SF Weekly Letters

Housing Crunch
Heading for another city that allows for growth: If someone is a wealthy developer, or client of a developer, his connections to City Hall will get him whatever he wants in S.F. [“Bringing Down the Housing,” Joe Eskenazi, feature, 12/19]. As the article mentioned, the system is literally designed for these folks.

It does not matter if it's permits, traffic tickets, or city jobs. Sure, it's a less blatant form of corruption, hidden behind forms, city departments, bogus hearings, and such. However, the amount of money involved with this institutionalized corruption dwarfs the overt petty bribery that people self-righteously identify in other parts of the world.

If someone, such as myself, is without any connections, he is simply out of luck. Trying to add one bedroom to a two-bedroom house for our second baby has proved fruitless. So, like many others, we are likely going to move. One more family chased out of a city that only really pays lip service to wanting them to stay.


Affordable housing is separate issue: Okay, so this is a nice little story, but the argument that creative renovations of buildings on underutilized properties in supply constrained and highly demanded neighborhoods is destroying affordable housing — how? Stopping an expansion isn't going to somehow make the housing all that more affordable. Relatively affordable family housing is in the neighborhoods the big money avoids, like Bayview, Portola, Ingleside, and Vistacion Valley. New mega projects at Hunters Point and Treasure Island and the new units out at Park Merced will take some pressure off and provide people with modern places to live. People will also build more affordable housing through Prop. C funds and other inclusionary sources. Is it enough? Probably not. But to pass off the disagreements of reasonably wealthy people (and with only a passing mention of the tenants who are collateral damage) as some sort of big thing about affordable housing is just silly.


Blog Comments of the Week
Strict DUI penalties across the board: If people want legalized marijuana, they have to accept the responsibility of not driving while under the influence [“Drugged Driving Has No Definition, but It's Definitely Illegal,” Chris Roberts, the Snitch, 12/20]. Just like alcohol, the blood level should be set very low and the penalties should be very high.


Obama's word is shaky when it comes to marijuana crackdowns: He didn't really say anything [“Obama Says Feds Will Back Off Marijuana; Do You Believe Him?” Chris Roberts, the Snitch, 12/14]. It's not like the feds were going to bother recreational or medical users for possession of less than an ounce (unless the person takes it through airport security or into a federal building anyway). There aren't enough federal cops to waste their time on small fry like that. But just as he promised to leave medical marijuana alone, and then a month later let Eric Holder and the DEA go busting medical dispensaries in California, I'm sure he'll have fewer qualms about doing the same for recreational dispensaries in Washington or Colorado.


Awkward moment missed from funny review: How could Rae Alexandra not mention the completely awkward and out-of-place scene where they [Olivia Newton John and John Travolta] are cuddled up on a bed watching Christmas movies [“John Travolta and Olivia Newton John Make the Bleakest Christmas Music Video Ever,” All Shook Down, 12/7]? It's even more awkward because the very next shot is Travolta's kids waiting in an airport for his wife to come home!


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