Why Do Democrats Run All Of The Dangerous And Rodent Infested Cities?

Los Angeles and San Fran are the homeless capitol of the United States.  Plus, both are known for folks needing to walk around down ALWAYS looking down.  No, not to avoid stepping in dog poop—but to avoid stepping in human poop.  And like Detroit, Baltimore. L.A. and San are vacation homes for rates.  One other thing all of these hell holes have in common—all run fr a generation by Democrats—and the voters have given up.

“Rep. Cummings, while being very obsessed with Russia, seems utterly bewildered with the idea that anyone could dare question why so many billions of federal dollars flow to places like West Baltimore when they are obviously doing no good.

Look at other cities in similar dilapidation and there holds a unique truth: Democrats run them all.

How long will sewage run down the streets of San Francisco? How long will St. Louis, Detroit, and Baltimore, continue to rotate as the nation’s most dangerous crime infested metros? And how long will federal dollars keep chasing bad money with new?

None of the elected officials seem to know—much less care. “

Yes, President Trump will get few votes in these Third world cities.  But the rest of the nation, the vast majority of people are disgusted by the abuse of children, families, business and the truth by those running these cities.  Just as in 2016 the good folks fought back—in 2020 even more will vote against rats—the two and four footed types.

Why Do Democrats Run All Of The Dangerous And Rodent Infested Cities?

Kevin McCullough, Townhall,   7/28/19   https://townhall.com/columnists/kevinmccullough/2019/07/28/why-do-democrats-run-all-of-the-dangerous-and-rodent-infested-cities-n2550734

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Congressman Elijah Cummings may honestly believe that his district in West Baltimore doesn’t stink. 

But it does.

I’ve been there, I’ve seen and smelled it.

Bernie Sanders called it “the third world” back in 2016.

Sometimes the truth hurts. Especially to those bathed, clothed, and dipped in the intoxication of corrupt power, but that’s why sunlight is so helpful.

And disinfecting!

Rep. Cummings, while being very obsessed with Russia, seems utterly bewildered with the idea that anyone could dare question why so many billions of federal dollars flow to places like West Baltimore when they are obviously doing no good.

Look at other cities in similar dilapidation and there holds a unique truth: Democrats run them all.

How long will sewage run down the streets of San Francisco? How long will St. Louis, Detroit, and Baltimore, continue to rotate as the nation’s most dangerous crime infested metros? And how long will federal dollars keep chasing bad money with new?

None of the elected officials seem to know—much less care. 

Why would they? 

They look and see that Elijah Cummings has been a “public servant” for most of his life yet owns not one but two homes.

Bernie Sanders owns three.

Nancy Pelosi owns at least ten properties, and has a net worth of $29 million. On a salary of $223,000.

Imagine.

But in San Francisco—or the West Coast version of West Baltimore—which is Nancy Pelosi’s home district, you literally can download an app to help navigate the streets with the least amount of fecal matter as possible.

Seattle is just as bad. Los Angeles has zoomed past them both.

And according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report and as reported in the USA Today (from Feb 19, 2019), the top 10 most dangerous cities in America are run by Democrats.

The overwhelming majority of them are also all governed by Democratic Governors. And the Congressional districts represented are also majority Democratic.

Did I mention that each of them also has higher unemployment rates than the national average?

In Baltimore, Democrats have run everything for more than four decades. Federal dollars have flowed in, and yet the stench, sight, and symbolism of it all—stinks.

https://media.townhall.com/townhall/reu/s124x68/images/2019/209/4b24d4c7-22bd-47da-b896-a3f7308a4d61.png

In my life I’ve spent multiple seasons, time, and resources going to the actual third world. The heartbreak in places like Haiti, Guatemala, Ghana and the Congo, is that they have no opportunity to make their lives better. Those economies are largely run by corrupt governments whose only ambition is to use public office to enrich themselves. A lot like Cummings, Sanders, and Pelosi have done.

The “walk of fame,” the scenic hills of the Bay Area, the rainy skies of the northwest, these iconic images are being replaced by squatters, filth, crime, ANTIFA and rodents. (Is that redundant?)

For Baltimore it’s been this way for decades.

And the only reason that Elijah Cummings got passionate about the issue, isn’t because it’s true. It’s because he got called out on it, by someone who is working to make America better for everybody. Thus revealing—whether in knowledge or in ignorance—Congressman Cummings hasn’t been.

But Democrats who lives in these cities already know that.

They live in the land of corrupt squander every waking day.

How To Establish Sanctuary Cities For The Unborn

Here is a great idea—protect the unborn and the babies.  As we know there is a movement to kill, not abort, babies AFTER they are born.  In total, since 1973 over 61 million babies have been killed, legally.  Since the Left is willing to protected the “child” who are illegal aliens, will they will willing to protect the children that are about to be born—or do they care more about kids from other countries, not from our country.

“This is where pro-life advocates at the local level come into play, and Texas cities have taken matters into their own hands. Municipalities can pass an ordinance declaring themselves a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” classifying abortion as murder, outlawing elective abortion within the city’s limits, and prohibiting any abortion businesses from setting up within their jurisdiction. These ordinances allow cities to condemn Roe through exercising their constitutional right of self-governance, while making a rhetorical statement co-opting liberal language in defense of the truly most vulnerable population in our society.

One of the primary purposes of these ordinances is prevention. If cities that do not currently house an abortion facility take action now, they can immediately prevent abortion businesses from moving into their cities and committing abortions, using the fear of future prosecution against abortionists once Roe v. Wade is overturned.”

Texas has a lot to teach us about government, taxation and personal responsibility.  We can follow their lead in protecting babies.

How To Establish Sanctuary Cities For The Unborn

These ordinances allow cities to condemn Roe through exercising their constitutional right of self-governance, while co-opting leftist language.

By Rebecca Parma, The Federalist, 7/30/19 

Every day we grow nearer to Roe v. Wade being overturned and states finally being able to fully restore the rights of preborn children after 46 years of deadly violence.

After the Supreme Court of the United States decided Roe in 1973, and especially since the subsequent 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, state governments have enacted incremental protections for preborn children to the fullest extent possible under current court rulings. This strategy of step-by-step victories has saved millions of preborn children over the decades and has progressively undermined the legal foundation of the unjust Supreme Court ruling. Now, even local governments are stepping up to foster incremental pro-life victories.

Most Americans overlook that pro-life advances can be made at the local level as well. As a movement, we largely focus on passing legislative fixes at the state and federal levels, policies that are integral to our overall goal to end abortion in the United States. But most states do not have full-time legislatures, meaning state-level legislative progress is not possible for extended periods of time.

Texas is one such state. Despite most Texans’ strong pro-life values, the state legislature in 2019 failed to ban any abortions, including the remaining late-term or discriminatory abortions, allowing preborn children to be targeted for the next two years. Citizens of most states can relate to Texans’ frustration at the lack of pro-life policies enacted in their legislatures, and all pro-life Americans know this frustration at the federal level.

