Public Press Weekly: Housing Crisis — No End in Sight

Want a Painted Lady? Forget about buying a Victorian home, as prices are entering the stratosphere. Creative Commons image by Flickr user Maju Rezende (http://www.flickr.com/photos/MajuRezende)
Want a Painted Lady? Forget about buying a Victorian home, as prices are entering the stratosphere. Creative Commons image by Flickr user Maju Rezende

The housing crisis tops the legislative agenda this week as state lawmakers consider bills (KQED) that include a proposed $4 billion affordable housing bond and a measure creating a real estate fee to raise $250 million to help reduce the housing shortage. Keep your fingers crossed that something good will happen, legislatively speaking, because the housing scene is increasingly grim.

Home sales in San Francisco are tanking because of low inventory and high prices (Business Insider). If you’re a first-time homebuyer, brace yourself — the nine-county Bay Area median price for a home in July was $758,000 (San Francisco Chronicle).

Renters are also having a tough time, parrying threats of eviction and steep rent increases. One case involving a ginormous rent increase may even sweep away eviction protections (San Francisco magazine).

One bright spot: San Francisco is scheduled to open its first Navigation Center specifically for homeless people suffering from mental illness and drug addiction (San Francisco Chronicle).

Checking In on Mother Earth

✤  San Francisco comes in at No. 4 on the Sustainable Development Goals Index, which measures how cities handle such issues as poverty, health and climate change. “Which American Cities Are the Most Sustainable?” (Grist)

✤  But the city is slacking off environmentally. San Francisco’s newest diesel-electric hybrid buses have been discovered idling indefinitely in bus yards. “Exclusive: Key Pollution Control Program Is Disabled in SF Muni’s Newest, Costliest, ‘Greenest’ Hybrid Buses” (Mission Local)

✤  Worried the federal government is defunding and whitewashing climate research? Take heart: Private satellite companies are providing critical information about sea-level rise and more. “Keeping an Eye on Climate Change” (Slate)

✤  If drought is high on public officials’ list of concerns, transforming wastewater to drinking water may be an idea whose time has come. “Toilet to Tap? Some in Drought-Prone California Say It’s Time” (The Mercury News)

✤  Cities like Berkeley have taken a stand on climate change (they’re against it), but some fault them for falling down on the job. “Lefty Cities Say They Want to Fight Climate Change but Won’t Take the Most Obvious Step to Do It” (Slate)

More on Issues of Racial Unrest

✤  Rep. Nancy Pelosi condemned anti-fascist activists who clashed with right-wingers at a rally in Berkeley last Sunday. “Nancy Pelosi Calls for Violent Antifa to Be Arrested” (Sfist)

✤  Berkeley’s police force is being criticized as not doing enough to identify and prosecute white supremacy groups. “Are Police Taking the Violent White Supremacist Gang Threat Seriously?” (East Bay Express)

✤  Regarding the let-’em-eat-cake school of activism, an East Bay bakery’s cake decorated with “Kill Nazis” got a lot of negative feedback online. “‘Kill Nazis’ Cake Inundates Berkeley Baker With Online Harassment” (Sfist)

Housing Isn’t the Only Shortage in San Francisco

The kids are back in school, but where are the teachers? San Francisco has a huge teacher shortage, with no end in sight. But could the solution be simple: higher pay? “To Plug Its Massive Teacher Shortage, San Francisco Is Doing Everything but the Obvious” (San Francisco magazine)