Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Housing roundup

  • Under HUD deal, “Dubuque must now actively recruit Section 8 voucher holders from the Chicago area,” 200 miles away [Stanley Kurtz/National Review, Deborah Thornton/Public Interest Institute, July]
  • Mandatory rental inspections: Can City Hall demand entrance to a home with no evidence of violations? [Scott Shackford] Nuisance abatement laws: “NYPD Throws People Out of Their Homes Without Ever Proving Criminal Activity” [same]
  • Data point on scope of regulation: online marketing of sink faucets “seems targeted at assuring potential purchasers of regulatory and legal compliance,” both ADA and environmental [Ira Stoll]
  • Public interest litigators’ “right to shelter” created today’s hellish NYC homeless program [NYT on murder at Harlem shelter, background at Point of Law]
  • Flood insurance: “$7.8 Million Fee For Lawyers, 7-Cent Check For One Lucky Class Member” [Daniel Fisher]
  • On eminent domain, some lefty lawprofs suddenly turn all skeptical on whether courts can fix injustice [Ilya Somin] Prof. Purdy defends the Kelo v. New London decision, but Prof. Kanner would like to correct a few of his facts;
  • “The San Francisco artist who is being kicked out of his apartment after 34 years is a perfect example of why rent control is awful” [Jim Edwards, Business Insider] “Big-City Mayors Think They Can Mandate Their Way to Affordable Housing” [Matt Welch, Reason]

Who’s to blame for San Francisco’s housing cost spiral?

Bay Area progressives are fond of blaming new-arriving rich techies for the dizzying rise in San Francisco housing costs. Yet the trail just as plausibly leads back to the door of some of the same people doing the demonizing, who have resisted the building of serious new housing capacity in the city. [Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic]

Like me, Friedersdorf was also struck by the story (told on public radio’s This American Life) of a San Francisco after-school program’s school musical, an anti-“gentrification” propaganda effort, which trained kids as young as six to go on stage in a production portraying their parents’ class as moral monsters. Shouldn’t that wait for college?

Hit by enormous pine cone in San Francisco park

“A tourist visiting the Bay Area for Fleet Week last year was doing nothing more than reading and napping under a tree in a federal waterfront park in San Francisco when a 16-pound pine cone fell on him and crushed his skull, his lawyer said Monday.” According to the suit, coniferous Araucaria bidwillii trees, “more commonly known as bunya pines or false monkey puzzle trees…are not indigenous to the area” and their “seedpods, or pine cones, can grow to enormous sizes, reaching nearly 16 inches in diameter and weighing up to 40 pounds.” [SFGate] “Living under Bunya Pines is not for the faint hearted,” advises one 2014 account from Australia, where the trees are native. “You get a little bit of warning when they fall, says a farmer who has five old ones near his house. “They clatter through the branches, and you just start running.”

Seattle’s “Fight for 15” — in 1907

In 1907, unions helped convince Seattle to enact a 15-cent minimum price for restaurant meals, part of a backlash against inexpensive Japanese-run eateries that were providing unwelcome competition for existing restaurants and unions representing their employees. In San Francisco the same year, a mob attacked and destroyed the 10-cent Horseshoe Restaurant on Folsom Street, causing a diplomatic incident between the United States and Japan [H.D. Miller, Eccentric Culinary History; part 1 of his story]

June 17 roundup

  • Skull and crossbones to follow: San Francisco pols decree health warnings on soft drink, Frappuccino billboards [Steve Chapman]
  • Judge criticizes feds’ punitive handling of AIG rescue as unlawful, but says no damages are owed to Hank Greenberg [Bloomberg, Thaya Knight/Cato, Gideon Kanner who predicted outcome, W$J]
  • Congress resisting Obama/HUD scheme to force communities to build low-income housing [Jonathan Nelson/Economics21, Marc Thiessen, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing or AFFH]
  • California, following New York, proposes 50 hours of mandatory pro bono work for prospective lawyers [John McGinnis]
  • Five part Renee Lettow Lerner series on historical role and present-day decay of juries [Volokh Conspiracy, introduction, parts one, two, three, four, five] Related: Mike Rappaport and follow-up on Seventh Amendment, Liberty and Law.
  • Latest Scotland drunk-driving blood threshold: Drivers “warned that having ‘no alcohol at all’ is the only way to ensure they stay within the limit” [Independent via Christopher Snowdon]
  • How not to argue for bail reform: Scott Greenfield vs. NYT op-ed writer [Simple Justice]

