The Final Word on Prop F

The vote on Proposition F is coming up on Tuesday. With Prop F, San Franciscans have a chance to take a leadership role by becoming one of the first cities to effectively address the negative consequences of the so-called “sharing” economy. I strongly encourage everyone to go vote Yes on Prop F because it will curtail additional stresses on the housing supply and promote fairness in the marketplace.

We can’t Airbnb our way out of the housing crisis.

Renting out a spare room short-term is a great way to make some extra money, but that can only be true for a minority of people. On the whole, Airbnb actually makes the housing crisis worse. Continue reading The Final Word on Prop F

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I Have Read Prop F, and It Is a Perfectly Normal and Reasonable Piece of Legislation

This post is my response to an article on a Medium blog entitled “I Have Read Prop F, and It is Worse Than You Think.”  The author of the article, a blogger who goes by Emey, says he is a concerned citizen drawing attention to a local issue.  He makes several points about the proposed legislation, each of which I address below.  As I will point out in great detail, the author’s analysis is uninformed at best, but I believe it much more likely to be deliberately misleading.  The author misrepresents the law in very specific ways. He goes to great trouble to detail parts of the law and imagine unreasonable, worst-case scenarios while skipping completely over the parts of the law that address his concerns – even when they’re right in the part he’s citing.  It may sound reasonable to say, “I’m all for regulation, just not this one,” but these critiques always use that argument.  As you will see below, Prop F is a well-written, reasonable regulation aimed at addressing a social problem.

So let’s get into it.  First of all, there’s nothing unusual, sloppy, or “draconian” about Prop F.  Most importantly, every single restriction in here – other than registration and reporting – is completely invalid so long as the residential unit is rented for only 75 days or less during the year.  Continue reading I Have Read Prop F, and It Is a Perfectly Normal and Reasonable Piece of Legislation

Why We Need Regulations like Proposition F

I began writing this post as a response to an article on a Medium blog entitled “I Have Read Prop F, and It is Worse Than You Think.” Click here to see my response to that article, the gist of which, as you might gather from the title, is that Proposition F is a perfectly normal, reasonable, and fine piece of legislation. I want to separately address, however, why it’s important that we regulate companies like Airbnb.

When new industries arise, it’s important that governments take action to bring them into the existing regulatory framework. I don’t say this out of a blithe desire to regulate for no reason. Continue reading Why We Need Regulations like Proposition F

Greece

I’m feeling quite despondent today over news that the Greek parliament is likely to approve the latest loan package from the troika – accepting all of its vicious austerity.  This is a harsh blow on two fronts.  Obviously, it’s an economic blow, but it’s an even worse political blow.  The Greek people are now set to face many more years of a brutal depression.  Unemployment is currently at 25%, and youth unemployment is at 50%.  50%!  The youth unemployment rate in the United States is 12%, and it’s hard enough to find a job.

And yet, the troika, despite all of its years of experience in economics, has imposed conditions that will prolong the suffering and make it impossible for Greece to emerge from its slump.  Continue reading Greece