As San Francisco sales tax receipts sag, cannabis is riding high

By Phil Matier : sfchronicle – excerpt

Because of the pandemic shutdown, San Francisco’s local sales taxes have been hit hard and are expected to continue the downturn in the coming year, except those for one product: cannabis.

“It’s the only locally imposed tax doing better than we projected,” said Michelle Allersma, an analyst in the city controller’s office. A recent controller’s report projected the local cannabis excise tax generating $4.9 million for fiscal year 2020-21 — exceeding the budgeted amount by $700,000…(more)

Given the lower prices farmers are growers are getting, this story may not be quite a rosy as it so far appears. The number of states that has legalized marijuana just climbed by by double digit numbers. As cannabis enters the legal market, the prices will fall. To make the most of the product, the growers should consider using the whole plant to produce fabrics and papers and other products to boost sales.

Biden administration will bring new focus on housing — and possibly new funding as well

By ida Mojadad : sfexaminer – excerp

Tackling housing affordability may return as a national priority next year, with President-elect Joe Biden’s plans calling for zoning changes and sizable federal investments — assuming he can get the latter through Congress.

Biden’s presidential transition and impending cabinet picks will start the ball rolling on plans to enact zoning reform, provide legal assistance for tenants facing eviction, boost the housing stock, expand housing vouchers for low-income residents and invest $640 billion over a decade.

Just the fact that Biden has a detailed plan has been described as a breath of fresh air by Bay Area housing players…

People who Biden is reportedly considering for the position include Los Angeles Rep. Karen Bass, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and one of Obama’s former HUD leaders, Diane Yentel.… (more)


Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta ( keep in mind that Atlanta has a water problem. they rely heavily on Florida during droughts.)
Karen Bass, of LA, House of Representatives
Diane Yentel, CEO of National Low Income Housing Coalition

No One’s Riding Transit. So Why Did Voters Support It?

By Aarian Marshall : wired – excerpt

Fifteen of 18 transit-related ballot measures across the US won approval last week, including property and sales tax increases in the midst of a recession.

Before the pandemic hit, Awais Azhar regularly rode buses around Austin. The graduate student and organizer doesn’t drive, so he relied on transit, plus the occasional Lyft trip or a ride bummed from a friend, to get around town. Austin’s bus service isn’t always frequent, so Azhar sometimes had a hard time hustling between appointments all over the city. It was easy to get to and from the university, where he’s earning a degree in community and regional planning. But many meetings, even those related to his transit and housing advocacy work, are “in places with no [transit] access at all. I’d have to walk 30 minutes to get there.”

Azhar doesn’t ride the bus much these days—the pandemic has kept him home. Across Austin, ridership fell 54 percent in September compared with the same month last year. Still, last week, two-thirds of the Texas city’s voters approved increasing property taxes to support a $7.1 billion plan to expand its light-rail system…

Across the nation, voters approved 15 of 18 transit-related ballot measures last week, pointing some $40 billion toward the way we move and the infrastructure that supports it. Transit’s success is striking, because, like Azhar, most Americans still aren’t doing much moving. National public transit ridership is down 63 percent, according to the Department of Transportation, as riders work from home and fear the spread of Covid-19. And voters agreed to tax themselves in the middle of deep recession…

In the past decade, but perhaps especially in the past four Trumpy years, city officials and voters have realized that they have enough power to push their own progressive policies, whether it’s related to climate change or racial justice. “There might have been more urgency to get these things on the ballots because people realize, ‘Hey, we can’t rely on the federal government,’” says Romic Aevaz, a policy analyst at the Eno Center for Transportation, a think tank. “‘We need to mobilize ourselves, and we need to be the ones to lead and spearhead these efforts.’”……(more)

Even with a Republican Senate, Biden has lots of ways to save healthcare reform

By Michael Hiltzik : latimes – excerpt

At first blush, the election outcome — a Biden presidency but the Senate still in Republican hands — spelled bad news for the cause of healthcare reform.

Those results would give the GOP a continued platform from which to stymie further expansion of health coverage for Americans, whether by strengthening the Affordable Care Act or moving toward a “Medicare for all” model…

Trump employed executive orders and administrative tools to undermine the ACA and Medicaid, in virtually every case aiming to strip working-class and low-income Americans of their access to coverage. What’s sauce for the goose works just as well for the gander: Biden can use the same tools in reverse…

  1. Put scientists front and center
  2. Extend ACA open enrollment
  3. Reinstate ACA outreach funding
  4. Limit short-term plans that don’t cover pre-existing conditions
  5. Undo family planning funding restrictions…(more)

Let’s hope the LA Times is right and we can get relief soon from stress and uncertainty if nothing else. Stay safe and think kind thoughts.

When My President Sang ‘Amazing Grace’

Allow our neighbor, Meklit, and Kronos Quartet to inspire you with this beautiful version of When My President Sang ‘Amazing Grace’.