Minimum wage roundup

Environment roundup

  • Environmental law’s oft-praised public trust doctrine may have made California drought worse [Gary Libecap, Regulation magazine, via Peter Van Doren, Cato] Blame Nestlé for California water crisis? Well, people can try [Coyote]
  • True to “so-called Seattle Process of inclusive and abundant dialogue,” tunnel to replace Alaskan Way viaduct has developed into expensive fiasco [Karen Weise, Bloomberg]
  • Jefferson’s method of surveying “abstract and commodifiable” land, well suited to flat Midwest, curbed litigation and greatly advanced American prosperity [Steve Sailer, Chronicles]
  • RFK Jr.’s Waterkeeper “tightly intertwined with more than one of the players in [Skelos] investigation” [Scott Waldman, Capital New York]
  • High overhead: “what they are doing is pricing people out of the ceiling fan market” [Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, re: Rep. Marsha Blackburn criticism of energy regulations]
  • Didn’t know San Francisco had such a high rate of vacant rentals: “America’s Rent-Controlled Cities Are Its Least Affordable” [Scott Beyer] Craziness of city’s housing policy long predates today’s war against techie newcomers [Coyote]
  • “Chimpanzee almost gets habeas corpus — and in any event the Nonhuman Rights Project gets a court hearing” [Volokh, earlier on chimpanzees and rights]

Minimum wage closes much-loved S.F. bookstore

Don’t believe minimum wage hikes hurt real people? After March 31, a famed sci-fi bookstore on Valencia St. in San Francisco’s Mission District will no longer be able to cater to your taste in fantasy:

The change in minimum wage will mean our payroll will increase roughly 39%. That increase will in turn bring up our total operating expenses by 18%. To make up for that expense, we would need to increase our sales by a minimum of 20%. We do not believe that is a realistic possibility for a bookstore in San Francisco at this time.

And this, which speaks for itself:

In November, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed a measure that will increase the minimum wage within the city to $15 per hour by 2018. Although all of us at Borderlands support the concept of a living wage in [principle] and we believe that it’s possible that the new law will be good for San Francisco — Borderlands Books as it exists is not a financially viable business if subject to that minimum wage. Consequently we will be closing our doors no later than March 31st. The cafe will continue to operate until at least the end of this year.

Early reactions from customers online run heavily to two themes: 1) anguish that a beloved cultural institution is passing from the scene and 2) reflections that they, the fans and customers, had supported the minimum wage hike too when it was on the ballot. (It might restrict businesses’ rights, but who cares about that?) But in this world — as in so many of the well-crafted alternative worlds of science fiction — the link between actions and their logical consequences, foreseen and intended or otherwise, is not to be broken. [Reprinted from my post at Cato at Liberty]

Coyote read the letter in recognition:

I found the language here familiar because I spent most of last year writing such letters to angry customer bases. In our case, fortunately, we had the ability to raise prices so the letters were to defuse customer irritation rather than to announce a closure.

And Mark Perry at AEI identifies why a bookstore in particular cannot adjust the way a restaurant or a dry cleaner might:

There’s a limit to how much a bookstore can increase book prices to offset higher labor costs because the publisher sets the list price of the book and it’s printed on the book cover.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, a new minimum wage law hits nonprofits, which ask for more taxpayer money so they can comply [Inquirer]

September 16 roundup

  • “When I asked them why they decided to sell their [toy import] business, they said that they got out because of Proposition 65 and the CPSIA.” [Nancy Nord]
  • State tax regimes are getting more aggressive about grabbing money earned in other states [Steve Malanga, City Journal]
  • “Still can’t get over the fact that all [development] permits are discretionary in San Francisco” [@TonyBiasotti linking Mark Hogan, Boom]
  • How would American politics change if political parties could expel members, as in many countries they can? [Bryan Caplan]
  • Defenders of Wisconsin John Doe prosecutor push back against Stuart Taylor investigation [Daniel Bice, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via Althouse, more, related on “blue fist” posters and John Doe investigator, earlier]
  • “In Britain, Child’s Weight Leads to Parents’ Arrest” [New York Times in June, King’s Lynn 11-year-old; also, Cadbury agrees to “stop making chocolate bars in Britain with more than 250 calories”] More: Pencil-twirling in class leads to CPS referral in New Jersey [Katherine Mangu-War, Reason]
  • Should there be judicial remedies — what kind, and for which plaintiffs — when federal spending is politicized? [Daniel Epstein, Federalist Society “Engage”]

September 12 roundup

  • ObamaCare, Common Core, EPA policy all raise specter of federal commandeering of state governments [Richard Epstein and Mario Loyola, The Atlantic] Vocally supporting Common Core, William Bennett provides new reasons to be queasy about it [Neal McCluskey, Cato]
  • Mom lets six-year-old play within sight of his own front door. Then Child Protective Services arrives [Haiku of the Day]
  • Study finds no evidence California cellphone ban reduced accidents [The Newspaper]
  • Or maybe if you’ve been in good health for 13 years it’s okay to let the grievance slide: pols, union leaders urge unimpaired WTC rescuers to enroll for possible future compensation [AP/WCBS]
  • “Thomson Reuters Thinks Not Responding To Their Email Means You’ve Freely Licensed All Your Content” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
  • New frontiers in urban expropriation: San Francisco imposes crushing new “relocation assistance” burden on rental owners [Pacific Legal Foundation]
  • A lesson in standing up for individual liberty, and not being discouraged by setbacks [my Cato Institute piece on Lillian Gobitis Klose’s flag-pledge case, Donald Boudreaux/Cafe Hayek]