Higher wages and tenants' rights, for the win


As we document in this week's cover story, a citywide coalition has sprung up to fight for tenants' rights in the face of mounting evictions and soaring rents, and momentum on this issue is steadily growing.

But that isn't the only sign of a newly invigorated movement that's beginning to count its victories and advance forward on behalf of tenants, workers, and thousands of San Franciscans who are less focused on turning a quick profit and more concerned with bringing about positive change. Last week brought several high notes on this front.

Citywide legislation that will limit discriminatory practices by employers and housing providers by reforming background check policies won initial approval at the Feb. 4 San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting.

Introduced by Sup. Jane Kim, the Fair Chance Act is part of a "ban the box" movement, backed by local grassroots organizations that came together to champion the rights of individuals who've encountered barriers to improving their lives due to past convictions that have left them with a permanent stigma.

At the meeting, Kim mentioned a woman who'd been told she "need not apply" for a job working as a cook — because of a simple shoplifting conviction from when she was in high school. The ordinance will require certain employers and housing providers to refrain from criminal history checks until after an initial job interview, and would make certain kinds of information off-limits, such as arrests that never resulted in a conviction.

Meanwhile, an initiative to curb height limits on waterfront development amassed enough signatures last week to qualify for the June ballot. That effort grew out of a successful referendum last November against the 8 Washington project, a key pushback where San Francisco voters rejected luxury condominiums at the ballot.

The Chinese Progressive Association and Jobs With Justice held a celebration last week to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the passage of the city's minimum wage ordinance.

While it remains the highest in the nation, San Francisco's 2014 minimum wage of $10.74 an hour still isn't enough to make ends meet, so allies of low-wage workers are launching the Campaign for a Fair Economy to push for a higher minimum wage at the ballot and to implement a higher wage standard for major retailers and chain stores.

There remains much to rail against, to be sure. A Craigslist ad for a $10,500-per-month two-bedroom apartment in the Mission generated a barrage of angry commentary from those who read it as doomsday for the historically Latino area, especially since the tone-deaf author used the word caliente to describe the neighborhood.

But the start of 2014 has already delivered some promising victories for progressives, and many have their sights set on even greater horizons.



applicant for a criminal record. All this does is stop the question being asked in interviews. And that is actually an opportunity to come clean.

In fact, when I ask "Is there anything else you would like to tell me in support of your application, I would expect them to volunteer convictions". I'm going to find out about them anyway but, if you volunteer them without prompting, I may be willing to overlook them.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 11, 2014 @ 5:33 pm

flat? Not anywhere I normally read. Maybe the outraged loser club chatroom?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 11, 2014 @ 5:35 pm

The Mission has only been "historically Latino" since the 60's. The Latinos moved into a neighborhood that was "historically Irish, German, and Polish". In another 50 years there'll be an article about some new group moving into the Mission which was "historically techie/hipster".

Posted by Guest on Feb. 11, 2014 @ 7:09 pm

Real Progressives want more housing for working class people. The rich NIMBY "Progressives" at The Guardian want to further restrict housing development, in an effort to drive up rents and home prices even further.

Forcing people to live far from work is bad for the environment, too. But the Guardian staff doesn't care about that either. They are turning San Francisco into an oversized Carmel.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Feb. 11, 2014 @ 7:31 pm

We cannot build our way to affordability, we run out of infrastructure runway first.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 11, 2014 @ 8:08 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2014 @ 9:39 am

Housing development in SF over the past 25 years - the Golden Age for SPUR, Willie Brown, Gavin Newsom and Ed Lee - has focused on building housing units only for multi-millionaires (and a small percentage of "affordable housing" units). By increasing the number of multi-millionaires in the city, this has attracted even more millionaires, who are quite happy to use Ellis, OMI and other other legal tools to radically change the city's demographics.

Nothing screams "I've made it" louder than living among other millionaires. Just ask Willie Brown at his multi-million dollar suite in the Four Seasons. Many zip codes in SF have become a gold standard for the "I've made it" label when comparing ourselves to the loser Jones' families who have to settle for Fremont, San Mateo or, god forbid, Oakland.

It makes sense that SPUR is a wedge to drive out middle-income residents when we remember its original name was "San Francisco Planning and Urban Renewal," which is code for "let's kick out the lower and middle income people (often PoC) and replace them with wealthy people." It's not surprising the SPUR lobby is Mayor Lee's main advocacy group for new ideas of how to displace even more low- and middle-income tenants, all under the guise of "increasing housing production."

I think most would agree that GPD is the biggest whiner on the SFBG chatboard - and that's really saying something given the strong competition - but assuming GPD really cares about more housing in the Bay Area and isn't just a transparent shill for his multi-millionaire developer buddies (which I think he is), GPD and his ilk - including other SPUR lackeys - should get on Samtrans or BART and visit one of the dozens of cities adjacent to highways 880, 24, 101 and 280 and tell THEM to build hundreds of thousands more housing units. The current land use patterns in these other cities is atrocious since it's obvious people want denser walkable, bikable communities filled with shops and restaurants they can visit on foot. Help THEM build about 100 of these denser, walkable neighborhoods all over the Bay Area and we'll be astounded at how fast rents will come down in the Bay Area, including SF, and how much the displacement pressure in SF starts to recede.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2014 @ 8:43 am

SF that is not building enough homes relative to the size of it's workforce, and not the burbs.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2014 @ 9:40 am

as big as the Bay Area, and half of SF is one of those, along with various communities south, east and north of SF.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2014 @ 9:41 am

The Guardian keeps up the cheerleading of the failed Tim and Bruce with the "see? see? we're winning!" BS all the while Ed Lee got elected Mayor, Avalos got his ASS KICKED HARD, the tech people keep kicking ass and getting their pretty tax breaks, the millionaires continue to evict, and the progressive politicians are there just for themselves and lining their own pockets (Campos / Avalos) and all the while there is a corporate owned weekly saying "Aww things are ok!"

Perfect. Hopefully when the corporation shuts this moneyloser down, and Steven T Jones is OUT OF A JOB and sparking a blunt on the street, he can continue his rants written in poo on a piece of cardboard.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2014 @ 9:08 am

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