Evidence Mounting of Market Solution to Housing

By Thomas D. Elias : californiafocus – excerpt

New evidence arrives almost every day backing the concept of a market-based solution to California’s housing shortage, one that does not have to involve politicians at all.

Of course, that offends politicos like San Francisco’s Democratic state Sen. Scott Wiener, who persists in the notion that high-density, high-rise apartments and condominiums are the answer.

In a sense, he’s right. For the market-based solution that’s fast taking shape does involve high rises and high density – just not in new buildings. Rather, housing will almost certainly occupy space now leased by insurance companies, law firms, venture capitalists, bank headquarters – almost every kind of white collar business… (more)

This what people have been been saying for a while. Re-purpose the existing properties.

Advocates say canceling rent, mortgage payments during pandemic more helpful than delay of payment

By Lisa Deaderick : sandiegouniontribune – excerpt

San Diego Rent Strike 2020 is one local organization advocating for the cancellation of rent and mortgage payments during the COVID-19 pandemic

While the moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic provided initial relief, the question of how to pay that back rent continues to hover. If the work environment we were once familiar with remains unsafe, and people can’t rely on the one-time stimulus check or unemployment benefits to cover all of their necessities, the likelihood that most people can afford to pay even one month of these delayed payments is pretty low.

One part of the response to the looming accumulation of this kind of debt has been to protest for the cancellation of rent and mortgage payments during the pandemic. Not a hold or suspension that requires the missed payments to be made later, but an outright cancellation of having to make those payments at all…(more)

A Backlash Against Cities Would Be Dangerous

By Scott Wiener, Anthony Iron : theatlantic – excerpt

Undue fears of urban density warp public policy—and make Americans more vulnerable.

Cities are a boon for public health—even now. As public-health experts have known for decades, people who live in a city are likely to walk and bike more often, and they live closer to community services such as grocery stores. Urban density also supports faster emergency-response times, better hospital staffing, and a greater concentration of intensive-care beds and other health-care resources.

In fact, no correlation exists between population density and rates of COVID-19 infection, according to recent studies examining the disease in China and Chicago. But if state and local governments still conclude that density itself is a problem, they are more likely to promote suburban sprawl as a matter of law—instead of making the accommodations, in their housing stock and their streetscapes, that allow people to live in cities safely and move about them comfortably…

One difference between New York City and San Francisco? The Bay Area responded to the pandemic earlier and more decisively than New York did, imposing social-distancing measures before major cities on the East Coast.…(more)

There is a difference between opposing cities and opposing unlimited growth in cities. The headline is misleading and the logic is missing. Senator Wiener aligns himself with the administration in Washington if he suggests we should return to business as usual. Most of his constituents disagree.

After being cooped up in tight quarters for weeks people are eager to get out. There was an exit from cities underway before the pandemic. Now the pace is picking up. Many workers have successfully transitioned to working at home and do not plan to return not the office. Employers are re-thinking their need for office space.

Cutting down on commuters does a better job of clearing the air than building dense transit-oriented housing and offices. The new normal will not be dense development. New health standards will require more space between people, throwing the crowding for profit principal  out. This will probably devalue property and reduce local taxes. Downsizing seems inevitable.

RELATED:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York was blunt about the rationale behind this time of quarantine.

“There is a density level in NYC that is destructive,” he tweeted Sunday, after similar comments at one of his daily press briefings. He’d seen New Yorkers out in parks together, behaving as if this were a normal sunny spring weekend, and he was dismayed. Togetherness itself could now be deadly.

“It has to stop and it has to stop now,” he tweeted. “NYC must develop an immediate plan to reduce density.”… (more)

Veritas, San Francisco’s largest landlord with reported $3B in assets, received PPP ‘small business’ loan

By : missionlocal – excerpt

Veritas, the massive real estate company that owns more than 200 San Francisco properties and in recent years reported a value exceeding $3 billion, was the recipient of a Payroll Protection Program loan of the sort ostensibly earmarked for small businesses.

“We applied for and received a Payroll Protection Program loan, which we also communicated to the entire Veritas workforce,” the company said via a statement after Mission Local this morning phoned Veritas CEO Yang-Pat Au. “The PPP loan enables us to save the jobs of our front line employees, and is critical to our business operations and keeping these San Francisco workers employed.”… (more)

Now that Twitter employees can work at home forever, what’s to become of its headquarters?

By Brock Keeling : curbed – excerpt

The tech titan’s move into an Art Deco monolith in Mid-Market was supposed to be a symbol of change.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, emailed his employees Tuesday to tell them that they can work from home permanently, even after the pandemic’s shelter-in-place order ends.

“If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement…

Under the lure of a tax break granted by the late Mayor Ed Lee, Twitter rented the building from Shorenstein Company. Amenities added inside the renovated digs include yoga rooms, a cafeteria serving artisan fare and microbrews, a rooftop deck for employees to soak in some vitamin D, and a garden.

