Board relieves pet-surcharge advocates

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A city commission’s proposal to permit landlords to increase rent as an incentive to allow tenants to have pets has cost some their jobs.

In March, The City’s Animal Control and Welfare Commission submitted a resolution to the Board of Supervisors urging adoption of legislation that would allow landlords to charge 5 percent of a tenant’s rent per pet as an incentive for landlords to roll out the welcome mat for animals.

In doing so, the commission touched upon a politically charged issue and wound up pitting landlord advocates, who supported the resolution, against tenant advocacy groups, who opposed it and who generally find support in the progressive members of the board.

Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said Friday that chair of the commission Richard Schulke “should have known better,” and thatthe proposal amounted to “a scheme that undermines” The City’s rent-control laws.

During Thursday’s Board of Supervisors Rules Committee meeting, Peskin refused to reappoint Schulke and the two other commissioners who supported the resolution.

Peskin said he was “very displeased about their willingness to enter into a policy arena that is long-standing and that frankly is, I don’t think, part of their bailiwick.” He said he would not vote to reappoint anyone who voted “for that cockamamie thing.”

The resolution was sold as a way to make San Francisco’s rental market a more pet-friendly atmosphere. The commission took up the idea based on the advocacy of dog owner Rex Reginald, who recently relocated to The City from Los Angeles. Reginald has said that in a city with an estimated 120,000 dogs, he too often hears about the difficulty animal owners have in trying to find an apartment.

Supervisor Tom Ammiano voted in favor of reappointing Schulke, citing his years of city service. Schulke has sat on the commission for 14 years.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd supported Peskin’s position, although he said, “I don’t think just for one vote they should be cast aside.”

The committee did not reappoint Schulke, or the two other commissioners, William Hamilton and Sherri Franklin, instead opting to appoint other candidates.

“We serve at the pleasure of the board and I guess we no longer please the board,” Schulke said on Friday. Schulke said he has no second thoughts about the incentive. “I still think it was a good idea. It wasn’t a mandatory thing,” he said. “It was a fairly nice thing. It went up to the board. Nobody wanted anything to do with it.”

jsabatini@examiner.com

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