Newsletter

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Dear friends, 

Apologies you haven’t heard from me since summer. Fall has been incredibly busy, working on everything from affordable housing to tenant and small business protections. As we wrap up the legislative season (read on) please don’t forget to VOTE on or before November 5th! Look up your polling place and a sample ballot.

Scroll to the bottom for a list of upcoming Halloween activities - and have a safe & fun holiday!

See you in the neighborhood, 
Aaron 
 
 

Welcoming Goodwill back to the District - 750 Post Street

Goodwill earned the respect and love of many neighbors when it opened up on Bay Street, and when they had to close that North Beach location, I knew we wanted to keep them in District 3. They prioritize integrating with the surrounding community by getting to know their neighbors and inviting them in to understand the powerful work that Goodwill does. It’s appropriate that they ended up in a former lower Nob Hill art gallery - because they have turned 750 Post Street into a work of art! I got a personal tour of the new administrative offices, 6,000 square foot retail “boutique” and state-of-the-art workforce training center, complete with “maker” tools like 3-D printers and laser cutters, as well as recycling technology. We already know that Goodwill is one of the reasons that the Bay Area’s unemployment rate is so low - but to see firsthand the transformative opportunities they are constantly innovating is truly special. Welcome to your new home, Goodwill! 
 
 

Affordable Housing for All - with a little help from the community!

During my first term in office, I fought to move affordable housing forward at both Broadway & Sansome and Broadway & Battery.  As I was leaving office, a third parcel in the waterfront neighborhood opened up by the demolition of the Embarcadero Freeway began community outreach, which ultimately made the project better and more deeply affordable.  We finally broke ground on 125 units of below market-rate affordable family housing at 88 Broadway/735 Davis and childcare facilities that will be operated by the Chinatown YMCA.

After hearings at City Hall, we also heard from hundreds of seniors about the barriers to accessing affordable housing when you are a senior living off of less than 30% of the Area Median Income. District 3, in particular, has the highest concentration of low-income seniors, many of whom live in Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) hotels.  So, in this past budget cycle, President Norman Yee and I created a new low-income senior operating subsidy (“SOS”) program which will ensure that some of our neediest seniors get an opportunity for safe and stable housing that will allow them to comfortably age in place (including at 88 Broadway/735 Davis). This was the result of community organizing efforts by the Dignity Fund Coalition, the Community Tenants Association and Senior Disability Action - and truly proves that organizing gets the goods! I can’t wait to welcome our families and seniors into this new housing when it’s done! 
 
 
 

If We Want To Preserve Affordable Housing, We Must Protect Tenants

Rent-controlled housing is the City’s largest stock of permanently affordable housing, but lax enforcement of local protections against the proliferation of temporary short-term and corporate rentals have plucked thousands of units off of the housing market - exacerbating our affordable housing crisis and incentivizing the displacement of longtime San Franciscans and those living on fixed incomes, particularly in District 3.

As the City continues to identify land and resources to build more affordable housing, the work to preserve current affordable housing and keep tenants in their homes continues. Here is a recap on what I’ve been working on with colleagues and community: 
 
 

 

Rent Board to Consider New Regs - Nov 4th!

Last year, Supervisor Fewer and I authored legislation to reform “pass-through” laws that allow landlords to increase rent (on top of the legal annual rent increases allowed under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance) by charging tenants costs for some of the landlord's financial responsibilities, including property taxes and mortgage.  Unfortunately, some large landlords, despite being extremely wealthy real estate companies, have been exploiting the “reasonable reliance” provision in the Rent Ordinance, claiming in their pass-through petitions that they rely on these permanent rent increases to maintain their buildings. Tenants have appealed these petitions, but the Rent Board has lacked clear guidelines as to how to interpret the “reasonable reliance” provision. So, I authored (along with Supervisors Brown and Fewer), a resolution urging the Rent Board to adopt clear and reasonable Rules & Regulations to guide their decision-making on these appeals.  You can read the legislation here.

The Rent Board has responded and will be holding a special meeting on November 4th at 6:00 PM at 25 Van Ness Avenue, Room 610 to consider new Rules & Regulations. If this is an issue that impacts you or your neighbors, please consider turning out and weighing in! 

