Local leaders have criticized a proposed mandate that would require the majority of office workplaces to ensure 60% of their employees are working from home on any given day.

Bay Area Leaders Reject Proposed MTC Telecommute Mandate

Bay Area political leaders are throwing cold water on a controversial work-from-home rule proposed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission as part of a regional climate change plan. The proposed mandate, part of a long-term sustainability initiative called Plan Bay Area 2050, would require the majority of office workplaces to ensure 60% of their employees are working from home on any given day.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed speaks with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party state convention at Moscone Center.

City Encourages Corporate Homeless Sweeps by Failing to Condemn Them, Critics Charge

Mayor London Breed’s apparent toleration of an unsanctioned homeless encampment “sweep” by a corporate event company this month has led her critics to ask whether the policy of City Hall is to turn a blind eye to privatized harassment of people living on the streets. The sweep, which occurred just past midnight on the morning of Sept. 10 outside the old Honda dealership on 12th Street, resulted in the disposal of eight people’s belongings. Neither the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing nor the mayor’s office clearly rebuked the actions of the event company, Non Plus Ultra.

TechCrunch rented this event space on Market Street to stage its annual Disrupt conference.

TechCrunch Breaks With Event Company Over Homeless Sweep

An unsanctioned sweep of a homeless encampment in central San Francisco has cost the event company Non Plus Ultra a big customer. The company rousted eight people in the middle of the night on Sept. 10, and – while city officials have largely remained silent – the action didn’t sit well with TechCrunch, which is renting Non Plus Ultra’s SVN West event space at Market Street and South Van Ness Avenue.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed Tuesday extended her eviction moratorium through the end of November. For many tenants, that will delay displacement — a longstanding political issue in the city, as exemplified by this demonstration at the 2014 Pride Parade.

Breed Extends Eviction Moratorium to Dec. 1

Mayor London Breed Tuesday gave San Francisco tenants an additional month to figure out how they will cover rent and avoid eviction, in light of economic hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the soonest landlords could legally evict for nonpayment of rent is Dec. 1. That’s a month later than the previously announced eviction moratorium was set to end. The information was initially made public in a web post from the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco. The San Francisco Public Press received confirmation of these changes from Hugo Ramirez, a staff member at the Mayor’s office.

Air pollution can worsen COVID-19, scientific research suggests, but Bay Area regulators haven't moved to tighten air pollution limits.

Air Pollution Worsens COVID-19, but Bay Area Emissions Limits Are Unchanged

Limits on construction activity were lifted May 17 as California reopened. Reopening presaged a summer-long spike in COVID-19 cases. As the pandemic continues through wildfire season, and San Franciscans breathe in pollution from the fires’ miles-wide blankets of smoke, public health experts and researchers contacted for this article agree that human-created sources of pollution should be limited or eliminated.

A gym in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood is one of many shuttered businesses that have thrown residents out of work, slicing incomes and prompting requests for help with rent.

Gap Widens Between Renter Shortfalls and S.F.’s Assistance Fund

San Francisco residents have requested four times the rent assistance City Hall can provide, indicating a widening gap between resident needs and the city’s ability to help. The city is in the process of giving out $7 million to help people cover rent — but it has received more than $28 million in requests from over 6,800 applications since this spring, according to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, which is disbursing the money from the Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Working From Home May Drastically Change the Workplace Even After the Pandemic

Zoom meetings and other communications tools have made it possible for many white collar workers to remain employed as they work from home. 

Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom says what had once been uncommon, is now a necessity. “Before COVID, about 5% of working days were spent at home and that was done by about 15% of Americans, with an average of one in every three days. During COVID, 42% of us are now working from home so it’s an eight-fold increase.”

Courtesy of Nicholas Bloom. Of the remaining pre-COVID workers, Bloom found that nearly 33% are not employed and the remaining ones are essential workers and others who work directly with people or products. 

When the pandemic is over, Bloom predicts that fewer people will work five days a week in a central office. “We’ll go from very occasionally working from home to something like two to three days a week.” He predicts that will have a major impact on where people will live.