If the recent developments at the Bayview Apartments located at 470 Central Street doesn’t alert the City Council that there are serious problems with the rental housing market, then I’m not sure what will. While some folks are worried about the tiny feelings of elected officials being hurt — or perhaps their political narrative being compromised — when the actions and history of their elected officials of choice are being discussed in context with this issue. (Pro-tip: you don’t get bonus points for attempting to fix something that you screwed up in the first place.) I’m more concerned about the people and families being affected by the half measures taken by this City Council which signal to the “out-of-town” landlords or whoever we are blaming today for the rental housing crisis.
Unfortunately the first victims of the City Council’s qualified “support” are these 470 Central families that have gone through the RRAC process already, twice, in as many years. We were told by Trish “I go to every RRAC meeting” Spencer that this RRAC process works. And we were told by housing providers to continue to let the RRAC attempt to do its job even though the changes to the RRAC are largely cosmetic and the RRAC still lacks any real authority.
Here are photos snapped by reporters and advocates at the 470 Cenral press conference on Saturday:
For those that are unclear about what is happening, from the Alameda Journal’s Peter Hegarty:
Residents of the Bayview Apartments at 470 Central Ave. were informed Nov. 7 that they must leave by Jan. 8. But on Veterans Day, the property owner, Sridhar Equities Inc., pushed back the deadline to Jan. 11.
“We are like a family here,” said Rommel Laguardia, 48, on Friday who lives in a one-bedroom unit with his wife and three children. “People are very stressed about what might happen, you can see it on their faces. Even the children.”
“They just want us out so that so that they can bring other tenants who will pay higher rents,” Laguardia said as he stood in the doorway of his apartment. “Where is everyone who lives here supposed to go? Do we all have to go live in tents by the bridge?”
Even in the face of eviction story after eviction story, we get this rehash of the pre-written comments read by Tony Daysog on the night of November 4 and this from Mayor Trish Spencer in an article about a couple being evicted in the SF Chronicle:
Spencer opposes setting a limit on rent increases, but says she’d support a law that empowered the city’s Rent Review Advisory Committee to set limits on individual rents. The committee can suggest rent caps through a mediation process, but its decisions aren’t binding.
Given Trish Spencer’s insistence that everything be left in the hands of the RRAC, it’s even more important that the RRAC be reflective, thoughtful, and deliberative. Oh, also, Trish Spencer’s pick, Karin Lucas, resigned from the RRAC yesterday, so there is a opening on the RRAC for a Housing Provider.