This is where pro-life advocates at the local level come into play, and Texas cities have taken matters into their own hands. Municipalities can pass an ordinance declaring themselves a “Sanctuary City for the Unborn,” classifying abortion as murder, outlawing elective abortion within the city’s limits, and prohibiting any abortion businesses from setting up within their jurisdiction. These ordinances allow cities to condemn Roe through exercising their constitutional right of self-governance, while making a rhetorical statement co-opting liberal language in defense of the truly most vulnerable population in our society.

One of the primary purposes of these ordinances is prevention. If cities that do not currently house an abortion facility take action now, they can immediately prevent abortion businesses from moving into their cities and committing abortions, using the fear of future prosecution against abortionists once Roe v. Wade is overturned.

The ordinances do not penalize women who seek or undergo an abortion, nor ban referral for abortions outside the city’s jurisdiction. Expertly crafted ordinances acknowledge cities’ limitations of working within the existing legal framework of U.S. abortion jurisprudence while taking a bold stance in defense of innocent human life.

Passing these local ordinances is an innovative, proactive strategy pro-lifers can employ to undermine the legal foundation of Roe v. Wade. Cities in Utah and New Mexico have already declared themselves Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn via symbolic resolutions, but this year Waskom, Texas, passed the first city ordinance in Texas to more powerfully outlaw abortion within city limits. Since then, several other communities have shown interest.

As accompanies nearly every pro-life advancement made in the United States, the abortion industry has responded to these local pro-life initiatives with lies and threats of legal action. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) threatened to bring lawsuits against cities that pursue these ordinances. The goal of these ordinances is not to expose cities to potential lawsuits, but to prevent abortion groups like Planned Parenthood from opening in new territories and attack Roe v. Wade.

As a movement, we walk a fine line with any and all advances we make. To end abortion in America, we must push as aggressively as we can for preborn rights within the current judicial framework, simultaneously recognizing that abortion giants will challenge many of these advances in court. All these reasons highlight the importance of carefully drafting ordinance language to protect pro-life cities from lawsuits to the greatest extent possible and take an assertive position for life.

Elective abortion was made legal in the United States through the court system, and that is where we must win to make abortion illegal. Because of this, we cannot be afraid of the courts. At the state and federal levels, we pass dynamic policies into law so they have the opportunity to be challenged, giving the U.S. Supreme Court the chance to dismantle Roe and showing us how much more aggressively we can push to protect preborn lives.

However, a court challenge is not guaranteed. In 2013, Texas passed the Preborn Pain Act, prohibiting abortion on preborn children at five months post-fertilization because this is the point at which we know so far that they can feel pain. To date, this lifesaving law has not been challenged in court.

Thus far, no Sanctuary City for the Unborn resolution or ordinance has been sued. This again emphasizes the importance of strategically drafting language and shows a lawsuit is not necessarily inevitable.

The more communities that pass Sanctuary City for the Unborn ordinances, the greater effect they will have on courts considering abortion cases nationwide. Now is not the time to dismiss strategy, as our goal is so close at hand. Rather, now is the opportune moment to expand our arsenal, with pro-life city ordinances as another tool for dismantling the faulty legal framework of Roe.

Pro-life citizens must stand now against the injustice of elective abortion by taking legislative action to protect preborn children at every level of government, especially those closest to home. These pro-life city ordinances can affect the abortion debate happening across the nation, and with your help, your city could be next. Read the ordinance language here.

High-Density Housing Near Public Transit Is Aim of San Diego Code Change

You will not have to move to New York to get that “Manhattan” feeling.  Just go to San Diego.  High Density is code word for government created gridlock and the formation of slums followed by crimes.

“The San Diego City Council Monday tentatively approved an amendment to the city’s municipal code to add a sixth development zone category aimed at spurring high-density housing developments near public transit and employment areas.

The council’s unanimous vote will add “mixed-use” to the municipal code as the sixth zoning category, the other five being open space, agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial. City officials proposed adding a mixed-use zoning category after receiving multiple proposals to build such developments, which currently require special discretionary permitting that takes longer to process and costs more money.

In 30 years none of these council members will be in government and everybody will wonder how the destruction of San Diego happened.  This measure is the beginning of the end for this once world class city.

from the L.A. Times

High-Density Housing Near Public Transit Is Aim of San Diego Code Change

Posted by Ken Stone, Times of San Diego,  7/29/19 

The San Diego City Council Monday tentatively approved an amendment to the city’s municipal code to add a sixth development zone category aimed at spurring high-density housing developments near public transit and employment areas.

The council’s unanimous vote will add “mixed-use” to the municipal code as the sixth zoning category, the other five being open space, agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial. City officials proposed adding a mixed-use zoning category after receiving multiple proposals to build such developments, which currently require special discretionary permitting that takes longer to process and costs more money.

Mixed-use zoning will be available for developments that are primarily residential or employment-based. Secondary uses for mixed-use developments include residential space, employment space, offices and retail units.

Mixed-use developments that face the public right-of-way or a private drive or plaza will also be required to include building-front additions like bay windows, balconies and awnings.

Councilwoman Vivian Moreno said making mixed-use development easier is a boon for the city, allowing for the creation of “walkable communities that provide residents access to commercial uses near their homes such as grocery stores, coffee shops and restaurants.”

“It’s refreshing to see this come forward after years of project applicants being required to process discretionary permits with additional cost, time and money,” she said.

For developers seeking to rezone their current projects into the mixed-use category, city staff said the wait time to process a rezone is roughly 12-18 months, based in part on the speed with which developers return required paperwork to the city.

The rezone application also costs a developer roughly $12,000, a fee that could be avoided under the amended code.

Moreno and the mayor’s office agreed to consider future incentives for developers such as an expedited rezoning process.

According to the city, mixed-use developments are intended to be located in so-called transit priority areas, which the city defines as sitting within a half-mile of a current transit stop or one funded and scheduled to be completed within five years.

The council’s Land Use and Housing Committee unanimously approved the amendment in May, arguing that mixed-use housing is the future of urban housing development. Councilman Scott Sherman, who sits on the committee, said the amendment is a free-market solution to increasing development.

“I’ve always been a proponent of letting the market decide what needs to be developed because that usually seems to work out best when people know exactly what the market wants, they can develop towards that,” he said. “By changing these zones … that can really allow the market that flexibility that it needs to make more development happen.”

The amendment ordinance will require a second council vote to formally take effect, per the city charter. The council did not elaborate on when that second vote will be held, but it is likely to be after the council returns from its summer recess Sept. 9.

Californians’ Transportation Choices Should Be Left to Them—Not Bureaucrats

Were it open to the totalitarians running Sacramento, you would be allowed to use only government transportation—convenience, need an desire is not a consideration.  In this way, government can control your life.  Only the rich will be free to travel when and where they want.  The rest of us must as well be known as hostages—government will control our movement.