More “Pass-Through” Protections!

In 2002, then Supervisors Ammiano and Maxwell authored legislation allowing landlords to pass 50% of property tax increases resulting from GO bond repayment on to tenants. It was a move intended to ensure that GO Bonds used to fund critical infrastructure projets like parks and transportation did not face opposition from property owners, but has proven to be a burden for some tenants, particularly those living on a fixed-income. 

The Board of Supervisors has unanimously passed my legislation reforming the most onerous aspects of GO Bond pass-throughs. It effectively puts an end to “banking” these rent increases and would allow eligible tenants to petition for a hardship waiver for bond pass-throughs. Read more in the SF Examiner.​​​​​​​
 

 

Stopping Reno-victions

Did you know that San Francisco’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance allows owners to temporarily evict tenants during construction and home renovations?  These are “no fault” evictions, (i.e., tenants have done nothing wrong), yet unlike other no-fault evictions, city policies offer only a minimal and generally insufficient safety net for tenants who are displaced during seismic safety retrofits and other capital improvement projects.  Landlords report they have issued more than 400 renovation-related temporary eviction notices since January 2017, with many more going unreported or ending in tenant buyouts that also go unreported.  

Tenants legally have the right to return when construction is completed, but the process often drags out so long that the tenant opts to find stable housing elsewhere, often moving out of the city all together. While many temporary evictions are based upon necessary repairs or upgrades, some landlords and their attorneys use the process to permanently displace tenants, including adding on additional elective work to drag out the displacement, like adding Accessory Dwelling Units.  Even when a landlord acts in good faith, the hardships imposed on tenants can be extreme, particularly for vulnerable populations unable to secure safe and affordable alternative housing. 

After hearing from seniors and immigrant families in District 3 about their own struggles with the exploitation of these loopholes in the law, I introduced legislation to reform the Rent Stabilization Ordinance to ensure that some of our most vulnerable tenants are protected from bad actors who pull permits to do elective work with no clear end in sight in the hopes of permanently displacing rent-controlled tenants. The legislation was unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors, and my next goal is to ensure that those tenants have more support from the City’s affordable housing portfolio when securing temporary housing.
 
Image from Anti displacement Coalition – “Temprorary capital evictions concentration from 1998-2019"

 

Housing for People, Not Corporations - Addressing Corporate Rentals

For the past year, my office has been inundated with complaints about a perceived loophole in our local Short-Term Rental Legislation: the proliferation of Corporate Rentals, particularly in our rent-controlled housing stock. After a year of work with the Planning Department, the the SF Rent Board and advocates, I have introduced legislation to ban corporate rentals in rent-controlled housing and to appropriately regulate them in new construction. The goal is to ensure longterm affordable housing is protected for San Franciscans, not taken off of the market by corporations. Stay tuned for upcoming hearing dates and learn more here: 
 

As PG&E Continues to Ravage California, SF’s Pursuit of Public Power  and Energy Independence Continues

Recently, PG&E’s wildfire prevention power shutdown has been the talk of the town in the Bay Area. All of this is the result of mismanagement that led to the catastrophic Northern California wildfire last year, which eventually resulted in the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is unconscionable that PG&E continues to lobby the State Legislature for bailouts and permission to pass billions of dollars of their liability on to ratepayers. Meanwhile, PG&E shareholder equity has skyrocketed from $9 billion to nearly $20 billion over the past 10 years.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution in opposition to California Assembly Bill 235, which would essentially allow PG&E to use tax-exempt bonds to reduce wildfire-related financing costs. The goal of tax-exempt bonds is to support and promote public good, not subsidize a company’s effort to recover cost of their own mismanagement.

In light of these developments, the City has moved forward with a proposal (enabled by the passage of a Charter Amendment I authored last year) to acquire PG&E’s electric distribution and transmission assets that serve San Francisco. It is time for San Francisco to end our dependence on a grossly mismanaged corporation to provide a public good that the SFPUC has proven it can do safely and affordably. With direct control over our own utility facilities, San Francisco can expand its existing successful efforts to provide clean, green and affordable energy to everyone.

