Your Sunday front-page story reported the proposal that owners of unstable “soft-story” buildings be required to seismically upgrade their properties. But who should pay for expensive upgrades of rent-controlled properties?
Limits on evictions and rent increases are built into San Francisco culture and may be justified in some instances. But expecting small landlords to spend large amounts of money on seismic improvements for the benefit of tenants who may not require any financial assistance is unfair and unjust.
The City’s anti-homeowners claim landlords will eventually benefit from increased property values after the tenant dies or voluntarily vacates. By blocking the ability to increase rents or sell an unsafe building, rent control and limits on condo conversions just discourage important upgrades to The City’s historic buildings.
Get tough on public pay
I am amazed that our San Mateo County supervisors approved a new contract for deputy sheriffs guaranteeing they are paid 1 percent more than any other deputy sheriffs in the Bay Area for the next five years. This agreement is being called a savings because it is lower than the previous five-year contract, which guaranteed the deputy sheriffs 3 percent more than any counterparts in the Bay Area.
To close an $82 million gap in next year’s budget, the supervisors are considering massive layoffs and cuts to essential services. They also may dip into the county’s reserves (as they have for the past four years) and ask voters to raise the sales tax (which they nearly did last year).
Employee compensation is by far the biggest line item in the county budget. We need to make tough decisions and maintain a sustainable budget based on needs and priorities, rather than business as usual.
Fire them before strike
Muni drivers say they want to go on strike, but who’d even notice? A lot of unemployed people would be glad to take those jobs for reasonable compensation.
Why not can the whole bunch? It couldn’t be any worse. We would get rid of all those underworked and overpaid crybabies and also save money. The passengers wouldn’t notice the bus not being where it’s supposed to be, because it rarely is to begin with.
The safety record for new hires would improve because there wouldn’t be a union defending them after they fell asleep or are caught texting at the wheel. It’s a win-win for San Francisco and the economy.