““The bus exodus poses a serious threat to California’s ambitious climate and transportation goals,” says the Times. “Reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions will be next to impossible, experts say, unless more people start taking public transit.”

It’s been clear for some time policymakers across the state want to pull drivers out of their cars and push them into mass transit, no matter how inconvenient and sometimes painful it can be. Joel Kotkin, Chapman University professor, has been telling us for years that Sacramento has trapped California on a “road diet” in an effort “to make congestion so terrible that people will be forced out of their cars and onto transit.”

Money taken from driving to fix the roads, streets and freeways are given to unions, special interests and developers, to promote bike and walk lanes, government trains and buses—which the customers are saying NO to.  The more people that leave the use of government transportation, the more government spends on it—making driving more expensive and difficult.

Opinion: Californians’ Transportation Choices Should Be Left to Them—Not Bureaucrats

By Kerry Jackson, Times of San Diego,  7/27/19  

Last month, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Metro system “is hemorrhaging bus riders.” The news was presented as, if not a crisis, at least an urgent matter that needs to be promptly addressed. Yet that’s hardly the case.

It’s troubling, we’re supposed to infer, that “passengers have fled” public transportation “for more convenient options — mostly, driving.” According to the Times headline writer, this bloody mess is “worsening traffic and hurting climate goals.”

“The bus exodus poses a serious threat to California’s ambitious climate and transportation goals,” says the Times. “Reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions will be next to impossible, experts say, unless more people start taking public transit.”

It’s been clear for some time policymakers across the state want to pull drivers out of their cars and push them into mass transit, no matter how inconvenient and sometimes painful it can be. Joel Kotkin, Chapman University professor, has been telling us for years that Sacramento has trapped California on a “road diet” in an effort “to make congestion so terrible that people will be forced out of their cars and onto transit.”

 Columnist Steven Greenhut has watched as schemes to build “wider, protected bicycle routes” while at the same time “removing the number of traffic lanes in the process” have progressed. Those plans, he said, are found in the “fine print” of 2017’s Senate Bill 1, which most Californians assumed was passed and signed with the intention of raising $52 billion over a decade for repairing the state’s crumbling roads to improve automobile transportation.

Yet it seems the higher taxes will yield fewer lanes. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Sacramento, La Quinta and San Luis Obispo are among the cities that have been awarded gas tax dollars to create protected bike lanes by eliminating or reducing the size of lanes used by motor vehicles.”

While infuriating, it’s not surprising. Officials have openly telegraphed their desire to separate Californians from their automobiles. Media reports about “bold” plans “to wean Californians from cars,” efforts to “to inconvenience people out of their cars,” and using the law to “reshape urban lifestyles” are not uncommon.

Californians, though, who are probably more responsible for the country’s car culture than the residents of any other state — in the early 1920s, Los Angelenos were four times more likely to own a car than the average American — like their automobiles. The independence factor cannot be easily swept away.

“Cars have, from the very beginning,” writes University of Florida professor Paul Atchley, “represented more than just transportation to most Americans. Cars have historically represented the freedom to go places, to make choices and to pursue many paths.”

But policymakers would rather they decide for the rest of us where we should go, to stay in our lane, so to speak. They favor mass transit projects they hope will keep straying to a minimum. Public transportation “advocates speak approvingly of forcing American commuting patterns ‘back to the way we were,’” says Kotkin, while planners “romanticize the densely packed cities dependent on public transit” that were predominant at one time. But their fixation on the past “leaves them at war against cars.”

It’s a near certainty that residents of no other state are as manipulated and coerced by policymakers to the degree Californians are. Often this is done in the name of the environment. But placing the state on a road diet to shove drivers into buses and commuter trains does not necessarily produce an environmental benefit.

Mass transit also requires energy, much of it from fossil fuels. Transportation expert Randal O’Toole has said there are “only four urban areas where mass transit is used enough that it uses less energy than driving a car,” New York, San Francisco-Oakland, Portland, and Honolulu. “And in most of those urban areas, the greenhouse gas emissions are proportional to energy consumption.”

Rather than grieve over lost ridership, policymakers ought to act as the public servants they claim to be and adapt to the wishes of those they purport to serve. Californians increasingly prefer the freedom of auto travel over the limits of mass transit, which is obliquely reflected in car and truck sales, and unmistakably illustrated by declines in public transportation ridership. The market, nothing more sinister than consumers exercising their freedom to choose, should decide, not elected and unelected government officials who can’t tame their urges to manage society’s private affairs.

Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.

In San Fran, we obsess over contrived homeless stats — and neglect the ones we really ought to know

Look, were it not for the policies that create high rents and housing costs, policies that force employers not to hire because of mandated costs, were it not for a government that prefers agencies to help the homeless, instead of actually helping them, the homeless would not be a problem.  Oh, if the City allowed the building of shelters for the homeless, instead of listening to rich, white Progressives that do not want to help, this would not be a problem.

“Somewhat amazingly, in the year 2019 — the year in which Blade Runner was set — San Francisco still measures progress in alleviating homelessness based on numbers assembled on one night by volunteers with clipboards, deployed throughout the city to tally on pen and paper how many people look homeless — every other year. Yes, algorithms are involved and folks living 12 to a room are, by design, missed. 

This is problematic. But the real concern isn’t so much the point-in-time (PIT) count, which is still useful — it has highlighted trends among sub-populations like veterans or car-dwellers and has revealed overrepresentation among the homeless of former foster care children, people of color, and the LGBTQ. 

So, that’s for the good. The problem, rather, is the outsize and all-encompassing role the PIT count has come to play. 

Stop “counting” and start helping.  Change the rules, bring down the cost of housing, get the vets off the streets, get the alcoholics and druggies off the street—and most of the problem is gone.  Who cares how MANY, we should care about how FEW.

In San Francisco, we obsess over contrived homeless stats — and neglect the ones we really ought to know

By Joe Eskenazi, Mission Locl,  7/29/19 

Maraea Master was raised in a pre-gentrified Bernal Heights where the ice cream shop sold melted ice cream and the pet shop sold dead pets. 

That is, pleasantly, not a universal San Francisco memory. But, in many ways, Maraea Master’s story is, increasingly, San Francisco’s story. 

Master now oversees homeless and at-risk youth programming at City College. Before that, she was a front-line worker on the city’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT). And, before that, she was homeless, a drug addict, an erstwhile inmate struggling to raise her children and grandchildren. 

“When homeless people first started filling up Division Street, I heard all about these ‘new’ homeless people in San Francisco,” she says. “But my mother lived under a freeway at Cortland and Bayshore for 15 years. My uncle did, too. When I was on the HOT team, I actually saw a lot of people I grew up with.” 

They’d been in San Francisco for years. And homeless. But, now, you couldn’t ignore them. 

Many, like Master, grew up in oft-chaotic homes with eight aunts and uncles and a procession of spouses and kids and God knows who else gallivanting through, with everyone packing in with their myriad problems. But the key word here is “in.” 