Want to learn more about our plans for energy independence? Join me, and representatives from the California Municipal Utility Association, SF Public Utilities Commission and IBEW Local 1245 in a forum hosted by SPUR and moderated by KQED’s Kevin Stark.

What: San Francisco’s Energy Destiny: A Public Forum 
When: Tuesday, November 12 at 12:30 PM 
Where: SPUR, 654 Mission Street

 
RSVP HERE
 

Vision Zero In Our Streets & Schools, Transit Updates Galore!

 

Walk to School Day Highlights District 3 Organizing

Every year, my office tries to have a presence at as many District 3 schools as possible to talk to parents and students and check in on safety projects. This past year, I’ve been conducting walking safety evaluations of different schools with Central Station School Resource Officer Troy Courtney.  With his help, and the help of District 3 SFMTA CAC representative, Queena Chen, my office has identified safety improvements at each school that we are working with SFMTA to implement. 

 

 

Vision Zero NTIP Funding At Work

After a fatal collision involving a pedicab driver last year, I dedicated funding to expedite near-term improvements connecting to the Embarcadero, while we study the longterm build-out of the Embarcadero Safety Enhancement Project.
 
The Sansome and Battery Connection Project is close to final, with all of the project signage, new crosswalk striping and turn signal changes (including bike head-start signals) finally in place.

A big thank you to SFMTA project managers Mark Dredger and Casey Hildreth, who have worked tirelessly on this project. We are anticipating near-term completion of the concrete islands on the first block of the Battery Street bike lane and the speed bump on Davis Street from Broadway to Jackson Streets. Thank you for your community input on this project! 

I have also allocated funding to study and construct new pedestrian scrambles on Kearny Street, as well as pedestrian improvements at Columbus, Stockton and Green. Thanks to District 3 Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) member, Gabrielle Hauge, for all her advocacy on these projects! 
 

 

Keeping San Francisco Moving: Transit, Transit, Transit!

We know that we need more funding for operations and fleet expansion, as well as more accountability and oversight of transit project delivery to keep San Francisco moving. As the Chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board (SFCTA), I have been working to balance both. This year we kicked off Transit Week by celebrating the community’s efforts to address congestion by putting a revenue measure on this November ballot that would dedicate funding to improving Muni reliability. Read SF Chronicle news coverage here.
 

 

Much Needed Help for Local Businesses during Construction Delays 

Earlier this summer, we heard that the Central Subway completion date has moved further into summer 2021 - another two years from last year’s projected completion date. In order to provide aid to the local business community, Mayor Breed and I called on SFMTA to provide additional resources and services to help preserve local businesses heavily impacted by traffic congestion and daily construction. Our request is in additional to the $5million of construction mitigation fund that both the Mayor and Board of Supervisors allocated from this year’s ERAF surplus fund. We hope that direct and indirect support would help businesses stay open until the final completion. The full detail of the new mitigation fund program and criteria, which includes $1 million of low-interest loans and $4 million of grants, will be released in the coming weeks. I am committed to keeping our local business community thrive as we wait for the benefit of these major improvement projects to come. Read more about it here:
 
 

Jefferson Streetscape Project
Phase II Groundbreaking!

The final phase of the Jefferson Streetscape Project is the culmination of over a decade of effort to ensure that Fisherman’s Wharf remains a vital economic engine and draw for locals and visitors from around the world. We finally started phase two of the project this month and it is expected to be completed in the Fall/ Winter of 2020. Thank you, Department of Public Work, SFMTA, Planning Department, Port of San Francisco, and SF Public Utilities Commission for the collaboration. For more information about the project’s history, overview, and timeline, check out the site here

 
 

Your District 3 Legacy Business Update!

Are you interested learning more about the benefits of becoming a Legacy Business in San Francisco? Please email Lee Hepner for more information! In the meantime, we welcome the following District 3 Small Businesses to the roster - congratulations!
In the queue for approval: Fiore d’Italia, Caffe Sappore, Peña Pachamama...and more!
 

