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Re: “Former SFFD Captian Tony Stefani on helping firefighters prevent cancer

Thanks to Tony Stefani and the handful of other faithful crusaders who have fought the good fight against the flame retardant industry and won a great victory; but the toxin war is not over. Please do not miss watching TOXIC HOT SPOT on HBO this weekend, which features the great work this man has done for all of us, and for our children.
As you sit on your flame retardant filled couch watching it, do not despair. There are things you can do. If you want to talk about them, please write to me at Vicki Latham P.A.-C.

Posted by Vicki Latham on 11/28/2013 at 5:27 AM

Re: “SplashData offers peace of mind on important info

Realizing this article was published two years ago, it's time to take a look at how SplashData and their product, SplashID, is fairing today. There is huge backlash against the company at the moment, due to a recent upgrade. The upgrade posts all of a customer's data to SplashDatas Cloud Services, without ever asking the customer for permission. There are also many reports of lost data, people being required to pay in order to access their data (on a free upgrade) and several other issues. Look at the conversation on their Forum (, their FaceBook page, the Apple App Store and Google Play store. It's a disaster and the company is lagging in adequately addressing the issues.

Posted by Steve on 08/12/2013 at 12:34 PM

Re: “'Beach Blanket Babylon' producer invites performers to apply for scholarship

Steve Silver is rolling in his grave!!!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by shelleywerk on 07/03/2013 at 12:08 AM

Re: “'Beach Blanket Babylon' producer invites performers to apply for scholarship

BULLSHIT! The greatest talent of all was treated like shit! SHAME ON YOU! K A R M A!!!

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by shelleywerk on 07/03/2013 at 12:06 AM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

Another example of Capitalism gone amuck. You all are debating whether each of us deserves a roof over our heads? Idiots, complete (capitalist) idiots.

Posted by ricksf1 on 05/19/2013 at 2:49 PM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

As usual, government has worked itself into knots that benefit large corporations and screw small-scale business people.

Posted by neutral_corner on 05/08/2013 at 6:04 PM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

True enough, Molly, though Bob specifically mentioned the middle class. I'll wager most of the people who've been able to find decent apartments recently are fairly well off.

Posted by Dr J on 05/08/2013 at 12:26 PM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

Most property owners paid a lower price for a regulated building because of the limits on profit. Those who bought before rent control was enacted are getting huge Prop 13 subsidies and the massive benefits of artificially suppressed interest rates. But these people hate government interference.

I have a whiny aunt who bought a 3-unit building in the late '80s for less than $400,000 at 13 percent. She got first-time buyer help from the city because she lives in one of the units.

Now, she's paying 4 percent, plus a pittance in property taxes, getting rents at 2009 and 2011 prices and complaining endlessly about how she could do better. She's also on Medicare and Social Security even though she paid almost nothing in. She was married for 12 years and got divorced, and she collects off her ex-hubby's record. Huge double-dipping. Her daughter lived in a rent-controlled unit for years and finally bought a place when dad died and left her a few hundred thou. She whines about rent control constantly because it will lower what she can make off mom's building when she inherits it. I weep for them.

Posted by molly on 05/08/2013 at 12:11 PM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

Excuse me, that 9.3 percent is CA tax alone. The feds will take 28 percent more.

Posted by molly on 05/08/2013 at 12:00 PM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

Small sales tax? Document that.

Renters pay huge income tax to the state and feds, who then transfer money to cities. (9.3 percent on income over $37,000 for a single person.) As an owner, you get tax breaks that lower your income tax, and you get to vote on increasing my income and sales taxes.

If renters work at certain businesses here, part of their pay is taxed via their employers. This lowers their compensation.

If a renter earns $125,000 annually for two years, every dime will be hit hard with taxes. If an owner makes $250,000 after two years in a house, it will be completely tax-free. A lot of people cleaned up in the bubble and passed all the consequences of their speculation off to hard-working, tax-paying renters. There is another bubble forming now.

Posted by molly on 05/08/2013 at 11:59 AM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

Let's lower homeownership costs, too. A 1BR in Pac Heights will be $250,000.

And let's lower your salary.

Fair is fair.

Posted by molly on 05/08/2013 at 11:46 AM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

First, get your facts straight. Rent controlled apartments cannot legally be passed along.

Second, people who rented as recently as 2011 are getting huge relief from the overheated market.

Third, the vacancies in units attached to private houses are called in-law units have nothing to do with rent control. If you think the city should make it easier to "warrant'' an in-law unit, great. Rent control wouldn't impede that. But good luck convincing the NIMBY neighbors.

Fourth, the costs of today's rents have very little to do with how little or much long-term tenants pay. Rents are not set by some number the landlord has in mind as an ideal profit or break-even point on a building. They are set by what people are willing to pay -- and, yes, the supply.

But the supply would not improve dramatically with the abolition of rent control, unless virtually all long-term tenants leave the city. Many would simply move from Pacific Heights or the Marina to the Richmond. This briefly increases one sort of supply and reduces another.

Once the city filled up again, which would happen quickly, landlords would gouge at lease renewal time. They'd know how hard it would be to find another place and move, and they'd ask for increases they might not be able to get on the open market. Why wouldn't they?

Your point about spreading the costs around is really just about the jealousy of people who have better deals. We know this because you concede that rents did not drop in Boston, so that means that today's SF tenants are not paying higher rents to "float'' longer-term tenants. They're doing it because the market has settled at those prices, and if Boston is any indication, they won't go down if rent control is abolished. The newer tenants will gain almost nothing, and they will lose their own stabilization going forward.

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by molly on 05/08/2013 at 11:43 AM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

Wrong, Dr. J. People who rented in 2009, 2010 and 2011 are already benefiting from these regulations since rents have risen so dramatically.

