No progress in condo conversion standoff, despite the Chron's spin

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This poor PacHeights couple profiled by the Chron just wants a home they can sell. Should we blame tenants or Realtors?
Liz Hafalia/SF Chronicle

Perhaps it was just an unfunny April Fool's Day joke or some wishful political spin, but the San Francisco Chronicle's April 1 article about how tenancy-in-common owners and their political supporters are pushing legislation that would allow them to bypass the condo conversion lottery seriously misrepresented the city's biggest current political standoff.

Nevermind the article's over-the-top bias in favor of those poor, hard-luck TIC owners, like the featured Pacific Heights couple forced to raise their baby in a closet when all they really want to do is flip the apartment they bought for a profit. Or how the Chron all-but-ignored the fact that these TICs were rent-controlled apartments in a city where two-thirds of citizens rent. That kind of top-down view of the world is pretty typical for the Chron, even in its news stories, despite the paper's strained claim to “objectivity.”

No, the article's real sin was to get the basic facts wrong on where this political stalemate now stands, presenting the wishful spin of one side as if it were the latest news. Between the headline, “Owners seeking condo conversions may have shot” and the first deckhead, “Making progress” (which plays off this paragraph. “'I think we're making progress in our discussions and negotiations,' said [sponsoring Sup. Mark] Farrell, while noting the talks with tenant advocates, TIC owners, and real estate interests are 'far from the finish line.'”) the article leaves the impression current negotiations may produce a compromise.

But the problem is that there aren't any current negotiations between the two sides, and there haven't been for weeks, according to tenant and other involved sources. In fact, they say there's been no movement in this standoff since almost a month ago when I last reported that tenant groups and progressive supervisors were preparing a set of hostile amendments to the legislation.

They would allow a one-time condo lottery bypass for the nearly 2,500 TIC owners in the pipeline in exchange to shutting down the lottery for many years and preventing any conversions of rent-controlled apartments into condos until city builds a comparable amount of new affordable housing, and then probably restricting condo conversions to smaller buildings after that to protect large rent-controlled apartment buildings from real estate speculators.

That proposed compromise, which the article barely mentions before letting Farrell say "his legislation poses no threat to rent control," would help the poor Pacific Heights couple at the center of the article. But the real estate industry and its conservative allies don't really care about that couple as much as they do maintaining the flow of rental units into the real estate market, which is why the negotiations have broken down.

Instead, the Chron has Sup. London Breed – who is indeed a swing vote of the issue, but not one that tenant groups are counting on given how close she is to Plan C and the landlord lobby – citing a compromise proposal that would prevent the new condo owners from selling their properties for five years to discourage real estate speculation.

Perhaps that's something the TIC owners and real estate interests that the article relies on think is a realistic compromise, but it's not something that has been seriously discussed with tenant groups, mediating Sup. David Chiu, or the other interests that would be needed to pass this legislation.

Sara Shortt, the token tenant activist that the Chron talked to for the article, confirmed to us that there is no real compromise deal in the works and preventing the creation of new condos from existing apartments is a bottom-line issue that unites everyone who is now opposed to this legislation.

“The Plan C/Realtor etc. won't concede on our key issue: restriction on future conversions in exchange for the bypass. We have given as much as we can give and they have given virtually nothing in return,” Shortt, executive director of the Housing Right Committee, told us by email.

Even Sup. Scott Wiener, who co-sponsors the legislation with Farrell, told us there has been “no change from before,” when negotiations broke down. But the legislation is on the April 15 agenda for the Land Use and Economic Development Committee – for the fifth time, with most hearings canceled because of the lack of negotiating progress.

If the Realtors and Plan C (which is dominated by real estate and banking interests) stick to their intransigent position – hurting this poor Pac Heights couple in the process, which the Chron fails to note – then tenants and progressive supervisors are likely to amend the legislation and call the bluff of those who claim this issue is simply about poor TIC owners stuck with shared mortgages.