 

Upcoming Events

Cedar Alley Strategy Meeting - Oct. 30

I know that the situation on Cedar Alley is extremely challenging and I need your help to identify ways to address the concerns for the entire community. If you are a resident or a business owner near Cedar Alley, please join me and Supervisor Matt Haney’s office, Police Department, and City Departments on October 30th at CPMC. Together, I know we will be able to identify concrete steps we can take to ensure everyone feels safe in the neighborhood. Special thanks to Lower Polk Neighbors and Lower Polks CBD for organizing this important conversation.

Find out more about the event here.
RSVP by sending email to ewaltemade@lowerpolkcbd.org
 
 

Juanita MORE!
Polks Street Halloween - 10/31

The Lower Polk Community Benefit District and Lower Polk Neighbors is hosting a Halloween Party with San Francisco drag icon, Juanita MORE!. Come for the live music, costume contest, and the photo booth, but stay to celebrate the neighborhood’s LGBT past and help preserve San Francisco’s rich queer culture!

If you want to help out, please send your interest to ewaltemade@lowerpolkcbd.org

When: Thursday, Oct. 31st, 7pm - 10pm 
Where: 99 Fern Alley (Fern Street between Polk and Larkin) 
 
 

Trick-or-Treat on the Hill - 10/31

Children from all over the neighborhood are invited to join Polk Street Merchants, between Pacific and Filbert to Trick-or-Treat. Just look for the Cole Hardware balloons outside businesses to find participating merchants with treats. 

Special thanks to the Polk Street businesses for kicking off the season with a family-friendly event!

When: Thursday, October 31, 2019, 2:00pm - 5:30pm
Where: Polk Street with the Cole Hardware balloons (between Pacific and Filbert)
 
 

Pumpkin Carving Contest at this week's North Beach First Fridays - 11/1

Come join Macchiarini Creative Design and Metalworks SF at their pumpkin carving contest during month's First Fridays art walk event. There will be drinks, food, pumpkin carving and prizes for the contest winners. The Grand Prize winner will be awarded a $200 discount at a Metalwroks SF jewelry making class!

When: Friday, November 1, 2019, 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Where: Macchiarini Creative Design and Metalworks SF (1544 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133)

North Beach First Fridays Artwalk 

The first Friday of each month, the North Beach Business District collectively opens its doors, encouraging residents, visitors and tourists to explore and appreciate the ever-growing collections of art and entertainment that diversify and energize our neighborhood. Learn more about North Beach First Friday and download the map of participating galleries at www.northbeachfirstfridays.org.
 
 

Bay Area Science Festival - Discovery Day at Oracle Park - 11/2

When: Saturday, November 2, 2019, 11:00am - 4:40pm
Where: Oracle Park, King Street at Second Street
More Infowww.bayareasciencefestival.org
 
 

San Francisco Music Hall of Fame: Groundbreaking Party - 11/10

Check out the FREE Block Party on November 10th. Hear some inspiring community speakers, taste delicious dishes from La Cocina and sip on some craft beverages from El Lope and Contraband Coffee, and help support one of the most vibrant communities in San Francisco!

Special thanks to Lower Polk Community Benefit District, Larkin Street Youth Services, Blanket the Homeless, Coalition of Homelessness, La Cocina, El Lopo, Contraband Coffee, Fleet Wood and Music City for putting on this amazing event and activating the vibrancy of our community. 

When: Sunday, Nov. 10th, 1pm - 7pm
Where: 99 Fern Alley (Fern Street between Polk and Larkin) 
 
 

TelHi's 41th Annual
Thanksgiving Dinner - 11/21

 
 

Join the District 3 Office Team!

The District 3 Office is accepting applications for an Administrative Aide position starting January 1, 2020. You can read the full job description here. If you are interested, please submit a resume and cover letter addressing the criteria outlined in the posting, and email it to Sunny Angulo in the District 3 office. If you are eligible for consideration, we will follow up to set up an in-person interview. 

We are also always looking for policy fellows and front-desk interns, so please consider joining our team! You can read the full internship description here.
 
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