Mon Petit Chiu Chiu

Her flair for the common man. When she was born her Mother asked, "doctor? is she going to live?" He replied, "she will if you get your foot off her throat."
Her flair for the common man. When she was born her Mother asked, “doctor? is she going to live?” He replied, “she will if you get your foot off her throat.”

St. Joan died today. She has been a favorite of mine since The Ed Sullivan Show. At least she went out doing what she loved most, being under the knife.

I had breakfast with Gary at Mission Beach this morning. Afterwards I walked back up Market and saw the remnants of a collision between a lorry truck and a bicycle. It happens all the time in San Francisco. Since the bike lane is to the far right, a vehicle turning right has to check both sides and behind them AND hope there’s nothing in their blind spot as they execute the turn. The green paint on the pavement isn’t effective in stopping two ton vehicles. Nor does it protect  cyclists.

The problem isn’t bikes it’s the half-assed execution of a bike policy in the City. The Board of Supervisors hastily instituted it a couple of years ago so they could get out the press releases branding this the greenest city ever. Trendiness attracts tourists. A truer measure of how green we are can be seen in those huge double-decker sightseeing buses rolling around town with 3 people on them.

But gloss over substance is the M.O. for this Board and it’s how they’ve handled the eviction crisis as well. With the exception of the Campos amendment to make landlords pay eviction rates that reflect the market, there have been no bold initiatives or leadership coming out of Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place.

In March one of my neighbors wrote to our supervisor David Chiu to complain about our Ellis evictions. Chiu responded that he supported Mark Leno’s bill to amend the Ellis Act in the Legislature. (It was later defeated.) “Backing the Leno bill” was the cover a lot of local politicians took while they accepted hundreds of  thousands of dollars from developers. Their contacts in Sacramento probably told them they had the votes to kill it so it was safe to take a stance that pleased the electorate without biting the hand that feeds.

I wrote to Supervisor Chiu after that and mentioned his Leno stance calling it a “stock answer.”  He took umbrage at that but did get his assistant to contact the Tenderloin Housing Clinic to smooth the way for me to get help, something I’d had so much trouble doing. I was grateful for that. But the rental crisis needs bigger answers than just my personal one-off.

One of Chiu’s recent initiatives involved in-law units, the converted garages, basements and stand alone cottages that have existed here for decades. They are illegal but the City has done such a piss poor job of enforcement they don’t even know how many there are. His legislation creates a fast track for owners to register their units to make them legal and bypass the permits process. To placate those who don’t want to register, which is most, he has made it optional. So nothing will really change. But the spin that was put on this was “30-40 thousand new units added to the market!”

Commenting on one of Cher's outfits: "That pattern is busier than a Jehovah's Witness in a 900 unit apartment complex."
Commenting on one of Cher’s outfits: “That pattern is busier than a Jehovah’s Witness in a 900 unit apartment complex.”

Chiu is a tool of San Francisco’s Koch Brothers rolled into one, Ron Conway. The City’s great tech revival has conveniently dovetailed with Conway’s investments.  The tax giveaways to Twitter and Zygna and the reluctance to regulate Airbnb have all benefited his holdings. Along with Mayor Ed Lee, Chiu quietly shepherds Conway’s efforts to destroy the City’s progressive agenda which includes rent control.

When I first lived here the energy of the City came from the street up. The Haight, the Castro, the Fillmore, and the Mission were neighborhoods invigorated by people insisting on living life the way they wanted to live it. Today it’s a top down corporate town motivated by greed.

Chiu is running for the Assembly this fall and will most likely land there in January. Right where the money wants him.


The Eviction Story

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