Good News! Protesters successfully Pressured a November Ballot Withdrawn
7/24/2014, nearly 200 of property owners, renters and immigrants came to the protest and supervisor visits, opposing two November ballot measures! After the protest at the steps of City Hall, the sea of blue-shirts filled a large section of the 2nd floor hallway, wall to wall! The visit to Supervisor Kim’s office, helped pressured her into withdrawing the “Housing Balance Act” (or as I nicked named it: the “Stop New Construction Act”. The good news of the withdraw came a few hours after the protest. Huge congratulation!!! Your presence represented the people’s voice, and it help changed the course of City’s politics !
The protest was covered by ABC7 news, and all local Chinese media! The ABC coverage hid facts and mixed up two different bills. But at least, it didn’t smear property owners and those who want reasonable housing policies. This is progress! Again, the presence of your face mattered!
Another bill we protested, was Supervisor Mar’s “Speculator Tax” bill. Though said to target “speculators”, it hits small property owners the hardest! The ABC coverage ignored the fact that only the unit occupied by the owner is exempted in an owner-occupied building, but all other rented units, will be taxed at up to 25% of sale price if sold within 6 years of ownership. The current transfer tax is 1%. It makes no exemptions for the common reasons such as major illness, family emergency, and job transfers. Sale of inherited properties will also be subject to the surtax, even if previously held in family for years. Single family homes with a rented in-law unit would also be taxed. The bill would retroactively apply to those who purchased their properties in the last 5 years, that is unless, the owners want to sell their properties at a loss. Making 1 penny will cost 1/4 of the house value.
On 7/24, the couple hundreds folks, mostly seniors, barged into Mar’s office after the rally Their anger was beyond words, and captured by the camera (see link). The stalemate lasted 20 minutes. These folks understand, this bill will not only affect this generation, but many more generations to come. It also discourages rental business, any unit rented will be taxed at the exuberant rate. When rental unit supply diminishes, rents will further skyrockets. New immigrants, new renters and families will not be able to stay in San Francisco. It will wipe out the middle class quickly. As the housing providers disappears, low to moderate incomes renters will also disappear. The ones who can make it in the City, will be the extreme low incomes qualified for government assistance, or the extreme rich who can afford not to rent out their extra units.
Supervisor Mar could still withdraw this proposition before Tuesday 7/29. Otherwise, it will be time for all-out mobilization. Everyone of you should get your circle of friends and family to register to vote, and to vote out this highest tax increase in U.S. history!
Look at the bright side! We won half of this battle. In the past 9 months, 11 anti-property owner bills appeared in the City. Among them, 5 bills were defeated due to your work (SB1439 by Leno, AB2405 by Ammiano, Short-term Rental by Chiu vs. Welch, and Stop New Constructions by Kim)， 4 laws are being sued by various organizations. This is the year of best scorecard for small property owners. In the past, we hardly defeat anything. Your presence at the protests IS the reason for success. Please join us for the remaining fights. Together we can make miracles!