“Homeless people weren’t visible before because they still had grandma’s house,” Master says. But now grandma is gone, and someone else who paid a small fortune is living in that house. 

So, now, they are seen. 

“To me,” says Master, “it feels like the same number of people are homeless. But, now, more are getting counted.” 

Does San Francisco have more homeless people than before? Or are we just getting better at counting? 

The best answer appears to be: “Yes.” Both of these can be true.

Somewhat amazingly, in the year 2019 — the year in which Blade Runner was set — San Francisco still measures progress in alleviating homelessness based on numbers assembled on one night by volunteers with clipboards, deployed throughout the city to tally on pen and paper how many people look homeless — every other year. Yes, algorithms are involved and folks living 12 to a room are, by design, missed. 

This is problematic. But the real concern isn’t so much the point-in-time (PIT) count, which is still useful — it has highlighted trends among sub-populations like veterans or car-dwellers and has revealed overrepresentation among the homeless of former foster care children, people of color, and the LGBTQ. 

So, that’s for the good. The problem, rather, is the outsize and all-encompassing role the PIT count has come to play. 

In much the way the Stanford-Binet test was a well-meaning method of spotting and remedying children’s learning disabilities — that was, instead, repurposed into the IQ test measuring purported overall human intelligence, with drastic and unforeseen worldwide consequences — the PIT count is an effective set of data points that has, instead, been repurposed into the end-all be-all of measuring overall homelessness. 

We in the media play no small role in this. The PIT count, like the IQ test, provides a single, tangible number. It’s easy to understand and report on. If the numbers go down, that’s good. If they remain stagnant or go up, that’s bad. There are few subjects more complex than homelessness — its origins; the obvious connection to housing and real-estate markets; local, state, and federal budgeting issues; mental health and substance abuse issues; program administration and evaluation — but the PIT count provides the veneer of simplicity. 

When the numbers are released, they can be reported on with the fanfare of NFL Draft Day. 

And, for that, the city also deserves its share of blame. The PIT count is the most meaningful homelessness data the public is presented with. This should not be, but in San Francisco we were far too slow to establish the centralized, data-driven systems other cities did. We shouldn’t need to send out volunteers with clipboards and ball-point pens every other year to come up with abstract numbers indicating success or failure in our homeless programs. We ought to be able to draw from a wealth of individualized data points to do this, at the touch of a button. 

We ought to know how we’re doing — and in real time. 

San Francisco is progressing toward such a scenario, but much of it is years away. The needs of our homeless residents, of course, can’t wait. 

“First rule in government spending,” cackles the mysterious billionaire S.R. Hadden in the film Contact, “Why build one when you can have two at twice the price?” 

That’s cynical, but not unwarranted. The same, however, can’t be said when it comes to abstract statistics masquerading as straightforward markers of progress or regression. When you release multiple sets of numbers ostensibly defining the same subject, people get confused. 

To wit, this year San Francisco tallied 8,011 homeless people in its PIT count — a 17 percent spike over the 2017 count. Well, that’s depressing. But this is actually a less terrible number than most anywhere else in the state; homelessness is a growth industry in California. 

(For what it’s worth, the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing in 2017 actually predicted a rise in chronic homelessness in the 2019 count, due to a dearth of housing in the pipeline. Lo, this came to pass. But you didn’t read this in any news stories: Perhaps wary of being perceived as spinning and minimizing the grim results, no city official offered this in defense.) 

One of the PIT count’s best attributes is not only its longitudinal nature — you can track results year by year — but consistency from county to county — you can track results locale by locale. 

And yet, we do more here in San Francisco. Rather than a narrow Department of Housing and Urban Development definition of who is “homeless,” San Francisco undertakes an additional count, tallying incarcerated people, people in treatment facilities, and people in hospitals. 

As you’d expect, this leads to a larger number in our San Francisco-only supplemental count. This year, much larger. On top of the 8,011 people tallied in the official “HUD” count, some 1,773 more were counted in hospitals, jails, and treatment facilities — for a total approaching 10,000. 

Well, that’s depressing. And our 2019 San Francisco supplemental count was 30 percent higher than the 2017 supplemental count — which was dutifully reported in the papers, and there was much lamentation. 

And yet, why buy one when you can have four at four times the price? To wit, on top of the two PIT count numbers, the Department of Public Health states that some 10,0000 “unique homeless adults touch the health system each year.” And the Department of Homelessness itself applies a multiplier of 2.89 to the PIT count to estimate how many individuals are homeless not just on one day but throughout the entire year. 

This year, that’d be around 23,000 people.

This is a more real, more practical and, frankly, more terrifying number. But this number is hardly ever mentioned or publicized. 

In San Francisco homeless issues, we obsess over statistics that, candidly, are rather abstract and of somewhat limited utility — while the statistics we most ought to know are either not readily available or not available at all.  

And still, the question remains: Are there more homeless people or are we just getting better at counting? 

The answer, again, is “yes.” It’s hard to argue, given statewide PIT counts, housing economics, the low price of spectacularly dangerous drugs, and the visual state of the city, that there aren’t more homeless people in San Francisco than in recent years. But, especially with regard to the supplemental PIT count, we’re getting a lot better at counting. 

In fact, the methodology section of the 2019 PIT count report explicitly spells this out. Some 28 new treatment programs were included in this year’s survey, resulting in hundreds of people who’d have otherwise been missed. And this year’s jail count was far, far more thorough than in years past. 

Based on raw numbers, a maximum of 35 percent of inmates polled in January 2019 may qualify as homeless. As the data is finalized this number could change — it’s not yet clear how many of the homeless inmates reside in other counties and how many prisoners refused to be polled. But, as is, it’s hardly an unprecedented tally. A 1994 study penned by Ali Riker noted that “39 percent of persons booked into the County Jail were either homeless or temporarily housed.” And this was 39 percent of a bigger number; in ’94, of course, the jail population was far higher than it is now. 

The person overseeing the 2019 homeless jail count was none other than Ali Riker. “The sheriff directed my staff and I to actually approach every single person in jail,” she says. “That is a big lift.” 

With Riker’s 1990s-era work in mind, the high count of homeless people behind bars shouldn’t be a huge surprise. In retrospect, what should’ve been surprising were the low counts in past years. 

As Maraea Master would’ve told you, these people were there. We missed them before. But, now, they’re seen. Now they’re being counted. 

You won’t be surprised to hear that the public reaction to this year’s dreary PIT count was negative and damning and provided much cover for those making bad-faith arguments about how money put into homeless solutions has been squandered. Considering the abstruse nature of PIT counts and homelessness writ large, there was much to explain — but, as anyone remotely involved in politics knows, when you’re explaining, you’re losing. And, make no mistake, the PIT count is deeply political. 

And yet, better data is better — and the city needs to collect good data even when it looks bad. That’s the only way problems are going to be addressed: Riker notes that, this year, inmates identified as homeless are connecting with workers from Episcopal Community Services even before their release dates, and getting involved in programs and lined up for shelter or housing. In the past, they’d have been out on the street and on their own, period, end of story. 

