Posts Tagged ‘Units’

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:


Sometimes when you win, you also lose…

Boy, the UCSF Laurel Heights Campus is Nothing But a Big Fat Waste of 10 Acres – Let’s Hope This Changes Soon

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

I don’t know when this UC “campus” got built, but just look at what was in fashion back in the day:

Huge empty lawns and huge empty driveways that never get used. What were they thinking? Were these lawns a “gift” to the people of San Francisco? Were they something we wanted or appreciated paying for? IDK.

I could see this place out in the country where there’s plenty of space, but I don’t know what it’s doing in SF.

Anyway, we’ll be enjoying this campus as we walk, ride, and drive by for the next half-decade, it looks like.

And then, who knows.

Uh Oh, Now There’s ANOTHER Lawsuit Against the City: Small Property Owners vs. the “Nonconforming Unit Ordinance”

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

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.

To wit:

“January 29, 2014 


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

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.

RAND Corp: GPS Snitch Units in All Cars Could Enforce New Vehicle-Miles-Traveled Tax

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Oh man, you drivers out there, you’re out on the road more and more every year* but the amount of gasoline and diesel ‘n stuff you buy isn’t keeping pace. So when people like you trade in their big old fuel-guzzling SUVs for Toyota Prius hybrids, the amount of gasoline they buy and the concomitant tax they pay to the Govmint goes down, let’s say by a half or two-thirds.

That’s good for Prius drivers but bad for the govmints. This chart from a big new report (free .pdf) out of California’s own RAND Corportation think tank ‘splains it all. See? You people are out there clogging up the roads and tearing up the streets 100% more than you were in 1980, but you’re only buying 50% more fuel:

You drivers are paying more in tax but not as much as if you would be paying if you were taxed by the mile. (That makes you a deadbeat in the eyes of the Powers That Be.)

And things are only going to get “worse” when Tesla Motors’ mainstream Model S hits the streets in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, “late 2012,” right? Electric car drivers pay no gas tax at all, so how are we going to make sure that they pay their fair share to repave our streets ‘n stuff**?

The RANDian eggheads looked at these issues and, out of 15 ideas, decided that these three would be the most practicable: 

What if the authorities put a GPS unit in your car or motorcycle? Not the regular kind of GPS receiver, the good kind, the ones that use differentials or whatever to pinpoint your whereabouts down to a couple yards on a 24-7 basis. 

You don’t like that? Well how about a cell phone in your car next to the engine that would call the government on a regular basis to rat out how miles you’ve driven the past week?

You don’t like that neither? Well how about a system that ID’s your car when you buy gas and then computes your Miles Driven by looking at your particular model’s EPA rating?

And let’s say this all gets implemented in five years. 

Or instead, our electeds could simply raise gas taxes a bit, but that’s not something that they like talking about doing.

Of course they could make this new VMT proposal “revenue neutral” by getting rid of or lowering per-gallon fuel taxes that you pay today. Once a system like this is in place, taxes would correlate more directly with miles driven – it’s up to you if you like that or not.

Welcome to The Future.

Speaking of 1980:

My uncle has a country place
That no one knows about.
He says it used to be a farm
Before the Motor Law.
And on Sundays I elude the Eyes,
And hop the Turbine Freight
To far outside the Wire
Where my white-haired uncle waits.

See how this libertarian, Canadian Power Rock Trio story ends after the jump.

*Not so much this past year or two, but you’ll be out there in force again soon enough.

**And maybe that’s the way it should be. I know all the arguments you’re thinking about – this is a political question, of course.