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No HANC Meeting in August

As is our custom, there will be no general membership meeting in August.  The next meeting, after our July meeting will be September 10.


Videos of HANC Meetings

Videos of HANC's April and May meetings on the Sharing Economy can be viewed online.  Click on the links on the top right of our website, or look for HANCSF on YouTube.


HANC Voice available by Email

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June at HANC: How the Sharing Economy is Changing the Taxi Industry

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At HANC’s June 2015 meeting we looked at one aspect of how the sharing economy is changing transportation: app-based ride services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. While all three services (called transportation network companies, or TNCs, by the state) have headquarters in San Francisco, their sights are set on “disrupting” the taxi industry globally. Two panelists with detailed knowledge of the industry helped us dig into the benefits that TNCs may bring and the damage they may be causing.

Veena Dubal, an attorney and associate professor at UC Hastings, explained the parallels between the history of labor relations in San Francisco’s taxi industry and the push by TNCs to have their drivers deemed to be independent contractors. Taxi drivers actually achieved substantial employment protections through labor organizing the early 20th century. But from the 1950s onwards the taxi companies sought creative legal routes to redefine drivers as independent contractors, which increased the companies’ profitability. In San Francisco this change really took hold in the 1970s, after which there was essentially a two-tier system, with a small number of medallion holders each affiliated with a taxi company renting their cabs to a pool of contract drivers who had few guarantees of shifts or income.

The limited supply of taxi medallions made them very valuable commodities and reduced the incentive for companies to improve service for customers or conditions for drivers. By the early 2000s, national organizing by drivers had started to achieve modest improvements in some cities, such as guaranteed hours. Ironically, San Francisco cabs actually wanted to put in place a centralized dispatch system but were barred from doing this by the city. Now that centralized dispatch has become such an attractive feature of TNC services, San Francisco has allowed taxi companies to affiliate via the Flywheel app, which lets passengers locate any taxi from a participating company.


May at HANC: Airbnb Rentals and the Haight-Ashbury

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Over 50 people attended HANC's May meeting on the impact of short term tourist rentals (“Airbnb rentals”) on our neighborhood.  The day before the meeting the Board of Supervisors Budget and Legislative Analyst Office issued a report on the impact of short term rentals citry wide (Analysis of the Impact of Short Term Rentals on Housing) which found that the Haight-Ashbury had some 32% of its vacant rental hosing stock being offered as “commercial” Airbnb listings and removed from the rental market with resultant increase in rent .  This was the most rental housing removed of any neighborhood in the City.  Moreover, the report pointed out, the neighborhood led in the number of evictions that occurred over the same period. 

The study was confirmed by personal testimony of neighborhood residents at the meeting who reported their stories of being evicted or having neighbors evicted to make room for the Airbnb rentals.


April at HANC: The "Sharing Economy" - What's Not to Like?

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By Tes Welborn, HANC Board

     Presentation by Christin Evans and Bruce Wolfe.  

     First in a series of meetings

The “Sharing” Economy is a way to buy a customer base for stock market valuation and an IPO, whether the business model makes financial sense or not. Venture capitalists now dominate the financing of new businesses, and they want the new IPO to be sold ASAP and get their funding repaid, plus. Internet businesses such as Facebook and Google are exploitative. They sell our data to marketers, a monetization of our personal information.

These businesses contribute little to the community, and are purely exploitative of people and resources. At the extreme, they want to privatize everything in the city. These companies flaunt local law and taxes. With their untaxed income, they “pay to play,” and corrupt our political process.


March at HANC: Two Smart Programs for Clean People and Clean Streets

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By Rupert Clayton, HANC Board

HANC’s March meeting heard from two people whose organizations are working to bring comfort and cleanliness to homeless people in San Francisco, and potentially the Haight Ashbury.

Doniece Sandoval is the executive director of Lava Mae, which provides mobile showers in a converted former MUNI bus. The bus has two self-contained bathrooms, each with a shower, toilet, sink and hair dryer. Being able to take a shower helps people who are homeless retain some sense of dignity and self-worth, making it easier for them to engage with housing, health care and job training services. The service also brings broader benefits for sanitation and public health in the city.

At each location, the bus hooks up to a fire-hydrant, with disinfected grey water discharged into catch basins and the toilets emptied by a waste disposal company. With 15-minute sessions, each bus can serve 42 people during a six-hour shift. Lava Mae’s forward bathroom is accessible, thanks to the bus’s wheelchair lift, and they have found that 48% of customers have a disability. Buses are always staffed during service hours, and Lava Mae works closely with existing agencies and non-profits so that people have somewhere to wait before their shower and can find out about services they may need.


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