented out by people who rent out multiple Airbnb units. Is that true? Isn’t that a problem?

I think we’re at 24:00 now, so that’s ten minutes of audio for you to listen to.

(I don’t think I could have handled much more anyway.)

I leave you with this – here’s how one City Hall insider viewed things last summer:

“After Mayor Lee and the Board of Supervisors screwed up short-term rental legislation not once but twice, voters now face a choice: keep current law or replace it with Prop F. Those upset over “ballot box planning” should blame City Hall for not enacting the handful of changes that would have either prevented Prop F from going to the ballot or ensured its defeat.”

Airbnb don’t want no Prop F, so one assumes it’s all prepared for City Hall to take a fresh look at this regulatory mess (that Airbnb helped create) come 2016. Fine.

Oh, and just One More Thing:

andre-the-giant-has-a-posse-copy

Sometimes when you win, you also lose…

EVENT: “Affordable Divis Community Planning Workshop” Coming to THE INDEPENDENT Saturday, December 5th 2015 – Character, Housing, Transit, Infrastructure

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

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Stop the Presses: 24-Hour Diner LUCKY PENNY No Longer 24-Hour – Put This Icon on Your Bucket List, Afore It’s Too Late

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Here’s how it used to be, via the Yelp:

Mon Open 24 hours
Tue Open 24 hours Open now
Wed Open 24 hours
Thu Open 24 hours
Fri Open 24 hours
Sat Open 24 hours
Sun Open 24 hours

But this is how things are now, closing early on Monday Tuesday Wednesday nights:

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(That’s right – not 9:30 P, 9:20 P.)

How soon afore this valuable parcel, betwixt Trader Joe’s & City Target West and smackdab at the crossroads of Geary & Masonic, will become mad million dollar plus condos? IOW, How Soon Is Now?

The writing’s on the wall, so let’s visit, like for the first time in my life, ever, in all my years.

Oh look, no waiting!

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I’m never going back, but I’m glad I went, you know, afore it leaves us…

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

Million-Dollar Housing in the Richmond District: French Vanilla, Strawberry, Vanilla, Pistachio

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

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Largish boxes in The Sand Waste,
Largish boxes made of ticky tacky,
Largish boxes on the sand dunes,
Largish boxes all the same.
There’s a yellow one and a pink one
And a white one and a green one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

The (Proposed) DEMONS ON DIVISADERO – Big Housing Meeting Tonight at 7PM – Club Waziema, 543 Divis

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Get all the deets on tonight’s meeting here, from Nuala Sawyer of Hoodline.

Now here’s what one existing building looks like right now:

7J7C4839 copy

Just saying.

There are pros and cons to having taller residential buildings in this part of the Western Addition, of course…

BRUTAL: New “CAUTION” Sign Depicts Drunk, Moneyed, iPhone-Distracted San Franciscans Fleeing High Rents by Running to Oakland

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

[UPDATE: Oh, it’s a coffee cup, not a red Solo cup – see Comments.]

Ouch, this one hurts.

From Jeremy C. Owens  – left to right, OAKLAND, Drunk San Franciscan, iPhone-Addled San Franciscan, Moneyed San Franciscan, SAN FRANCISCO:

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If only this sign had Oracle Arena heading the other way…