The danger of viewing the complex world of homelessness through the too-simple prism of the PIT count is that it can lead to too-simple solutions. As a HOT Team worker, Master personally witnessed homeless people being sent across district lines into the Mission by SoMa cops and then sent back to SoMa by Mission cops. If the PIT count is the end-all and be-all of homeless success or failure, it, too, could be juked with similarly crude, Giuliani-like methods. 

And while San Francisco’s relatively less-terrible numbers than those of neighboring cities and counties could be attributed to the billions we’ve put into housing, shelter, and treatment programs, it could also be an indicator of the cold hard fact that this city has already economically banished so many of its marginalized residents to the rest of the Bay Area and beyond. 

The best answer appears to be: “Yes.” Both of these can be true.

“If we obsess about the PIT count being ‘the number,’ we’re just going to build our services around that number,” sums up Master. “But this is our standard. Until someone comes up with a better idea.” 

And that’s so. But the needs of our homeless residents, of course, can’t wait. 

LA reinstates ban on sleeping overnight in cars

What a concept—government not allowing people to sleep in their cars.  You can bet the ACLU will sue, the city will crumble and areas of the city will become car motels.  Watch as slums are created, crime goes up (of course most will not be reported since stealing $950 or less of stuff is no longer a crime in California.

“The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-0 today to reinstate a temporary ordinance that went into effect in early 2017, making it illegal to sleep in a car or RV in residential areas or near schools, daycares, and parks.

Dozens of residents, many of whom work or volunteer with groups that serve LA’s growing homeless population or are affiliated with local Democratic clubs, urged the council not to extend the ordinance, calling it “brutal,” “cruel,” and “draconian.” After the vote, they burst into chants of “shame on you.”

Shame on those promoting the homeless.  Shame on those promoting folks living in cars—if you are so concerned—take a homeless person to live with you.  Otherwise stop trying to destroy the community.

LA reinstates ban on sleeping overnight in cars

By Jenna Chandler, la. Curbed,  7/30/19  

The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-0 today to reinstate a temporary ordinance that went into effect in early 2017, making it illegal to sleep in a car or RV in residential areas or near schools, daycares, and parks.

Dozens of residents, many of whom work or volunteer with groups that serve LA’s growing homeless population or are affiliated with local Democratic clubs, urged the council not to extend the ordinance, calling it “brutal,” “cruel,” and “draconian.” After the vote, they burst into chants of “shame on you.”

“Several families at my children’s school are struggling with homelessness and are living in their cars and getting their kids to school and doing the best they can,” said Erika Feresten, a mother of two and a member of the Pacific Palisades Democratic Club. “It’s unconscionable that they would be criminalized for doing the best that they can.”

The law is in effect from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on residential streets and at any time within 500 feet of a park, licensed school, preschool, or daycare facility.

The penalty for violating the law, which had lapsed for a few weeks, is a $25 infraction. The amount doubles on a second violation and tops out at $75 for subsequent violations. It is now set to expire in January.

When they adopted the ordinance in 2017, city leaders, who have fielded complaints that the campers and rigs are a blight and nuisance, said they were trying to help car- and RV-dwellers find appropriate places to post up.

But unhoused LA residents don’t have many options. The City Council has added hundreds of streets to the list of places where spending the night in a vehicle is prohibited.

Shayla Myers, an attorney with the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, said the ban on vehicles, known as 85.02, “validates a harmful stereotype” that homeless residents are dangerous. That stereotype, she said, is making it difficult for city leaders to put up sorely needed homeless shelters.

The council’s vote was taken without comment. But the motion to extend to the ordinance was introduced by Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents much of the Westside.

In his motion, Bonin noted the city has expanded a pilot program to set up designated areas for homeless residents to park overnight. The “Safe Parking” areas are usually run by nonprofits and are equipped with security officers, as well as services.

There are 130 safe sparking spaces right now in the city of Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. That number is expected to increase to 314 on October 1.

It’s estimated that 16,528 people live in cars, vans, or RVs or in the city of Los Angeles.

Bonin and councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who represents the west San Fernando Valley, were not present for today’s vote. Bonin’s spokesperson did not return a message seeking comment.

After the vote, councilmember Joe Buscaino told CBS2 that “we have to keep in mind that there are property owners that are freaking out when you have people living in their cars in front of their home.”

Ocasio-Cortez Justifies Violence Against Israel: Palestinians ‘Have No Choice But To Riot’

Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocaiso-Cortez hates Jews and Israel.  She clearly wants violence against Israel by terrorists.  Where is Pelosi, Schumer and the rest of the Democrats?  Their silence shows support of bigotry and hatred.

“Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocaiso-Cortez (D-NY) appeared to justify Palestinian violence against Israel this week during an interview, saying that Palestinians “have no choice but to riot” against Israel.

Ocasio-Cortez made the comments during an appearance on “Ebro in the Morning” with host Ebro Darden, where she made multiple inflammatory remarks about Israel.

Ocasio-Cortez “absolutely” agreed with Darden that Israel was “very, very criminal” and “very, very unjust,” as Darden claimed there are “white supremacist Jews.”

She calls Israel criminal but openly loves Venezuela and Cuba.  Hates Israel loves dictatorship.  The good news is that by their silence  the Democrats will lose in November, 2020.  Also, this will bring out a large evangelical vote.  

Photo Courtesy of Rusty Stewart, Flickr

Ocasio-Cortez Justifies Violence Against Israel: Palestinians ‘Have No Choice But To Riot’

By Ryan Saavedra, Daily Wire,   7/31/19   

Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocaiso-Cortez (D-NY) appeared to justify Palestinian violence against Israel this week during an interview, saying that Palestinians “have no choice but to riot” against Israel.

Ocasio-Cortez made the comments during an appearance on “Ebro in the Morning” with host Ebro Darden, where she made multiple inflammatory remarks about Israel.

Ocasio-Cortez “absolutely” agreed with Darden that Israel was “very, very criminal” and “very, very unjust,” as Darden claimed there are “white supremacist Jews.”

Later in the interview, Ocasio-Cortez justified violence from the Palestinian people against Israel, saying: “I believe that injustice is a threat to the safety of all people, because once you have a group that is marginalized and marginalized and marginalized — once someone doesn’t have access to clean water, they have no choice but to riot, right?”

Ocasio-Cortez has made numerous anti-Semitic comments, of late. She recently engaged in Holocaust trivialization when she falsely compared immigrant detetention facilities to “concentration camps,” which some experts even say makes her a “Holocaust denier.” 

Ocasio-Cortez also recently opposed a bill that opposed the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) move against Israel, which is intended to destroy the State of Israel.

After she voted against anti-BDS legislation, Ocasio-Cortez said: “And my concern with being overly punitive on nonviolent forms of protest is that it forces people into other channels and I would hate to be a part of, you know, paving that kind of path.”

