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Business Improvement Districts Use Public Funds to Pursue Anti-Homeless Agenda, Advocates Say

Rob Waters, San Francisco — Sep 18 2018 - 3:48pm

Nearly 200 California cities allow private organizations to manage key aspects of their downtown and commercial districts and to implement policies that restrict the rights of homeless people, according to a new report from the UC Berkeley School of Law.

Housing Speculators Again in Political Crosshairs

Liza Veale, San Francisco Public Press — Aug 22 2018 - 10:17am

In their 2018 mayoral campaigns, former state senator Mark Leno and Supervisor Jane Kim emphasized the role of speculators in driving gentrification and displacement in San Francisco. But what constitutes speculation? And would efforts to curb it pass political and legal muster?

Cities Sic the Taxman on Vacant ‘Ghost Homes’

Liz Enochs, San Francisco Public Press — Aug 20 2018 - 1:59pm

Is an abundance of vacant units worsening the Bay Area’s housing crisis? That’s what some politicians have suggested. Their solution: a new tax on landlords who leave residential properties unrented. Oakland voters will decide this fall, and San Franciscans may vote next year. Vancouver and Paris already have such levies on the books.

Activist Weiss Focuses Her Mayoral Campaign on Housing and Homelessness

Rob Waters, San Francisco Public Press — May 16 2018 - 7:25am

Amy Farah Weiss, founder of Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge, is an extra-long longshot to be elected the city's 44th mayor. In her second bid for City Hall, what she is doing is putting forward a detailed and wonky set of proposals for tackling core issues — and trying to impart a sense of urgency. Fourth in a series analyzing the mayoral candidates’ records and pledges on housing and homelessness.

Twitter, Other Tech Companies Get S.F. Tax Breaks but Show Little Progress Hiring in Neighborhood

Yoona Ha, San Francisco Public Press — Nov 11 2013 - 1:51pm

The largest of the firms settling in mid-Market signed extensive community agreements, but critics call them toothless

Last year, 14 San Francisco technology companies received $1.9 million in tax breaks for setting up shop in the mid-Market Street area. Supporters said it was a good investment, bringing economic development and jobs to an economically depressed strip in the core of the city. The zone is certainly coming back to life, and the companies that benefited now employ more than 2,700 workers. But it is less clear that the deal resulted in entry-level jobs for residents of the hardscrabble neighborhood — one of the goals most sought by skeptics of the tax break. The largest six of the companies promised a list of community benefits that included an effort to identify qualified job seekers in the Tenderloin and mid-Market area. But the agreements are vaguely worded, the companies have been slow to report their progress to the city, and most were unresponsive to direct questions about employment practices.

This story is part of a special report on workforce development in the San Francisco Public Press fall print edition.

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