Comments

So raising your kid in a closet is acceptable to you if the parents live in pacific heights? Who cares what neighborhood they're in?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 5:34 pm

baby simply want to flip their unit. That's a horrific slandorous slur, and you should immediately withdraw the libellous insult, although I am fairly sure you will not.

Just to summarize, this bypass will free thousands of SF'ers from the tyranny of TIC's - a form of ownership that doesn't exist anywhere, nor would have to, but for rent control.

Moreover, it will not evict or displace a single tenant. Nor will it remove from rent control one single unit that isn't going condo anyway.

Nor will it benefit any Ellis'ed building.

Your opposition to it is misguided, but bitchoing out hinest, decent families with children is a new low for you. How sick and depraved can you be?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

So let me get this straight... the "tyranny" of TICs wouldn't exist but for rent control, but allowing more condo conversions won't hurt rent control one bit. Sounds self-contradictory to me. But then again, the whole post is filled with such hyperbolic vitriol that I don't think the poster was paying much attention at all to whether his argument actually makes any sense.

Cool your jets there, Glenn Beck. If the couple doesn't want to rent, and doesn't want the risk of a TIC, nobody says they have to stay in San Francisco. Plenty of houses with nice back yards in Fremont or Vallejo, and they won't have to subject the kid to living in a closet either.

After all, as the trolls always say, I can't afford a house in Aspen either, so I don't buy there. I don't go to Aspen looking for some risky TIC deal to circumvent the high prices, and then ask them to change the rules after the fact. These people made their bed, now they should lie in it.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

Trolls look pretty ridiculous after their own words have been stuffed back into their mouths, no?

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

Wake up, Lilli. Isn't there another website somewhere that you haven't been banned from? Or is this the only one which will tolerate you?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

with rent control for the simple reason that all untis would either be condo or rental.

Admittedly NYC has co-op's, which are a little like TIC's, but then of course that's the only other major city with insanely invasive land use laws.

Oh, and yeah maybe you don't move to Aspen and ask for favorable laws. But you sure as hell move to SF and expect them. So here's a deal for you - scrap rent control and we can scrap all TIC's, and any need to change them.

Fair?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

Rent control is there to protect people who otherwise would be forced from their homes. If this is a real problem for this family, they should find a place with rent control.

What these people want is to change the laws in their favor so they can make an extra 200K or so. Don't get me wrong... I totally understand the appeal. Buy a cheap TIC, then change the rules, sell as a condo, make out like bandits and laugh all the way to the bank. Nice deal if you can get it. "If" being the key word here. These people knew *exactly* what they were getting into when they bought it. They bought a property at a substantial discount because of the risks associated with TICs. They chose to do it anyway with full knowledge. Now they want us to bail them out. Tough.

Except... the progressives are actually giving them a lifeline. See, what doesn't make sense about this, is that 2500 TIC owners can throw a wrench and make the whole machinery of government grind to a screeching halt at their whim. They don't have that much clout. So 2500 poor TIC owners aren't what this is about. This is about the big real estate lobby drumming up an issue that shouldn't even be on the table, trying to eviscerate rent control through the back door.

Well, the progressives are calling their bluff, as the Guardian rightly points out. If this is *really* about the poor, poor TIC owners, then this compromise would solve the problem this family is having. If I were them, I'd be thrilled and overjoyed at this compromise, because for them it's problem solved. They get their bailout. But watch how quickly the real forces behind this push abandon this "poor, unfortunate" family. Because it's not really about them, is it?

Personally I wouldn't even give them this much. Like I've said before, this compromise gives away too much. There's no guarantee that future condo conversions will be shut down under future boards of supervisors. Sorry, tough shit guys. It's not like they're going to lose their home. They're just not going to get a massive cash windfall. Well I'd like a big cash windfall too. We can't always get what we want. They knew what they were getting into. Don't ask us to change the rules mid-game.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

As anyone who has looked for a place to rent in the city knows, there's a shortage of supply. Why? Microeconomics 101. Rent control. It's simple supply and demand. With rent control, fewer are willing to rent their places out and we find ourselves in a state without enough supply. Too many renters looking for too few apartments.