Pro-Israel activist Noah Pollak weighed in Ocasio-Cortez’s comments, tweeting: “Let me translate this: AOC just said that a non-binding resolution stating the House’s opposition to the anti-semitic BDS movement will ‘force’ people into terrorism. Among other things a stunning indictment of the anti-Israel movement — a Kinsleyan gaffe.”

The 29-year-old former bartender has a history of making controversial comments about Israel, dating all the way back to the start of her political career, when she claimed Israel was the occupier of “Palestine.” Ocasio-Cortez has also praised and defended notorious anti-Semites and purveyors of anti-Semitism, including Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN), British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn, and far-left activist Linda Sarsour.

‘Notarios’ Scamming Immigrants at Record Numbers

This is what you get when you have open borders and have no problem with documents that lie.  Illegal aliens hire crooked people to fill out paperwork.  Sometimes they get caught.

“The California Immigration Consultant Program began in the 1960s to provide monolingual immigrants with nonlegal services like filling out immigration forms and submitting them to the correct United States Citizenship and Immigration Services entities. The consultants are not authorized to give legal advice or choose which forms the applicant fills out. However, many of these consultants illegally call themselves notarios — a term that in many Hispanic countries translates to a highly trained legal professional. They trick immigrants into believing the consultants are full-fledged attorneys and accepting fraudulent services that put them at risk of deportation.

In the past six months, complaints about the unauthorized practice of law (UPL) relating to immigration has doubled in the state, according to Teresa Ruano with the California State Bar. In December 2018, for example, there were 59 reports of UPL”

Enforce out immigration laws and these “services” will not be needed.  Imagine, illegal aliens, law breakers, upset that someone is taking advantage of them.  What did they expect?

‘Notarios’ Scamming Immigrants at Record Numbers

Complaints of Immigration-Related Unauthorized Practice of Law Double in State

Delaney Smith, Santa Barbara Independent,  7/30/19 

Growing fear within the undocumented immigrant community has bred opportunity for fraudulent immigration services as more people seeking protection from deportation flock toward immigration consultants posing as lawyers. According to Arnold Jaffe, a Santa Barbara attorney who specializes in immigration law, more than half of his clients report that they had been “ripped off” by immigration consultants misrepresenting themselves as attorneys.

The California Immigration Consultant Program began in the 1960s to provide monolingual immigrants with nonlegal services like filling out immigration forms and submitting them to the correct United States Citizenship and Immigration Services entities. The consultants are not authorized to give legal advice or choose which forms the applicant fills out. However, many of these consultants illegally call themselves notarios — a term that in many Hispanic countries translates to a highly trained legal professional. They trick immigrants into believing the consultants are full-fledged attorneys and accepting fraudulent services that put them at risk of deportation.

In the past six months, complaints about the unauthorized practice of law (UPL) relating to immigration has doubled in the state, according to Teresa Ruano with the California State Bar. In December 2018, for example, there were 59 reports of UPL. In April, the number jumped to 106 — one of which was Santa Barbara consultant Ernesto Rodriguez, who was served a cease-and-desist letter on April 25 after illegally practicing immigration law under the name Honest Immigration of Santa Barbara. Ruano said it’s impossible to determine the exact reasons for the boost, but it may be in part due to the recent efforts by the State Bar to make complaint forms more widely accessible online to victims of fraud and posting warnings to immigrants on its website and social media in both English and Spanish.

Jaffe said a common “scam” immigration consultants perform is promising the client they can get them a work permit through an asylum application. The consultants fail to tell the applicants that they don’t actually qualify for asylum. When they submit their application, they get denied and sent to immigration court, where they ultimately end up in removal proceedings — or deportation. “Everybody is afraid now with the [ICE] raids,” Jaffe said, “so they cling on to the false guarantees from notarios.”

The widespread abuse by consultants has led to Assembly Bill 1753, which, if passed, would terminate the California Immigration Consultant Program entirely and become law at the beginning of 2020. It’s backed by the State Attorney General and dozens of other organizations, including IMPORTA Santa Barbara, a nonprofit with accredited representatives who can represent clients in their petitions and applications to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Russell Trenholme, volunteer coordinator at IMPORTA Santa Barbara, said he sees clients multiple times a week who were victims of legal fraud. He said that although immigration consultants are the main group committing the fraud, licensed attorneys do it, too. Attorneys licensed with the State Bar can practice immigration law, he said, even if they have never had any training in it.

“The [immigration system] is a complex web of grandfathered exceptions and discretionary decisions,” Trenholme said. “Immigration law is even more complex than tax law.” He said the most common malpractice by licensed attorneys is charging unreasonably high fees for routine work like translations, green card renewals, or DACA renewals.

“I’ve had clients come to me and say they were instructed to lie [on immigration applications] by a notario,” said Marisol Alarcon, an immigration attorney in Carpinteria. She said many of the common immigration forms are much longer and more detailed than years ago, which creates a strong potential for perjury if the immigrant isn’t guided by a well-trained immigration attorney. She said sometimes it’s better for a client not to fill out an application if the answer to a question could be used against them in immigration court. “I never make promises to them, because it’s out of my control,” Alarcon said. “My biggest advice to a client is to be wary of anyone who makes you a guarantee.”

Alarcon said a common way immigrants wind up in removal proceedings is when a consultant doesn’t thoroughly screen them and then has them lie either intentionally or unintentionally on immigration forms. For example, many common immigration forms ask if the applicant has registered to vote. With some states recently allowing DMV records to merge with immigration databases, an applicant who might have unintentionally marked “yes” to register to vote on past DMV paperwork and then marked “no” on an immigration application could be found guilty of perjury and get deported over it.

To avoid being a victim of malpractice, the California State Bar recommends obtaining a written contract with a hired consultant, never signing blank forms, and making copies of every document shared with the consultant. Other tips can be found at tinyurl.com/sboc-tips.  

Property Taxes UP—County Government Rolling in $$$$

Great news for county government in California.  It looks like most counties have increased valuation by at least 5%.  That means property tax revenues will be up by 5% or more.  Of cours that is never enough for government—which is why they want to create a massive increase in property tax for commercial and industrial properties—the Split Roll Ballot Measure.  Government never gives back extra money, they just spend it.

Los Angeles has a 6.25% increase and that will not stop the need for more money, bonds and taxes in that out of control county.

Thought you should know the cost of housing has gone up, in real terms by at least 5%, county by county.

