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Week of Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Rent Rants

We prefer "Coca-Cola Commies," thank you very much: You smartass Pepsi Proletarians who keep moaning about San Francisco's skyrocketing rents ["Making the Rent," The Apologist, Dec. 21] should be looking for apologies from Chris Daly, Aaron Peskin, Matt Gonzalez, and their puppet masters at the Tenants Union who have crushed the rental housing market with the double whammies of rent control/overregulation and NIMBY restrictions that overprice or prevent new construction altogether.

Thousands of units sit vacant and unrented because their owners have given up dealing with the rent-control bureaucracy. Tens of thousands more bring in unjustifiably low rents which must be subsidized by market-rate tenants to cover costs. On top of that, San Francisco housing policy bestows nearly unlimited rights on tenants and dumps nearly all responsibility on owners. It is hardly a wonder that they are bailing out of this mess as fast as they can dump their properties as TICs or condos.

New construction of market-rate housing without endless bureaucratic hassles would reduce the demand and prices for existing housing at all levels and in all neighborhoods. But horrors! Who would want that? That clean-cut yuppie who pays his own way in this life and who just rented a dump in the Mission might want to move in right next door!

If you think that San Francisco's rental "housing stock" is yours to manipulate and that its owners are livestock whose existence is only valid as long as they subsidize it with their labor and their money, I have news for you. Even your dead god Karl Marx conceded the hopelessness of fighting the law of supply and demand.

Things won't get better for renters until you stop kicking yourselves in the ass by electing anti-housing jerks like Chris Daly. As for my little building, thanks for making me a millionaire, you chumps. You get no apologies from me!

Steven Edwards
San Francisco

P.S. The best article I ever read on the subject was written in, of all places, SF Weekly.

Ah, the glorious renting days of 2000: Your article was interesting. However, a much more interesting and alarming story will be about future rents. San Francisco [is more] affordable for renters (not for homeowners) than it has been since the mid-1990s. Rents dropped precipitously for new or turnover rentals after the 2001 recession, and have only recently shown some signs of increasing. Therefore, your story about affordability today is nothing compared to what a similar story will look like in a few years, [when] rental rates recover and ... even reach their previous 2000 highs.

The reasons for this are: renewed job growth; new jobs that will attract more young professionals to San Francisco will mostly be renters; the echo boom is just hitting the age where they move out from home/leave college and rent an apartment; almost no apartment units have been built in years; the strong for-sale market and more apartment buildings that have condo tract maps [switching] to for-sale. The result will be rent spikes in the next few years.

Alan C. Billingsley
San Francisco

Football Guy

But we're sure Dan Savage uses computer models -- oh, wait: If Paraag [Marathe] and Tommy [Craggs] want to convince us computer modeling or whatever is the wave of the future for the NFL ["Offensive Line," Dec. 28], they're going to need a better example than that "great value" Jonas Jennings. NFL insiders, men who possibly wouldn't know a spreadsheet from their own linen, could have and would have and, in fact, did remark that Jennings would not make it through the season unscathed. The "better than average left tackle" played about three games before being sidelined for the season.

Better load up the computer with even more criteria, boys. However, there's just no substitute for experience, and that, alas, can't be downloaded.

Savage Love is great, though. And you just know he's speaking from experience. Check it out.

Bruce Smith
San Francisco


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