It literally blows my mind that this is as hotly discussed as it is. Over 90% of economists agree that rent control is detrimental. Sure, it sounds nice to have rent control. Nobody wants to force anyone out of their rented home. If someone can't afford to keep their place, well, that's too bad, but life's not free. Somebody is always paying the bill. You said it yourself, there are plenty of nice places a short bart ride away that are accessible and much more affordable.

If you have greater insight into the hidden benefits of rent control that hundreds of professional economists have somehow overlooked, please share. I would love to hear it, the world would love to hear it, and if it's true, you would probably win a Nobel Prize for it.

TICs only exist because of rent control issues. If you believe in rent control and disagree with nearly everyone that has spent much more time thinking about the implications of this than you have, then you will be against the lottery bypass.

Google: "Khan Academy and rent control". Watch the video. It might teach you something.

If you are still unconvinced, I would love to hear your thoughts on why you think rent control is good and why TIC lottery bypass is bad.

It's tough to argue with the ill-informed.

Sidenote: I may be confused, but how is rent control not a cash windfall for those that are lucky enough to find themselves paying $500 a month when any other comparable place goes for $2000? Seems like a giveaway to me...

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 12:50 am

decided to stay in one place for a long time rather than progress. It comes at the expense of another resident who took a risk and bought a building. And unlike in other cities, where LL's are large corporations, many SF LL's own just one building, often living in it too. So it can easily happen that the tenant is wealthier than the landlord, but still they get that windfall subsidy.

It is always amusing to hear progressives whine about Prop 13, but endlessly support rent control, when both reward someone who never moves.

Posted by anon on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 6:25 am

Rent control is not a giveaway any more than any other government regulation. The landlord still makes plenty of money. The tenant is still subsidizing the landlord's mortgage. Rent control just injects a little bit of fairness into the process. Oh how you hate the word "fair!" But sorry, in San Francisco, we have rent control. Don't like it? Move to Dallas.

And spare me the tripe that letting landlords charge what they please would lower prices. Seriously, do you think people are stupid? The landlord lobby doesn't believe that, or else they wouldn't be fighting for its demise.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 7:20 am

And who are you to decide for someone else what is an appropriate ROI?

You complained earlier that TIC owners want the ruels changed after the fact. But what about landlords who bought rental buildings prior to 1979, and then suddenly had the "rules changed" when RC came along?

Presumably you think that is as "unfair" as giving TIC owners a break, right?

So should laws and rules never change? Is that it?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 7:30 am

The landlord business, like any business, involves a certain amount of risk. Since rents can theoretically go up *or* go down, if you don't like the ROI that the property gives you as rents are right *now*, then maybe you shouldn't buy the property. Of course most landlords are speculators, hoping that both rents and property values go up. And usually they're right, so properties that start out being barely cash flow positive when bought, wind up enormously profitable down the line. The 1979 rent control ordinance didn't do anything to change that. It didn't reduce rents. So a property that was a good investment before the law, was still a good investment after.

Personally, I like the type of rent control they're instituting in Venzuela
http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/7509
There, rents are set at 3-5% per year of the total value of the property. Single property owners get to charge more than multiple property owners (read: speculators). And tenant activists help set rents. Properties are inspected by activists who have undergone training, and set based on objective criteria, including property material, contents,structure, and location... not some pie-in-the-sky "market" value.

It's a beautiful thing they're building there. But that's not the kind of rent control we have in San Francisco.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 8:00 am

get on the enxt plane there? Obviously a free-market capitalist nation doesn't suit you.

But of course rent control changed things in 1979. It immediately made rental buildings worth less since they are priced relative to the discounted future cashflow, which became less overnight.

But the 1979 version of RC wasn't so bad. It rightly excluded owner-occupied small buildings, and it allowed a 4% rent increase each year. So as much as anything it is the gradual tightening of RC that has made it so onerous.

