Homes in San Francisco's Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood are seen against a background of skyscrapers in the city's financial district.

Tens of Thousands Vulnerable to Eviction as California Protections Poised to End

Roughly two years, multiple eviction moratoriums and over $3.6 billion in rent-relief payments after tenant advocates began worrying COVID-19 hardships would push thousands of renters out of their homes in San Francisco and elsewhere, California policy interventions aimed at preventing evictions are poised to end.

Barring an eleventh-hour postponement by lawmakers (not out of the question, given three previous last-minute extensions), California’s eviction protections expire June 30. Among those vulnerable to being forced from their homes are more than 135,000 tenants whose applications for rent relief have been denied, and thousands more whose applications may be denied in the future or not processed by the time protections are lifted.

One of the containment domes at San Onofre nuclear power plant in San Diego.

Court Says California Utilities Commission Must Obey State Public Records Act

In a broad victory for government transparency, an appeals court has ruled that the California Public Utilities Commission must comply with a state law requiring all agencies to promptly release information to the public.

In a unanimous decision issued Friday, a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said the commission’s lengthy and open-ended administrative procedures violate the strict timelines of the California Public Records Act.

The ruling could bring more accountability to the commission, which has faced criticism of excessive secrecy and ineffectiveness, advocates said. It regulates corporations ranging from utilities to ride-hailing services.

Workers in white suits sift through burned debris after the Camp Fire, the largest in California history.

How California Utilities Commission Undermines the Public Records Act

Despite vows to become more transparent, the California Public Utilities Commission has systematically violated the public’s right to know about its handling of deadly disasters and corporate scandals, according to court records and First Amendment attorneys.

Applying century-old laws meant to fight corruption, the commission has effectively limited court enforcement of the state’s public records act. But a state appeals court on May 3 is hearing a lawsuit challenging that practice and could bring more transparency to the commission. 

Coit Tower and the San Francisco Bay are seen behind apartment buildings in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood.

SF Renters on Verge of Winning Collective Bargaining Rights

Groundbreaking tenant protections just got closer to becoming a reality in San Francisco.

City supervisors Monday gave the initial thumbs-up to legislation to protect the formation of tenant associations that, like unions, could collectively bargain with landlords. The three-person Rules Committee voted unanimously to approve the protections, which now move to the full Board of Supervisors.

The San Francisco city attorney's office is fighting in court for the right to ban alleged drug dealers from 50 square blocks, or 21 acres, of the Tenderloin neighborhood.

ACLU Spars With City Attorney’s Office Over Tenderloin Injunctions

The nation’s largest public interest law firm is battling the San Francisco city attorney’s office over its plan to block 28 alleged drug dealers from setting foot in a 50-block area of the Tenderloin. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed a response to the City Attorney’s appeal of a May 2021 ruling that blocked the proposed injunctions. It’s the latest legal step in what’s becoming a drawn-out fight over drug dealing and the rights of people to move freely through San Francisco, and it could have far-reaching implications. 

Public Works eorkers in vests work to clear an encampment.

Report Calls SF’s Homeless Sweeps Practices Illegal

On Thursday, a damning report dropped, offering new data on San Francisco’s practice of sweeping encampments. Authored by the Coalition on Homelessness, the report alleges the Healthy Streets Operation Center regularly fails to offer an adequate number of shelter beds to people on the streets during its cleanup operations and is illegally discarding people’s belongings. The practices create serious legal risk for San Francisco.

Someone's hand is shown holding a phone with text messages on the screen. San Francisco residents who text “Rent” to 1-888-732-3215 will receive information about the statewide eviction moratorium, as well as referrals to groups that help people request financial aid to repay rent and utility debt.

In SF, Send a Text, Learn How to Avoid Eviction

San Francisco residents can now learn how to avoid eviction by sending a text message to a special phone number.

That service is part of an outreach campaign launched Friday by the San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition, a group of tenant-rights organizations. The goal: to teach people their rights and help them apply for rent assistance during the two months left before a statewide moratorium on evictions for unpaid rents expires.