The move, given much ink at the time, was supposed to kickstart a neighborhood-improvement trickle down effect, which wasn’t entirely successful. Restaurants boasting Michelin-starred pedigree, like Cadence and Alta, came and went in a matter of months. Open-air drug use and visible human suffering remains a problem. At best, Twitter’s presence sparked interest in the blighted area, helping nudge new housing in the neighborhood (see: Nema and Ava). At worst, the company’s Mid-Market takeover only magnified—without solving—the city’s glaring economic gap… (more)

 

Fate of Small Businesses not looking good, Paycheck Protection Program not getting to intended recipients

Linked in editor via email : linkedin

Small businesses that make up the fabric of communities and daily life in every corner the U.S. are closing their doors forever after the pandemic and subsequent closures ground income to a halt. Despite multiple programs launched aimed at helping local firms survive, 100,000 have already shuttered, according to a recent study. The Paycheck Protection Program was supposed to keep micro businesses alive but reports soon emerged that corporations like Shake Shack and the LA Lakers received the loans and many are refusing to return the money. The program can be converted into a grant if certain conditions are met but those benchmarks continue to be altered, saddling owners with loans they can’t repay… (more)

Coronavirus Impact: Santa Clara Co. proposal would allow more employees to work from home after pandemic

abc7news – excerpt (includes video)

Board president Cindy Chavez is laying the groundwork for what some are calling a visionary plan.

“Let’s be as creative and innovative as we can. Let’s not let all the suffering that we’ve had for the last eight weeks go to waste,” she said.

After the COVID-19 pandemic is over, Chavez is looking for a commute-free commitment from large Silicon Valley companies, when and where it’s possible.

The proposal would start with the 22,000 employees county-wide, and if approved by the board, departments would be asked to look at ways to support as much telecommuting as possible…

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a diverse public policy organization representing more than 350 companies, supports the idea and says the more participation the business sector can have in formulating the plan, the more it’ll be embraced by others.…(more)

In my opinion working closer to home is the key to making stronger more independent cohesive neighborhoods. If more people work at home they will have more family time and more leisure time and that will translate into more time spent in their neighborhoods. The more time they spend in the neighborhoods the stronger the local communities will be.

America’s Biggest Cities Were Already Losing Their Allure. What Happens Next?

By Sabrina Tavernise and : nytimes – excerpt

The urge among some residents to leave because of the coronavirus may be temporary. But it follows a deeper, more powerful demographic trend.

Even before the coronavirus, Nina Brajovic wasn’t so sure about her life in New York. As a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers, she spent most weeks out of town traveling for work. She often wondered whether she could do her same job for cheaper — and more easily — while based in her hometown, Pittsburgh.

Over the past month, she has gotten a sneak peek of that life, moving back in with her parents to avoid the wall-to-wall density of New York and working out of her childhood bedroom. She is now savoring life’s slowness, eating her father’s soup and watching movies on an L-shaped couch with her mom…

The country’s three largest metropolitan areas, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, all lost population in the past several years, according to an analysis by William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. Even slightly smaller metro areas, like Houston, Washington, D.C., and Miami grew more slowly than before. In all, growth in the country’s major metropolitan areas fell by nearly half over the course of the past decade, Mr. Frey found…. (more)

Landlord Under Fire for Accidentally CCing Tenants in Email About Being Evicted After Coronavirus

via email : People Magazine – excerpt

A number of appalled residents of a Los Angeles property-management company are firing back at their landlord after Saturn Management accidentally copied all tenants in an insensitive email about rent payment amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Last Tuesday, roughly 300 tenants received a mass email about April’s rent. In the email, Saturn Management expressed that despite Mayor Eric Garcetti’s emergency order strengthening protections for residential tenants in response to coronavirus, residents would still be expected to pay for their housing… (more)

Why clerks won’t bag your reusable tote at Safeway, other stores any more

By Mike Moffitt : sfgate – excerpt

A Safeway customer who couldn’t understand why a checker refused to bag her groceries turned to Nextdoor for an explanation. In a post Friday to her Pacifica and Daly City neighbors, she quoted the cashier as saying, “You’ll have to bag your own groceries, we were told we can make the decision ourselves.”…

Remember the old days — three weeks ago — when shopping with a reusable bag was the environmentally responsible thing to do? Reducing plastic waste is, after all, a primary goal of waste collection and recycling centers, including Recology in San Francisco.

Now stores are worried that reusable bags might endanger both employees and customers because they could potentially transmit SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19… (more)

Supervisors need to make a public announcement to let the public know about this change in policy and they should rescind the rule that requires stores to charge for new bags. Rethink the policy later.

RELATED:

Grocery workers are beginning to die of coronavirus
By Abha Bhattarai, : TheWashingtonPost – excerpt

Major supermarket chains are beginning to report their first coronavirus-related employee deaths, leading to store closures and increasing anxiety among grocery workers as the pandemic intensifies across the country…(more)

 

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