You're right that a LL can always sell if he doesn't like his deal. But it's more profitable to Ellis/TIC, or to TIC/Condo if and when you get vacancies. So the real result of RC is less rental housing, and therefore of course higher rents.

It's called the law of unintended consequences.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 9:41 am

You clearly didn't watch the Khan Academy video...

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 10:34 pm

TIC formation is driven by demand for home ownership. Their numbers are increasing, and so is their political power. This trend is the likely pathway toward reforming the current laws. It's just a matter of time.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 10:36 am

changing the demographic of SF voters, and it is that which really scares the dwindling number of hardcore old-school leftists in SF. They literally are seeing their target constituency (losers and victims) erods as more successful and higher-value folks move in.

That's why they oppose any new build, and most new jobs that are outside the public sector.

Dinosaurs.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 10:47 am

teachers and other ordinary middle class peopl who have saved and struggled to find a place of their own. In the vast majority of cases, they were SF renters until they bought their TIC. They lare not speculators trying to flip homes for a profit, as both you and Steven disingenuously claim. They just want a little more stability and affordability for their homes - the same as the rest of us.

The BofS can give them a lifeline and make their lives better without harming anyone else AND with millions of dollars in fees for affordable housing. Everyone wins and nobody loses, and yet you're still not happy.

You appear to be motivated purely by anger that a class of people that excludes you are getting something, not for nothing, but for 20K in extra fees. And it's something they would have gotten in a few eyars anyway - all we're doing here is making it happen sooner.

Posted by anon on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 6:23 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 11:53 am

don't renters move there and we wouldn't need confiscatory rent control policies any more.

Oakland has cheap housing and is even closer. No need for a lack of money to drive any renter away from the Bay Area - they just maybe cannot afford the nicest parts, as you would surely expect.

Posted by anon on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

much like those poor-ass thugz in the Bayview.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

You're already known for your racist pronouncements against african americans. Do you really want to put your racism on full display again by adding to it with comments like these?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:30 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

to progressive thought - Steven had indicated that here repeatedly. We must root out the poisonous weeds which keep the beautiful flowers from blooming. And we must start with these class enemies in PAC HEIGHTS.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

SF progressives:

1) Always pit different classes of people against each other e.g. rich vs poor, black vs white, property owners versus tenants. There can be no class warfare, identity politics or institutionalized envy without first having convenient classifications.

2) Always reserve special venom for those who abandon the good fight. So tenant activists hate TIC owners more than they hate landlords or property companies, because those TIC owners were recently tenants themselves, but left the "good" class of people and joined the "bad" class of people.

Posted by anon on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 6:29 am

here:

"SF progressives... [a]lways pit different classes of people against each other e.g. rich vs poor, black vs white, property owners versus tenants. There can be no class warfare, identity politics or institutionalized envy without first having convenient classifications."

The troll is pretending to claim that the terms define the conflict. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The terms only describe the conflict. Deprived of the terms, the victims of aggression have no means to describe what is occuring to them. Vile rhetoric, but par for the course with anon.

"SF progressives... [a]lways reserve special venom for those who abandon the good fight. So tenant activists hate TIC owners more than they hate landlords or property companies, because those TIC owners were recently tenants themselves, but left the "good" class of people and joined the "bad" class of people."

Completely backwards once again. Progressives have no "special venom" for the would-be TIC-to-condo converters. They are free to "leave the class of people" -- whatever that means; we simply refuse to sit still while they take rent-controlled housing stock with them.

Posted by lillipublicans on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 9:03 am

The beneficiaries of rent control are victims when their benefit is taken away? LOL

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 9:23 am

First convince a class of people that they are oppressed and underpriviliged.

Then fight to oppress the other class, and make your class overpriviliged.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 9:33 am

Yet progressives never tire of singing it!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 11:06 am

score a cheap shot against Ellison?

Now he stoops to using the hardships of babies to try and advance his political agenda.

