Rents may be falling, but the Bay Area is still unaffordable and has for years fallen short of its housing construction goals. The construction shortfall is particularly pronounced in subsidized housing. While the pandemic is changing the way people work and socialize and has resulted in economic downturn, acquiring land and building remain expensive. Sarah Karlinsky, senior advisor at the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, a public policy think tank better known as SPUR, has published a report indicating that Bay Area municipalities should be constructing 45,000 units of housing per year.
Decades of explicitly and implicitly racist policies have left the Bay Area not just unaffordable, but also deeply segregated, panelists told a conference in San Francisco last week.
The documentary “5 Blocks,” by Robert Cortlandt and Dan Goldes, explores the history, economic downturn and efforts to revitalize San Francisco’s mid-Market Street neighborhood, an area whose focal point is just five blocks. Goldes discusses what he learned in his conversations with neighborhood residents from different backgrounds, including an SRO dweller and a tech worker. “I think the thing that I found most striking was that, despite the fact that there is extreme poverty and extreme wealth, side by side, a lot of folks really want the same things … a safer, cleaner neighborhood.” — Dan Goldes, “5 Blocks” filmmaker
An excerpt from the book, “Ten Years That Shook the City: San Francisco 1968-1978” — about how so-called urban renewal displaced African Americans from their enclave in the city.
A segment from our radio show, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM, available in San Francisco.
An analysis of public records for more than three dozen buildings involved in a tenant lawsuit against Veritas Investments Inc. shows the number of reported problems and citations rose sharply after the giant landlord acquired the properties. These buildings also received a record number of violation notices.
Soon after becoming governor, Gavin Newsom unveiled a plan to speed housing construction — but at the expense of the landmark California Environmental Quality Act, which has acted as a check on development for 50 years. Newsom crafted his blueprint with input from builders and the largest construction union. Prominent environmental groups were excluded, however.
More than 100 tenants in 39 rent-controlled apartment buildings have sued the owner, Veritas Investment Inc., for behavior they allege is designed to push them out in favor of new, higher-paying residents. The $3 billion company denies the charges, alleging the lawsuit is a money grab.
As Californians battle this fall over a ballot measure to allow cities much wider leeway to impose all sorts of rent control, both sides of the debate throw around citations to academic papers, economic studies and seemingly compelling statistics. But a review of the available research shows that both sides are wrong.
Veritas Investments owns nearly 200 buildings in the city. It’s been a target for tenant advocates, who accuse the company of building a business model that relies on pushing tenants out of rent-controlled units so they can be re-rented for much more. Veritas disputes the accusations that is “hostile or negligent” toward tenants.