Haight Ashbury Merchant & Music Fair

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By  Burt Phillips, HANC Board

So if you haven't heard, and it seems most neighbors did not (which was a main point of contention), the Haight had a street party a couple of weeks ago. It was billed as the San Francisco/Haight Ashbury Merchants and Music Street Fair (SFMMSF) and sought to promote local  merchants AND the community.

The organizers (Black Scale, Pink Dolphin, and other shops) did a good job of reaching out to the non-profit and social services groups as was evident by at least a half dozen booths used for those groups. The booths, chairs, canopies and tables were all supplied by the organizers of the event at no cost to those groups.


Car Share Hubbub

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The SF MTA has been working on a plan for a couple of years that would lease currently public parking spaces to car share businesses, including at least one owned by AVIS, which purchased ZIP Car for $500 million last year. City Car Share, the non-profit pioneer of car sharing, is also on board with the plan. 

The issue is very divisive. HANC encourages our members to do the research and figure out where you stand. Hoodline is covering the story (http://hoodline.com/2014/07/parking-for-private-car-shares-backlash-in-the-haight) and the feedback indicates the level of division (making it an age thing, or a NIMBY thing). While the ultimate goal of the plan is worthy, the giving up of public space to corporations that can afford to rent space in off street garages or parking lots is questionable.  Remember, this is the same agency that wanted to reroute the 6 Parnassus to Haight Street and eliminated two MUNI stops on Haight Street.

Coalition on Homelessness Talks to Homeless People in Buena Vista Park: More Conversation Needed

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By Colleen Rivecca, HANC President
During the month of March, volunteers from the Coalition on Homelessness conducted outreach to homeless people in Buena Vista Park (from now on, I'll refer to them as "park dwellers") to talk about neighborhood concerns with the park and with homelessness and to understand park dwellers' needs.

 Here is a summary of what they learned from and about the park dwellers:

  • Park dwellers who spoke to volunteers from the Coalition on Homelessness said that they want to meet with neighbors about park issues and that they want to respect the park.
  • Park dwellers are looking for an escape from poverty and homelessness, and many expressed the desire for employment, especially in helping keep the park clean and maintained.  Some of the park dwellers said that they'e be interested in working with neighbors to help clean up the park even if they weren't getting paid to do it.
  • Park dwellers are frustrated with the removal of garbage cans from the park.
  • Lack of bathroom facilities is a major challenge for park dwellers, who are frustrated about the human waste in the park.  With the closure of the bathrooms in the Panhandle and the loss of the drop-in space at Homeless Youth Alliance, it can be very difficult for homeless people to find a place to go to the bathroom in the neighborhood.
  • Park dwellers said that they understand that people in the neighborhood don't want them to be in the park.  The problem, from their perspective, is that people don't want them anywhere.  
  • Park dwellers consider the people who live near Buena Vista park to be "their neighbors" and they are interested in talking to neighbors about how they can work together to make the park a safer and better place.

It seems like a logical next step would be to set up a meeting between the housed and homeless neighbors so that they can talk further about park issues and how to solve them together.

On a related note, San Francisco has just started keeping track of requests for shelter beds with an online wait list, which is available at this 311 website.  As of the writing of this article, there are 661 homeless people who have requested shelter who are on the wait list for a bed.  That's right.  661 people who have no where else to go and want to be able to stay in shelter are waiting for a shelter bed to become available.  Where are they waiting?  Until San Francisco can provide basic shelter for the people who need it, we are always going to see homeless people outside.  

Free Speech or Blight?: Guidelines for Posting Signs

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One of our members sent HANC a letter which began, “I received this letter accusing me of a crime; levying a fine of $145 and telling me what a selfish, thoughtless person I am.” The enclosed 3-page, single-spaced letter was on letterhead from “Community Action, 1 Dr. Carlton Goodlett Place, Room 348, San Francisco, CA 94102,” which is the address of City Hall. But the letterhead included the line, “Community Action is not affiliated with a Government Agency.”

The letter complained about signs our member had posted for a garage sale as “a malicious trespass and harmful misuse. Such postings are incompatible with community goals and aesthetic standards, recognized as a public nuisance and criminal misdemeanor in particular instances.” The letter continued for two pages with similar language, in the midst of which was a request to “submit a check to cover an $145.00 abatement charge. Make check payable to “BSUM” addressed to Department of Public Works, 875 Stevenson Street, Room 460, San Francisco, CA 94103.” The letter ended with a page of excerpts from various laws, and then with a proof of service.

Although the letter may look somewhat official, the Department of Public Works has posted a warning about letters like this one on its website: “Please Note: If you receive any correspondence from The SF Cleanup Project (endorsed by Quinn Cooper), Neighbors for Livable Neighborhoods (endorsed by Tom Miller or Jessica Miller) or Community Action (endorsed by Denise Johnson), please note that none of these entities are affiliated with the Department of Public Works or any City Agency in the City and County of San Francisco. If you receive a letter from one of these entities, about signs you have posted, please submit it to DPW, Director’s Office, City Hall, Room 348, San Francisco, CA 94102, and DPW will deliver it to the City Attorney’s Office for investigation. For more information contact DPW’s Bureau of Street Use and Mapping at 554-5810.”


San Francisco Tenants Push Back: More to Come

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By Calvin Welch, HANC Housing and Land Use Board Member

Facing the most broad scale pressure in recent years as a result of Mayor Ed Lee's constant boosterism for the high rolling tech industry -from an increasing rate of state mandated Ellis Act evictions to historically rapid increases in rents- San Francisco tenants are “pushing back” and making some real headway in addressing their concerns. 

Propelled by the overwhelming vote against the 8 Washington project last November, tenant leaders have taken the offensive in defining that victory not as some sterile anti-height vote aimed narrowly at the waterfront but instead as a cry of opposition to the assault on San Francisco’s large majority of low and middle income tenants as a result of the tech boom.

At the February 4th Supervisors meeting Supervisor David Campos introduced an ordinance that would require landlords who want to file Ellis Act evictions pay their tenants the difference between the rent on that unit and market rent for a comparable unit in the same neighborhood, for two years. This follows Supervisors Mar's proposed legislation introduced last month which would raise the bar locally on tenants-in-common conversions by requiring that the Planning Department review conversions to make sure the units are up to code and require a finding of “extraordinary circumstances” before approval of the conversion.



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