He clearly has no shame.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

Something like a quarter of US children are food insecure. Compared to most babies in America, this one's doing just fine.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

Yeah...those parents need to get real.

This is San Francisco, many people remain in the closet until their 20s or even 30s

Posted by Troll on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 7:51 pm

Considering what was written below, I hope they rot in their TIC. I hope the other dupes in their TIC bail on the mortgage and stick them with the whole bill. You reap what you sow.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:05 pm

It's that bad to want to own a home?

Posted by anon on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 6:30 am

A couple with the kind of income and connections that the Ernsts apparently have, have many choices. They can afford to buy an expensive home, they can afford to live close to their clients at PG&E and wherever else, they can afford to have a home with a big backyard and a large bedroom for the baby. But maybe they're not billionaires, so they can't afford all of the above.

So they prioritize, like virtually all of us do. Now perhaps you or I would prioritize a better living space for the baby. The Enrsts, on the other hand, made a conscious choice to keep the baby in a closet and live in a fancy address. Nothing wrong with that. As masters of their destiny in this great free market paradise of ours, which I'm sure they believe in, they're entitled to that.

Well except now they want to have their cake and eat it too. Oh no. Not on my dime.

Posted by Anonymouse on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

Uh - how is this couple being able to go condo going to be on "your dime?" Assuming you have one to your name in the first place - which I highly doubt you do.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 9:01 pm

While I think it's a bit unseemly to go around flaunting it, since you mention it, I happen to be quite successful. Here's the thing, though. I did it on my own, and I believe you should take responsibility for your actions. I didn't get a big inheritance from mommy or daddy, I didn't have the benefit of fancy connections to get me a favored job or business opportunity that isn't available to someone else. Everything I earned, I earned due to my wits, and I can't stand self-entitled d-bags who make lousy choices in life, and then whine about the outcome, and use their connections to change the rules in their favor after they fuck up. I can only hope that this will be an expensive lesson for them. Though sadly, people like that always get bailed out, one way or another, by friends in high places.

Posted by Anonymouse on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 9:42 pm

of how TIC owners being able to go condo - something which increases the city's tax base, is on "your dime?" Again - how are YOU going to be subsidizing these people if they're able to go condo?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 10:12 pm

owner when a TIC goes condo. In fact, the TIC owner pays a lot of dimes to the city, plus 20K "bypass fee" in this case.

One thing though - property taxes do not go up when a TIC goes condo - it is grandfathered into the same property tax as before.

Posted by anon on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 6:34 am

much as "loser TIC owners"?

You classidy people only by whether they "made it by themselves" rather than had some windfall?

Well, a rent controlled tenancy is a windfall as well, and is on someone else's dime. So presumably you feel the same way about every SF tenant who is rent-controlled?

Posted by anon on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 6:32 am

Please explain how this condo lottery bypass would be on the taxpayer dime. This legislation would cost TIC owners money, so how exactly is it costing taxpayers?

The vast majority of TICs are owner-occupied- that's the ONLY way a TIC even gets into the lottery to begin with. So please also explain how this tiny number of units being removed from the POTENTIAL to be under rent control even affects renters.

I think the biggest problem here is that Tenant Union activists are spreading misinformation about the issue. Rather than getting your opinions from other people how about actually requesting a copy of the bill from the Board of Supervisors and actually READ it.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

Removing up to 2,500 units of rent-controlled housing is a major cost to the city's future renters, for generations to come. When these units are re-rented, which many of them will be in the future, they will not ofter protection to tenants from significant rent increases, often leading to eviction if the tenants can't afford the big jumps in rent price.

Plus, just the act of removing 2,500 rent-controlled units from the 100,000 of so of total rent control units puts enormous pressure on rents for every new tenant who moves to the city and on current residents who need to move and find new accommodation. Rent-controlled housing is one of the city's most important assets, benefiting future generations as well as protecting exisitng residents from eviciton when rents skyrocket during times of tremendous job growth but little housing construction, like now.