Property Tax: Los Angeles County Property Tax Revenue Reaches Record High Cal-Tax,  7/29/19  Los Angeles County will receive a record high amount of property tax revenue this year, Assessor Jeff Prang announced July 15 as he unveiled a county assessment roll that represents “record growth and new all-time highs in real estate and business property values across the county.” The roll grew a record $94.41 billion (6.25 percent) over the prior year, to reach $1.604 trillion in total net value. “The strong growth in the local real estate market for the ninth consecutive year will have a positive impact on services for L.A. County’s 10 million residents,” Prang said in a news release. “From education, healthcare, and mental health services, to public safety, transportation, and alleviating the homeless crisis, our schools, cities, and county programs will have approximately an additional $1 billion for vital local public services.” The value of taxable property in the county is now more than 50 percent higher than it was in 2009, so revenue received by local governments and schools in the county this year will be more than 50 percent higher than just 10 years ago. In addition to the values of the county’s 2.38 million parcels of real estate, the roll includes $84.8 billion in business personal property, which increased $3.9 billion from 2018 and also reached a record high. Leading indicators for the growth in the assessment roll are property sales, which added $48.34 billion to the roll as compared to 2018; the Proposition 13 inflation adjustment (capped at 2 percent for each property), which added $28.74 billion; and new construction, which added $11.09 billion. The partially completed construction of the professional football stadium in Inglewood added $1.95 billion to the roll. To date, the owners of 1,328 properties that were severely damaged or destroyed by the Woolsey fire have received tax relief totaling $684.8 million in property value, Prang said. The roll is comprised of 1,878,470 single-family homes, 249,972 apartment complexes, 248,109 commercial and industrial properties, and more than 200,000 business personal property assessments, the assessor said. Other counties that recently unveiled their assessment rolls include: Orange County. Assessor Claude Parrish reported growth of $33 billion (5.6 percent). “Overall, new construction and real estate sales are up and market values continue to move up,” Parrish’s office stated in a news release. “Many properties that had a Prop. 8 taxable value decrease in prior years will see their taxable value increase up to their Prop. 13 limit based on market conditions.” Riverside County. Assessor Peter Aldana reported growth of 5.9 percent. Lower rents and prices of inland properties helped attract investors and industrial users to the county, “fueling increased demand in warehouse facilities resulting in higher prices for commercial-industrial properties,” the Assessor’s Office stated in a news release. The assessor noted that this is the first roll closed with the technology that recently replaced the county’s 47-year-old computer system. Stanislaus County. Assessor Don Gaekle reported a roll value of $52.47 billion, which is 5.9 percent higher than last year. Tulare County. Assessor Roland Hill reported growth of 5.1 percent. Hill also reported that under an ordinance approved July 9 by the county Board of Supervisors, the assessor is authorized to cancel regular property tax bills of $100 or less, beginning with the 2020-21 tax year. The ordinance, proposed by the assessor, also eliminates supplemental and escape bills of $50 or less as of January 1, 2020.

‘No Section 8’: How a Berkeley fair-housing law falls short

Here is the question:  If government gives someone a housing voucher, are you as an owner or landlord mandated to rent to them—because government wants you to?  If so, then we are further along the Socialist road—government is controlling the housing you invested in—you take the risk and government decides who lives there and how much they pay. Just like Cuba!

“Mitchell has kept the little spiral notebook where she jotted down addresses of all the places she checked out after getting the voucher, from a unit on Berkeley Way to another by frat row. She said some landlords looked at her blankly when she brought up Section 8, one asking her to prove that, even without the voucher, she made enough money on her own to cover the rent. One woman seemed ready to offer Mitchell a spot, then never followed up with her after she mentioned the voucher. Another property owner went with a competing tenant who was paying out of pocket, and still another, Mitchell said, told her he had too many Section 8 tenants already.

Whether he knew it or not, that last landlord’s response was illegal. Why invest in a property when government controls it.  Is this why we have a housing shortage—a surplus of government?

‘No Section 8’: How a Berkeley fair-housing law falls short

Berkelyside, 7/31/19

Doris Mitchell felt “sheer relief” in January when she learned she’d qualified for a Section 8 housing voucher in Berkeley.

The few years she had spent homeless in the city, living in her car and in shelters, had taken their toll. The sleepless nights didn’t help her deal with the PTSD she experienced from fleeing a violent husband. Nor did the hours spent wandering the city when the women’s drop-in center and library closed for the weekend or on holidays.

Mitchell was yearning for a safe place of her own, where she didn’t need to wear earphones to listen to the jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and reggae she finds therapeutic. So as soon as she received the voucher, she “pounded the pavement” looking for an apartment, she said.

Under the federal Section 8 program, eligible low-income tenants pay 30-40% of their monthly income toward rent, and the local housing authority covers the rest with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, up to a federally designated amount. In Berkeley there are 1,526 households currently paying rent this way, according to the Berkeley Housing Authority.

But when Mitchell set out to search for her own spot, she felt she wasn’t taken seriously.

Mitchell has kept the little spiral notebook where she jotted down addresses of all the places she checked out after getting the voucher, from a unit on Berkeley Way to another by frat row. She said some landlords looked at her blankly when she brought up Section 8, one asking her to prove that, even without the voucher, she made enough money on her own to cover the rent. One woman seemed ready to offer Mitchell a spot, then never followed up with her after she mentioned the voucher. Another property owner went with a competing tenant who was paying out of pocket, and still another, Mitchell said, told her he had too many Section 8 tenants already.

Whether he knew it or not, that last landlord’s response was illegal.

Since 2017, Berkeley has required property owners to give the same consideration to all prospective tenants regardless of their “source of income,” be it an employer or the government.

“This really is a fundamental fair-housing issue,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín in a phone interview. “We had heard of cases of Section 8 tenants and Shelter Plus Care voucher-holders who were being denied the ability to search for housing. [The 2017 ordinance] is about removing a barrier so people can be considered.”

It is still common to see Berkeley landlords advertising that they won’t consider Section 8 tenants, even though such messages became illegal in 2017.

These source-of-income laws are often mentioned in the same breath as the “Ban The Box” campaign, which pushes to remove questions about prospective employees’ criminal records from job applications.

California law actually already prohibits tenant discrimination based on source of income, but the state’s definition of income does not include vouchers. The legislature is currently considering making state law what cities like Berkeley, San Francisco, Los Angeles and — as of last month — Oakland have already done within their own borders.

Anyone who’s trawled through Craigslist lately might be surprised to learn that Berkeley is included in that group. Many apartment listings blatantly violate the city law, declaring that voucher-holders won’t even be considered.

This month, an ad for a “great & spacious 2 bedroom” on Dwight Way warned “No Section 8.” So did an “interesting small house” listed in the Berkeley Hills. “No Section 8 Accepted (don’t ask),” wrote the owner or manager of another two-bedroom unit on Ashby Avenue. Within one week in mid-July there were at least 15 Berkeley units advertised on the website with similar messages.

Berkeley’s source-of-income ordinance has been on the books for two years now, and it had been under discussion for even longer. The City Council item was initially proposed by Kriss Worthington — who has since retired from public service. So why are those ads still prevalent today? And can anything be done about it?

Would the city sue a landlord?

“The primary tool that’s given here is a right for tenants or prospective tenants to sue landlords if they believe discrimination is happening,” said city spokesman Matthai Chakko. “Landlords have more liability as a result.”

