SF Weekly Letters

Landlord Dispute

Just trying to make an honest living: Thanks for a very interesting story ["The Tenant from Hell," Feature, 7/30] about serial evictees. The first thing that comes to mind is that there should be a name and picture directory of these people.

Are there any movements afoot to amend the rental laws in a way that would undercut these activities? What are the most effective methods for dealing with serial evictees to minimize the damage they do?

I was fascinated by the information provided by lawyer Clifford Fried, who said, "You can go into a store and steal a loaf of bread and do a year in jail, but you can steal months of rent from a landlord and never do any time in jail." This is blatantly unfair. As Geluardi noted, there are many small-property owners who are not rich speculators, just who are very similar to someone who runs a corner grocery store, a small clothing store, or a little restaurant. Just middle-class people trying to make an honest living, being victimized by thieves who steal time and space rather than things.

I urge the Weekly to do a follow-up, or even make it a several-part series.

Name withheld upon request

San Francisco

Just trying to make another buck: I was shocked to read John Geluardi's piece on "how renters work the system to live for free in one of America's most expensive cities." Not because this purportedly rare phenomenon exists (Geluardi cites a vague estimate of "between 20 and 100" serial evictees), but because of how trivial it is in the face of thousands of tenants being harassed and illegally evicted by their landlords, a real story you could have covered.

The rental market in San Francisco can be hellish, but not because of a tiny group of tenant miscreants. Rather, market conditions have created a situation in which it is highly profitable for landlords to find reasons to evict their tenants — which they often do, illegally, putting individuals and families on the street solely to collect more rent.

One-sided scaremongering by articles like Geluardi's only serves to further the imbalance between tenants and landlords in this great — and, yes, expensive — city. The Weekly could do better and report on actual conditions in San Francisco, rather than publish a salacious read on a practically nonexistent phenomenon.

Joe DiMento

San Francisco Tenants Union

San Francisco

Once More Around the Park

Technical difficulties: Good article on Nancy Pelosi's bill, but one major point is wrong ["The Pork Park," Matt Smith, 7/23]. The Presidio Trust was not formed to "run a park," but to manage its real estate. The Park Service retained leadership for programs for the public in the Presidio Trust Act. HR 6305 does away with that by changing the wording of the Act.

Here is the problem for the public: The Park Service has strong policies that only programs relevant to the park itself are legitimate. After all, that's why the park is selected — for its special qualities important to the nation. Would we want a contemporary art museum in Valley Forge National Park? In Pelosi's "technical correction," the trust then can approve programs unrelated to the values of the Presidio. That's why this "technical correction" is in the bill. It removes the Park Service from the loop and gives the trust a way to build a contemporary art museum, theme park, or whatever a group of developers on the Trust Board want. Ask where is the expertise to design and manage park programs on the trust staff? Ask why the Park Service opposed this "technical correction" in the recent hearing in Congress. You have only half the story.

Whitney Hall

Former President of Presidio Historical Society

Former Commandant of Presidio

Petaluma

 
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