This morning's SF Chronicle has an article about the Board of Supervisors lastest proposed legislation, that which will make it difficult, if not impossible to have a garage installed in a property where a tenant has been evicted without cause, such as through the state Ellis Act, or a city Owner Move In Eviction. This bill, proposed by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu is getting the support of Tenants Rights Organizations as well as anti-car activists. I notice that I must have a little libertarian in my liberal self. I DO believe that it is our responsibility as a society to have and maintain affordable housing in the city of San Francisco. I also believe that reduced use of cars in the city would be a terrific thing--reduced congestion, better for the environment, overall improved quality of life. I don't believe that we should be enacting legislation that limits what a certain class of people can do with their property (especially not retroactively for 10 years). Our housing problems should be solved by the community at large, not by a small class of citizens, e.g. small property owners. I'd love to keep my car parked in the garage at home more often (I'd love to see our public transportation improved--dramatically).
I love the diversity in San Francisco, and feel that we should work to
build more affordable housing. I also think that rent control in many
ways creates a very dysfunctional dynamic. By keeping some rents
artifically low, it seems as if some landlords are withholding rental
units from the market unless they get the rents that they want, thereby
artificially reducing supply and keeping the prices high (that might
have been a circular argument). For other landlords, they are not
willing or able to maintain their properties as well as they
could/should, and that's a shame, because many lovely buildings with
architectural interest are not being maintained as they should. (By
the way, I do favor a program of subsidies, so that those in need
wouldn't be forced out of their homes, and those who can pay more for
rentals would do so). Relaxing or eliminating rent control, along with
a program of subsidies and building more affordable housing would allow
us to keep the economic diversity in the city.
This legislation targets owners of multi-unit buildings in North Beach, Telegraph Hill and a few other northern neighborhoods that suffer from congestion. Why not get more cars off the street? I am not sure how this legislation will do anything but penalize a specific group of property owners--those who are choosing not to be landlords, or those who have chosen to live in their own properties.