Under the 2017 ordinance, tenants who take their landlords to court within one year of a violation stand to win three times the monthly rent of the unit in question plus other damages.

The city pays the East Bay Community Law Center and the Anti-Eviction Defense Center to provide eviction defense and housing counseling to Berkeley tenants. In the latest city budget, the City Council greatly expanded the scope of that work, allocating $900,000 total to those organizations for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. The Rent Board administers that funding.

Housing attorneys at EBCLC, however, told Berkeleyside they don’t file many affirmative lawsuits.

“One of the challenges we have faced with this policy is enforcement,” acknowledged Arreguín. “The city attorney’s office is very short-staffed and just doesn’t currently have the capacity to bring proactive cases against landlords.” In Oakland’s new ordinance, conversely, that council gave its city attorney the ability to file lawsuits against property owners.

If there were one “pretty egregious case” of, for example, a large property management company violating the law multiple times, the mayor said he would be interested in considering a lawsuit to raise awareness of the consequences for all landlords.

“It’s definitely an issue we’ll be working on,” Arreguín said. “I think it was great we adopted the ordinance. Now we need to make sure it’s working effectively. That will involve outreach, and it will involve enforcement, so everyone’s clear about what their rights and responsibilities are.”

There are likely many small landlords who own one or two properties in Berkeley who don’t attend City Council meetings and don’t even know about the law.

https://www.berkeleyside.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/section-8-berkeley-2.jpg

An ad for an Ashby Avenue apartment lets prospective tenants know they need not even ask about vouchers. Screenshot: Craigslist

Krista Gulbransen, the executive director of the Berkeley Property Owners Association, said her organization has made sure its members are well aware of the rules. But many landlords aren’t connected to groups like hers. Chakko noted that the council did not allocate funding for outreach and education when it passed the law.

Some property owners who violate the law are not ignorant of it, however.

“We need to remove that,” said Esteban Tenjo, property manager with JD Management Group, when asked about a recent South Berkeley Craigslist post that said “No Section 8 at this time.” Tenjo said the company knows about the ordinance but has been using the same text in its ads for years without getting around to updating it. Other multiple-property groups like SMC East Bay and SG Real Estate also posted Berkeley ads with “No Section 8” messages the same week.

Tenjo said JD Management handles many units in Berkeley, some of which do house voucher-holders, but it’s not the group’s preference.

With Section 8, “there’s just more work for our property owners, more inspections,” he said. “And the people who apply don’t qualify. Our qualifications are having good financial stability, good credit.” (Others argue that Section 8 tenants are the most financially stable, as landlords can rely on the housing authority to pay rent on time.)

Do source-of-income laws work?

Tenjo’s stance raises questions about the effectiveness of the Berkeley law even if it were enforced. The city can make landlords consider section 8 applicants and allow them to apply for units, but at the end of the day, “we can’t prevent an owner from deciding to rent to somebody else,” Arreguín said.

The Section 8 rent prices are capped by HUD, which determines standard ranges for each region. Berkeley chooses to use the high end of that range to compete in the market, but even so, that means $1,876 one-bedrooms, $2,338 two-bedrooms and $3,217 three-bedrooms. Median rents in Berkeley are higher than that. Most property owners are likely easily swayed to make sometimes hundreds more each month renting at market rate — and to forgo the required inspections and bureaucracy that comes with any Section 8 contract.

Even if a property owner meets with a voucher-holder or reads their application, there are plenty of perfectly legal ways to go about disqualifying them from tenancy, intentionally or otherwise.

Like Tenjo, many of Gulbransen’s members require good credit scores, often 700 or higher, she said.

“People often in need of Section 8 housing are from marginalized communities, and there are ecosystems around them that often keep them from having good credit scores,” Gulbransen said. Because voucher-holders often don’t meet property owners’ other requirements, the system almost “sets tenants up for failure,” she said.

Gulbransen actually has Section 8 tenants herself, but in Concord, for example, where Berkeley’s rent control and good-cause-for-eviction rules don’t come into play. Cities have some flexibility with implementation, like choosing whether to allow landlords to stop participating in the Section 8 program while a tenant is still in the unit. In Berkeley, property owners can’t opt out while someone’s still living there.

“Our problem is not ever with the tenant,” Gulbransen said. “There are a lot of good Section 8 tenants. The majority are either disabled or seniors, and working full time.”

They’re not necessarily as likely to throw a booming weeknight party or to ruin a carpet with beer stains.

“The problem is with the HUD program itself,” Gulbransen said. “It’s important that owners are given incentives to participate in these programs. Typically, the more rules and regulations you place on them, the more likely they are to choose a market-rate tenant.”

In reality, she said, her members rarely even get solicitations from voucher-holders, often because of the perception that it’s impossible to find a unit in Berkeley.

That said, the Berkeley Housing Authority is currently writing more than 1,500 Section 8 rent checks a month. That includes specialized programs for veterans, homeless people, and tenants of nonprofit developers and at single-room-occupancy hotels. The city still has funding for 105 additional new vouchers this calendar year, said BHA’s Rachel Gonzales-Levine. Forty-five of those have already been issued to households hunting for housing, while others haven’t been distributed yet, she said.

Vouchers represent just one piece of the city’s rental assistance package, Chakko said. He noted that Berkeley also provides Shelter Plus Care vouchers, another federally funded program that includes supportive services. The city also requires market-rate developers to build affordable units in their projects or contribute to the city’s Housing Trust Fund, as well as subsidizes nonprofit affordable developments.

In recent years, the city has actually seen an increase in property owners proactively participating in the Section 8 program, Gonzales-Levine said. Those are landlords who come to the city wanting to rent to voucher-holders, rather than entering into a contract with BHA once a tenant applies. But Gonzales-Levine attributes that uptick to slight changes in the market rather than the income ordinance.

“Anecdotally BHA still has voucher holders who come into the office and state they cannot find a unit,” she said in an email. Jay Kelekian, executive director of the Berkeley Rent Board, said his staff hears similar reports and counsels those people on where they can seek help.

Mitchell is happy not be among those 45 households still on the hunt.

In March she won the lottery — the housing lottery, that is, and snagged a one-bedroom unit in a brand new senior housing complex in Berkeley. The development is run by Satellite Affordable Housing Associates, which takes her Section 8 voucher. Mitchell’s daughter helped her move in.

Inside her unit, boxes are still piled up. Mitchell has two slipped discs in her back and isn’t supposed to lift more than five pounds at a time. There isn’t much storage space to put all that stuff in, anyway.

But the place is clean, quiet and, “of the utmost importance,” safe, she said. The privacy and home base will give Mitchell the time and space she needs to finalize her divorce with the man who beat her and make up some of that lost sleep.

There’s also a kitchen where she cooks all her meals. She’s already daydreaming about Thanksgiving, the first one her family will have spent together in years.

This story is part of SF Homeless Project. On July 31, Berkeleyside is joining, for the third time, with dozens of Bay Area media outlets for one day of coverage focused on people living on the streets and in shelters.