These TIC owners should have bought one of the 10,000+ "new" condo units that have been built over the past 20 years and they would have gotten their ownership housing and would not have had to destroy part of the city's rent-controlled housing stock. Or they could have waited until the city builds another 20,000 housing units over the next 15 years and bought one of these units.

For the most part many of these TIC owners are scammers and speculators, buying up rent-controlled apartments and then making $100-200,000 when they get converted to condos. These TIC buyers are economic exploiters. The city shouldn't be changing the rules to benefit these exploiters, no matter how photogenic or "normal" these TIC owners appear.

If the BOS allows any changes to the TIC rules allowing a quicker path to condo conversion it will only encourage more evictions and more TICs in the future. New TIC buyers will assume the city will allow another mass conversion sometime in the not too distant future, allowing another group of economic exploiters and speculators to benefit from the politician's willful destruction of rent-controlled housing units.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

rent control. First because the tenants have long departed from them, and they are occupied now by their owners. And second, because they are all heading for condo anyway - so not one unit is "lost" that wasn't going to be "lost" anyway. Only the timing changes a little.

Sounds like your issue is that any unit is ever allowed to go condo, but that's a different debate.

In fact, the best chance of these units ever being rented out again is if they do become condo's, as Costa-Hawkins give owners the confidence to rent. A TIC owner would be certifiable to rent their unit out because it is still covered by RC.

Oh, and more disinformation from you. Most TIC owners are middle-income people like nurses and teachers, who were tenants themselves until recently, and who want to live in their homes long-term.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

demand for home ownership possibilities. And it is in fact progressives who oppose more new build, paradoxically making SF's housing affordibility worse, not better.

The reason homeowners buy TIC's is because they are more affordable - they cannot afford the new build not the existing homes with a "clean" title.

I'd guess at least 90% of TIC buyers are existing tenants, which rather debunks your idea that TIC buyers are somehow different from and opposed to tenants.

Also, TIC's cannot be stopped by the city (Bierman tried and failed) so there is nothing the BofS can do about the formation of TIC's. Just like there is nothing they can do about Costa-Hawkins and Ellis. You don't get everything your own way, ya know?

Posted by anon on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

If the government would do its job and limit single-family and condo purchasers to encourage resident purchasers over out-of-state and out-of-country speculators and vultures, there would be a lot more housing available for purchase at better prices. When we read stories of Wall Street bankers setting up billion dollar vulture real estate funds to buy up tens of thousands of single family homes in CA, and we read about real estate speculators from all over the world buying up Bay Area properties because "they're a good investment" and not because they will use them as a place to live, we know the housing market is going to be horribly distorted. Add the billion dollar tax subsides government gives to landlords and property speculators, and it's a wonder any of the 75% of families living below the 150% AMI level can ever afford a place to buy. The system and benefits are all skewed to those who already have wealth.

If we give residents at least the first 60 days that a property is on the market to make purchase offers; and if we impose a minimum 65% capital gain tax rate on all real estate sales other than a family's primary residence; and if we eliminate the billion dollar tax subsides given to real estate speculators, then we'll get a little better idea of the true dynamics of the housing market. Republicans are sometimes right: the government has deeply distorted the housing market to disfavor current residents and reward real estate speculators, many of them the ultra wealthy 1%ers from across the globe.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

I'm looking at you, Tim. You're the investigative journalist, here... and the one giving the Chronicle free publicity, a recurring favor which I'm sure they don't return.

So this whole notion about a poor, poor couple and their baby who has to grow up in the closet, got me thinking... so who are these folks anyway? I did a quick little google search on Kevin Ernst and his lovely wife. Well what do you know, turns out he's a GIS analyst. A GIS analyst in the Bay Area isn't poor. This guy makes well in excess of six digits. But that's not all... his previous job was at... Plan C!!! Well how's about them's apples! Other clients have included Chevron, BP, and everybody's favorite totally nonpolitical utility, PG&E. The Chron doesn't pick just anyone to be the poster child for their yellow journalism articles.

