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Indybay Feature
View other events for the week of 10/27/2014
Date Monday October 27
Time 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Location Details
Global Exchange, 2017, Mission Street, San Francisco, CA - 94110
Near the 16th street BART station.
Event Type Meeting
Occupy Forum presents…


Prop G and CARES Campaigns
Attack Roots of San Francisco's Housing Woes

Most of us have heard the grim statistics: Ellis Act evictions up 170% in the last three years; 10,000 San Francisco tenants have been displaced by the Ellis Act since 1997, and most of us know many people who've been evicted, often long time residents, and with low incomes so they can't afford to stay in SF and must leave their community behind. And we also know how the tech boom has brought a wave of young, single people with high salaries to the city which has resulted in huge hikes in rents and house prices making housing unaffordable to people with low or even average incomes.

And while the tech companies take in astronomical profits every month, they aren't the only ones raking in the dough. Real Estate companies and speculators have been making a killing with their investments in housing, often seeing at least a 25% return on their investment in a year. Much of the current crisis has been fueled by these large speculators who don't live in the city, don't intend to live in the buildings they buy and don't even want to be landlords - their interest is purely profit. When their financial speculation includes our homes, we say "Enough is enough."

While there have been several attempts to address this crisis, they have mostly dealt with small symptoms of the overall problem such as making in-law units rent-controlled. And neo-liberal politicians have approved every development in hopes that more expensive condos would somehow dilute the market -- (this has been a complete failure). Efforts to reform the Ellis Act by State Sen. Mark Leno were defeated by Real Estate-funded Republicans. However, this coming election on Nov. 4, Prop G is on target to become the first significant legislation to address real estate speculation head-on.

Proposition G would levy a hefty tax on real estate speculators in San Francisco if they buy and then flip a mutli-unit building in less than 5 years. So Prop G would act as a significant disincentive for speculators to buy buildings, evict tenants and then resell them for huge profits. It's supported by most progressive and moderate politicians such as Mark Leno, Tom Ammiano, David Campos, John Avalos, Jane Kim and by groups like the SF Democratic Party, the SF Tenants Union, the Harvey Milk Democratic Club and many more.

Of course the real estate agents who profit so handsomely by selling our homes from under us aren't going to let this huge source of wealth generation be slowed in any way and so the national, state and local realtors associations have put well over $1.5 million into the NO ON G campaign, providing them with ten times the budget of YES ON G which is mostly grass roots. They also know that this prop could be a trend-setter for other parts of the country which are also experiencing speculation-fueled increases in housing costs. We need all hands on deck to get this legislation passed and to cool the artificial boom in SF real estate.

Fred Sherburn-Zimmer is an organizer with Housing Rights Committee and a founder of Eviction Free SF. Benito Santiago is also an Eviction Free SF member who has successfully fought the eviction of he and his neighbours from their Mission area homes. Both are active workers for the YES ON G campaign and they will explain in more detail what the Proposition is and how it will significantly help reduce evictions and slow increases in rents and house prices.

Then Julien Ball of ACCE will discuss the current state of the housing crisis in SF and what other measures are being proposed such at ACCE's CARES program. This is based on the City of Richmond's bold plan to use eminent domain to take over foreclosed upon homes from banks when they won't re-negotiate loans to keep people in their homes. ACCE is hoping to get San Francisco to join Richmond and adopt CARES to help the thousands of people whose homes are currently or may enter foreclosure here. ACCE Action is part of Families for an Affordable San Francisco, a community labor coalition that's been campaigning for YES ON J (increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour); YES ON G; and David Campos for State Assembly.
James Tracy, a long-time Bay Area activist and author will discuss the crisis and his new book on the topic Dispatches Against Displacement in which he promotes the vision of cities constructed, not just for profit, but "developed by and for the people who bring them to life and keep them running."

Q & A and Announcements will follow.
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Added to the calendar on Sunday Oct 26th, 2014 11:13 AM
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