There's that one dreaded spot we've all experienced alike in San Francisco: an open house.
It's those Saturday mornings you spend next to 50 San Franciscans shoving past you with their credit reports and pay stubs, vying for the city's last 500-square-feet of squalid paradise.
It's as depressing as the housing market itself.
But we're here to point out that (very thin) silver lining to this dark reality. Lovely, the latest app in apartment hunting, has done some research, analyzing data from 80,000 rental listings to determine which neighborhoods you're most likely to score your next pad.
We already know the landlord (the city) is a pain in the ass to deal with, but the squatters/designers of the charming teeny tiny tree house in Golden Gate Park have proven to be two pretty cool dudes.
In other words, we're guessing they'd throw some chill teeny tiny parties.
We're delighted to introduce readers to the 47-year-old Tony Powell who talked to the Chron this week, giving the paper, and thus the world, a little history on that little door that's made Golden Gate Park all that more desirable. Powell, who lives on a sailboat in the bay, explained that he and his 6-year-old son, Rio, took a trip to Golden Gate Park in December where they had a "special feeling" about one of the trees lining the concourse outside the de Young.
It's one frustration after another when dealing with the city.
After flustering the masses by removing the adorable tree house door from Golden Gate Park, city officials promised they'd replace it, and replace it they did. As richmondsfblog.com astutely noted, the city screwed in an untreated imitation door that'll almost certainly lower property values.
Naturally, it was city bureaucracy that resulted in the sad and abrupt departure of the beloved teeny tiny tree house in Golden Gate Park.
According to ABC, it was the rigid folks over a the Recreation and Parks Department who removed the small door hinged to a tree in the park; city leaders claimed the miniature mouse pad had "damaged the tree."
But alas, Democracy rules -- and city leaders claim they will return the adorable door to appease the people of San Francisco.
Readers have been amused (as were we) by the extra small, possibly rent-controlled, tree house in Golden Gate Park. So who's living behind this mystery door, you ask? A compulsive hoarder, that's who.
Richmondsfblog.com revealed some disturbing images of what life is like inside this teeny tiny tree house:
Earlier today, we ran an article about the GOP harnessing the seemingly limitless hatred of Nancy Pelosi within its membership to turn the occasion of the House minority leader's 73rd birthday into a "RETIRE NANCY" fund-raising bash.
Slate's Matthew Yglesias was puzzled by Republicans' visceral hatred of all things San Francisco, stating the only problem with San Francisco is that that "there's not enough San Francisco."
Cavalcades of people should be moving here, he continues, "But in fact total population growth in the San Francisco and San Jose metro areas has been rather slow, since for people to move there we'd have to build more houses. Zoning and other permitting restrictions have tended to make that quite difficult" -- thus jacking up housing prices.
That makes a lot of sense. But, counter-intuitively, it's not entirely true.
Readers may recall a December SF Weekly article about the surreal city rules builders exploit to blow up small homes into mansions, and blow away what's left of San Francisco's dwindling affordable housing stock.
That article turned out to be Exhibit 17 in a hearing last night at the Board of Appeals.
At issue was a central example cited in our December article: a home at 125 Crown Terrace owned by developer, former Building Inspection Commission president, and Port Commissioner to-be Mel Murphy. He hopes to "remodel" it from 854-square feet to 5,139 square feet; previously, Murphy had been denied a demolition permit when he only hoped to expand to 4,019 square feet.
The complaint, pushed by Murphy's next-door neighbor Ramona Albright, involved gripes about blocked views and felled trees of the sort you'd expect in an upscale enclave like Twin Peaks. But it also brought into question the city's reading of a statute that allows savvy builders to demolish the very elements of a building they retained to avoid being classified as a demolition.
See Also: Bringing Down the Housing: How Builders Game the System
Anyone who has searched for an apartment in San Francisco could appreciate the proverb "A drowning man will clutch at a straw." The process sucks. Open houses draw dozens of competitors, some who eagerly inform the landlord that they're willing to pay $200 more in rent and hand over the first-months check right now. And then come the rejections. Application, denial. Application, denial. And so on.
Eventually, the search is no longer about finding the right apartment; it's just about finding an apartment. Consumed by a growing sense of hopelessness, the apartment hunter craves for the day the search ends. By the time it does, he is so eager to sign a lease that the city's sky-high rental rates -- $1,400 for a Tenderloin studio, $4,000 for a Potrero Hill two-bedroom -- barely register. And that sentiment pretty much carries San Francisco's renters through the first of each month, as we sign bank account-denting checks with just-happy-to-be-here smiles.
For many of those residents, making rent means making sacrifices -- the price to pay to live in San Francisco. According to a new study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, San Francisco's rental market is nearly twice as expensive as the national average.