There's also another, older gentleman, also named Kevin Ernst, whose job description is listed as "Account Executive, Principal at PG&E." Kevin's dad, perchance??? Maybe no relation, but that would be quite the coincidence. I can imagine the conversation... "You're Keving Ernst? How about that! I'm Kevin Ernst too. Fancy that the only two Kevin Ernts in the city work for the same company!"

All I'm saying is there's this whole nasty revolving door of relationships between the Chron, PG&E, Plan C, and local politicians doing the bidding of these financial elites. It's an ugly and incestuous cesspool, and unless you're part of that club, these people don't give a damn about you.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

Thank you for pointing our their dubious class heritage and thus their suspect loyalties to prevailing progressive thought. North Korea has a very effective way of dealing with these kinds of enemies of the people - they imprison them for 4 generations to "eradicate the poisonous weeds which keep the beautiful flowers from blooming."

Steven was right in pointing out in three places they are from "PAC HEIGHTS." You have filled in the rest of this dirty little puzzle. You are to be congratulated and rewarded.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

Here in America, losers in the class war are just banished from the city.

Except these people clearly are well-connected to the city elites, so the ordinary rules do not apply. They feel entitled to special privileges. No thought of taking personal responsibility for their poor choice of making a risky investment -oh no, not these people. No, these are people of means, well-bred, and entitled to live in the lifestyle to which they are accustomed. And if we have to change the rules to accommodate their shitty choices, that's A-Ok. Anything to accommodate the desires of such obviously deserving people!

Posted by Anonymouse on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 8:57 pm

for many people who would otherwise be totally priced out of this inflated market. It's strange you're lumping TIC owners in with "elites" when most TIC units are actually cheaper than comparatively priced single family homes, apartments or condos.

Our city's fucked up attitude, nurtured by the left, that home ownership is something to be discouraged is why we have shit options like TIC ownership in the first place.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 10:16 pm

"TIC ownership actually provides an entre to home ownership for many people who would otherwise be totally priced out of this inflated market. "

So maybe the inflated market is the real problem here. Perhaps some market controls might be in order. If, OTOH, you're completely incapable of thinking outside the "free" market box, then fine. I'll whip out the Aspen card. That always seems to work for you trolls. Problem?

"It's strange you're lumping TIC owners in with "elites" when most TIC units are actually cheaper than comparatively priced single family homes, apartments or condos."

Yes, but with more risk and disadvantages, as several posters explained. Don't want the risk? Don't buy a TIC. Don't have the money for a house? Rent or move to Fremont. Don't want to do either? Too bad. I can't buy a full price house in Aspen either. Problem?

"Our city's fucked up attitude, nurtured by the left, that home ownership is something to be discouraged is why we have shit options like TIC ownership in the first place. "

Wait... so we have TICs because the left discourages buying? Bizarre reasoning. No one on the left is discouraging buying. Your precious "free" market discourages buying, because no one has the political will to control prices. And I thought just a second ago you were lauding TICs as a way for people to buy "in this totally inflated market." Now they're "shit options?" Make up your mind, Lucretia.

Posted by Greg on Apr. 03, 2013 @ 11:33 pm

that I do not know of any other city in the coutnry that ahs them, at least not on this scale. (It's a form of ownership and not a form of building, so they do occur everywhere, just not like this).

It's partly because of rent control, as that provides an incentive for owners to change from rental to owner occupy - a perverse outcome from the intent to provide more affordable housing.

But it's also partly because the city then goes further and allows only 200 buildings a year to convert to condo. This again is because of rent control, because Costa-Hawkins exempts condo's from most of rent control.

So a "gray area" is ceated in the market for these TIC homes - it's better than renting but not as good as proper ownership - a no man's land that is good for nobody. And it seems nobodyc ares about them - other tenants envy and resent them, while "real" owners look down at them as second class owners.

They have nobody fighting for their corner, and this is a chance to help them at no cost. But the left is too spiteful and ideological toc are about real people, it's all about the class war instead.

Posted by anon on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 6:40 am

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