Posted by molly on 05/08/2013 at 11:14 AM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

Actually, rent control is good for people who moved in 2 years ago. Rents have spiked so dramatically that those tenants have gained critical stability through our laws. Meanwhile, landlords have been able to refinance into absurdly low interest rates, which are part of a federal effort to support property owners without any regard for the damage done prudent savers .

Posted by molly on 05/08/2013 at 11:02 AM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

Prop 13 skews the economy far more egregiously than rent control. It makes it easier for affluent people to own more than one home. It keeps units off the market because owners don't have to pay market rates.

Posted by molly on 05/08/2013 at 10:59 AM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

Dr J. hit the nail on the head: "Prop 13 was passed for much the same reason rent control was, to protect fixed-income homeowners from being put on the street by property tax hikes." Rent control may cut into landlords' profits, but it protects tenants from being displaced by excessive rent increases. Both these controls on "the market" have their consequences (the loss of tax revenue from Prop 13 protection on rental properties has surely cost our schools, parks, streets and health services a pretty penny over the years), but they have a public policy purpose to help people stay in their housing, whether they own their home or rent their home. There is no rationale to privileging one set of stakeholders' (landlords) financial stability over another set of stakeholders' (tenants) housing stability.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Econ101 on 05/08/2013 at 8:39 AM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

There are many misconceptions to Rent Control and Prop 13. If one is old enough to remember when Prop 13 was passed, it was passed because counties could unilaterally raise your property taxes by choice. My family was forced to sell our house in Pasadena CA in 1978 because while the payments on my folks $169,000 mortgage was okay, the property taxes rose from $1,400 to over $6,000 in 2 years. The fix to Prop 13? It should only be applied to the primary residents, not all the properties a person owns in the state.

As for pass-throughs to tenants on tax issues. Under the City's ordinances, a landlord cannot pass the cost of General Obligation Bonds to their tenants, not even share the costs. The ONLY bond measure ever passed which allowed landlords to pass 50% of the bond tax increase to tenants was the SFGH Rebuild. That was because landlords and homeowner groups threatened to fight if there wasn't a compromise.

Some claim, a landlord makes up the cost in rent increase. Overwhelmingly, that is not the case. I'll use my old apartment complex as an example. In 2009, there were 20 units, all under Rent Control. The rental increase that year was 1.2% (of the base rent). For our complex, we figured it out. The landlord was entitled to $680 in total rent increases. Yet, in that year, there were 7 bond measures, which raised his Prop Tax by $1,480. Thus, he didn't recoup under rent increases.

There is this presumption because someone bought a home, they own it. Ha, in most cases people are still paying mortgages. Rent Control is directly responsible for 68,000 units currently off the market; sitting empty. I worked for tenant's rights, and I can tell you, there are more and more units being pulled from the market due to Rent Control and the City's constant push to regular private property rights.

Under state law, landlords may pass through capital improvements, and no matter how hard the City tries to override this through rent control, they will never win in court as any local ordinance would violate state law. This is why the City has backed off this issue several times. Another little know secret, if a property under rent control sells and becomes condos, the rent controls may be hard to enforce because the State recognizes the Association as a Non-Profit Private Corporation. There are currently two cases now pending on this issue and it appears the courts are leaning towards the Associations favor..

I never understood why GO Bonds are not shared by all; owners & renters consider most are for schools, parks, street repair, hospital, emergency services, etc. If you had 4 units and an owner, the tax is split 5 ways. Maybe then, renters, who make up 70% of the populace, would study this measures before voting yes on them.

Lastly, what is very notable is most new projects don't require affordable housing as the City has always allowed developers to put money into the City Fund for housing. As one who has worked with the City on this, often, those monies are spent elsewhere or are directed to public housing out in the BayView in the redevelopment phases A, B & C. So, don't think you're going to live at any of the new 1,100 units being built from Castro to 10th St; keep dreaming.

Posted by Garret on 05/07/2013 at 12:57 PM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

Rent Control: It's good for the people who secure rent controlled apartments in the very beginning. Everyone else thereafter is screwed.

I thought I read somewhere that SF has thousands of unoccupied apartments [mostly attached to private homes] that just sit / never rent because the regulations make it unattractive for landlords to rent. ??? As in they'd have to do tens of thousands in renvations to bring the apartments up to code. ??? (and if they're older homes, they might require de-leading, utility metering, utility upgrades, or just have entrances that require tenants to walk through the main house)

I wouldn't go so far to say that lack of rent control would make the city affordable. Boston got rid of rent control, which led to a massive gentrification-renovation spree across the city (Because landlords could recoup the cost of upkeep and fix it into the rent). Housing stock improved, construction workers / contractors were well employed, the city realized a surge in property tax revenue... But Boston prices also increased for very San Francisco-like reasons. At least in Boston the costs are spread out over most of the population, not compounded on the few market rate renters who essentially float a huge population of under market renters who only leave when they pass away. (And at that point, they're just as likely to pass the apartment onto a family member)

Posted by JimmyB on 05/07/2013 at 3:44 AM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

Prop 13 is a separate matter than rent control and the skewed economy rent control promotes. We can discuss why Prop 13 was passed (whether to protect homeowners or to protect commercial property from taxation), but that would take us into a very, very different subject. City College and public schools, for example.

Posted by Marcy on 05/06/2013 at 10:11 PM

Re: “Tenant ousters reach 12-year high as market gets increasingly tight

I am all for a housing subsidy so people who need help can get it. However the problem with Rent Control is it unfairly falls on the back of the property owner and neighbor.

Let the city regulate the subsidy, we all pay into it (including fellow renters) and it's means tested.

Posted by arp on 05/06/2013 at 8:45 PM

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