Friday, May 30, 2014

Ellis Act reform bill passes in State Senate

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 4:00 AM

State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, calls for passage of his measure to modify a state law that would restrict the mass evictions of recently acquired rental properties in San Francisco, during the Senate session at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, May 28, 2014. - AP PHOTO/RICH PEDRONCELLI
  • AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
  • State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, calls for passage of his measure to modify a state law that would restrict the mass evictions of recently acquired rental properties in San Francisco, during the Senate session at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, May 28, 2014.
Legislation proposed by State Senator Mark Leno to limit Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco passed the Senate today in a 21 - 13 vote, after falling three votes shy of passage yesterday. The bill gained the imperative votes after Leno promised to draft amendments differentiating between small family holdings and speculators who abuse the Ellis Act.

Leno's proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1439, would require new property owners in The City to wait five years before invoking the Ellis Act to remove tenants, and restrict landlords from invoking the Ellis Act more than once.

The bill will go before the State Assembly this summer.

“Today’s vote is a significant victory for San Francisco, which is facing an affordable housing crisis,” said Leno. “The Ellis Act was intended to apply to landlords who want to go out of the rental business, but it is now being abused by speculators who quickly vacate properties and resell them for a profit. Many of the displaced tenants are seniors, disabled people and low-income families with deep roots in their communities and no other local affordable housing options available to them. Our bill gives San Francisco an opportunity to stop the bleeding and save the unique fabric of our City.”

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

SF elected officials’ salaries bumped by 2.6 percent

Posted By on Wed, May 28, 2014 at 4:00 AM

San Francisco city workers are not the only ones getting a pay raise. Add the members of the Board of Supervisors and seven other elected officials in The City to the list.

Under a voter-approved salary-setting formula and a vote this month by the Civil Service Commission, San Francisco elected officials will see their salaries climb by a 2.6 percent consumer price index beginning July 1.

That means Mayor Ed Lee's $278,089 salary will increase to $285,319, followed by raises to $252,109, $234,634 and $228,142 for District Attorney George Gascón, City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Public Defender Jeff Adachi, respectively. Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's pay was increased from $212,988 to $218,526, while Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu's salary was raised to $182,175 and Treasurer and Tax Collector Jose Cisneros' to $177,556.

Salaries for the Board of Supervisors will increase from the current $108,049 to $110,858. The current salary is $30,260 above the average $77,789 salary among the eight cities with full-time council members and $22,874 above the average for county supervisors across the state. At that level, San Francisco supervisors will be higher paid than Marin, Napa and Contra Costa county supervisors, who earn between $85,385 to $97,739, but fall below the $145,039 Alameda County supervisors earn as well as the $124,280 earned by San Mateo County supervisors.

The City recently completed negotiations with 26 of 27 labor unions with open contracts, which resulted in pay hikes between 8.5 percent and 9.5 percent total during the next three years.

"This will keep employees ahead of the cost of living projected in each of the three years and will make up some of the ground lost in what we call the lean years," Human Resources Director Micki Callahan told the Civil Service Commission.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Permit consultants take issue with proposed reporting requirements

Posted By on Fri, May 23, 2014 at 4:00 AM

San Francisco is on the verge of increasing reporting requirements for those paid to influence city decision-makers, but some who expedite permits for housing developers and business owners are fighting the proposal for requiring routine disclosure of their City Hall contacts.

San Francisco’s permitting process is notoriously cumbersome and confusing, something
Some permit consultants have expressed concerns with a proposal by Supervisor David Chiu to increase reporting requirements for lobbyists.
  • Some permit consultants have expressed concerns with a proposal by Supervisor David Chiu to increase reporting requirements for lobbyists.
 small-business owners, developers and small-property owners often complain about. That challenge has created a demand for so-called permit expediters, those who know the ins and outs of The City’s government process, particularly the Planning Department, Department of Public Works and Department of Building Inspection.

Proposed legislation from Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, which was approved Thursday by the board’s Government Audit and Oversight Committee, would, for the first time, require permit expediters to register with the Ethics Commission and report whom they meet with on a regular basis. It is one provision of Chiu’s larger proposal to increase lobbying transparency. 

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Supervisors reject SFPUC budget as clean energy battle with mayor escalates

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 4:00 AM

San Francisco’s fight between the mayor and the Board of Supervisors over a clean-energy program escalated Wednesday when the proposed budget of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission was rejected by a board committee in what may be a first for any city department.
The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee rejected the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's proposed budget Wednesday amid an ongoing debate with Mayor Ed Lee over the CleanPowerSF program. - CINDY CHEW/2007 S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Cindy Chew/2007 S.F. examiner file photo
  • The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee rejected the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's proposed budget Wednesday amid an ongoing debate with Mayor Ed Lee over the CleanPowerSF program.

While the department’s delivery of water and electricity is not expected to be impacted since there is time for further negotiations, the budget and finance committee’s denial sent a message that it will not tolerate Mayor Ed Lee’s decision to eliminate the $19.5 million set-aside for CleanPowerSF. The mayor, who has argued that the money should be used for other services, opposed the program.

The funding cut was viewed as a death knell for CleanPowerSF, a community-choice aggregation program, which is allowed under a 2002 state law and would compete with PG&E by offering customers 100 percent renewable energy. 

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mayor Ed Lee launches third annual summer jobs campaign for youth

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 11:45 AM

ed_lee.jpg
Mayor Ed Lee announced today that his office will partner with United Way in an attempt to generate summer jobs for San Franciscans aged 14 - 24. The partnership, called Summer Jobs+ 2014, will serve as a link between local employers and youth. 

This is the third summer that the mayor has made such a push for youth employment. In previous years, the city has exceeded its goals for summer jobs; in 2012, it surpassed its goal by 204 job placements and in 2013, it surpassed its goal by 817 placements. This year, the goal is set for 7,000 youth to be placed in summer jobs, paid internships or paid job training. 

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