“The President Sang Amazing Grace” Written by Zoe Mulford, arranged by Jacob Garchik Performed by Meklit and Kronos Quartet Produced by Stanford Live Filmed at Bing Concert Hall

As we approach a pivotal moment in our nation’s history, it is important to remember moments of empathy and compassion. Filmed at Bing Concert Hall, Kronos Quartet and Meklit pay homage to the moment Barack Obama sang Amazing Grace during the funeral of state senator and pastor Clementa Pinckney on June 26, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina…


Being human at a time like this

By karen Macklin : 48hills – excerpt

Examined Life: It feels like the future of our world hangs in the balance—but our humanity need not.

I was awake late on the evening of Thursday, October 1, when I found out the 45th President of the United States had tested positive for COVID. I was up because, like many of you, I’ve been having trouble sleeping during these mind-bending times of political turmoil and social unrest, wildfires and super storms, and overwhelming uncertainty in the face of a mishandled pandemic…

For four years, many have suffered increased racism (which sympathetic white people can;t just wish away with an election), or wondered if, at any moment, we might soon lose our health insurance, our right to live in this country, or our right to marry the person we love. In the last seven months, many of us have also lost our work, our homes, the lives of people that we love, and our ability to make art—or even plans for the future. This week, we watched the criminal hijacking of the Supreme Court. Do we have a right to our anger? Hell, yes we do.

But we also have a right—a profound right—to our humanity.

Here we are again, watching the speeding train. Heart racing, hands sweaty, praying for the right type of ending. Perhaps, at this point, we can’t help but hang our nail-biting hopes for democracy on the results of the election. But our humanity needn’t hang in the balance, too. When we choose not to be reduced, we realize that, regardless of conditions, our humanity is, and always has been, the one thing that is ours to keep…(more)

Just received news yesterday on the passing of some family members. One was a medical care worker who contacted COVID-19. I guess before this is over many of us will have some similar news. It is important to remember that the life is the thing we all can share for a while and that we need to make the most of our time while we have it. Peace and stay safe for yourself and your loved ones.

How Trump plowed through $1 billion, losing cash advantage

from Washington Post : sfgate – excerpt

President Donald Trump dances after speaking at a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, in Prescott, Ariz.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s sprawling political operation has raised well over $1 billion since he took the White House in 2017 — and set a lot of it on fire.

Trump bought a $10 million Super Bowl ad when he didn’t yet have a challenger. He tapped his political organization to cover exorbitant legal fees related to his impeachment. Aides made flashy displays of their newfound wealth — including a fleet of luxury vehicles purchased by Brad Parscale, his former campaign manager.

Meanwhile, a web of limited liability companies hid more than $310 million in spending from disclosure, records show…(more)

From street performer and ‘drifter’ to small business champion

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Sharky Laguana has become an unlikely voice for small business and the public face of Prop. H

Sharky Laguana arrived in San Francisco as a 19-year-old, self-proclaimed drifter by way of Florida, Texas, a Hindu monastery and a host of other stops.

Raised by foster parents in the Midwest, Laguana arrived in The City in 1991, well before the arrival of the social networks and information portals now standard for any nomad trying to pave his way.

With no friends, no family and nothing but a high school degree and a dream of making it as a musician, Laguana set out on the long journey of finding his place in San Francisco…(more)

For all my new readers, I must point out that this article that follows an artist around the country harkens back to my Florida roots. With a name like Sharky Laguna, I should have guessed where he came from or passed through. The site was started to keep the Beaux Arts spirit alive and that spirit was rooted in Florida when I discovered it.

I met Sharky on a zoom meeting not too long ago as is the case now. So I appreciate his thoughts on how to revive the small businesses that are taking a hit all over the country. See if any of his approach works for you.

Roman Mars reveals the ‘99% Invisible’ ways COVID could change our daily lives

By Lisa Gray :houstonchronicle – excerpt (includes audio track)

Roman Mars is the driving force and honeyed voice behind “99% Invisible,” a podcast loved by urban nerds, design fans and anyone who delights in the surprisingly fascinating stories of the stuff all around us.

On Oct. 6, Roman and his coauthor Kurt Kohlstedt will release both the print and audio version of their new book, “The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design.” In it, they answer questions you didn’t even know you had, revealing mysteries that lurk in plain sight all around us: What do those squiggly marks spray-painted on sidewalks mean? Is there a name for those half-sphere bumps that keep us in our lanes on freeways? Why do stop signs look the way they do?.

The book doesn’t discuss the coronavirus pandemic — at least in part because Mars and Kohlstedt finished writing it before the outbreaks started. But here, they talk about what the ways, large and small, that the pandemic is already changing our world.

Mars spoke to us from his house in Berkeley, Calif. Kohlstedt, to improve the sound quality of the Chronicle’s audio, was under a quilt in his apartment in Oakland…

Kurt Kohlstedt: I worry a bit about the popularity, in many cities, of converting streets into cycling and walking spaces. At first glance that seems like an amazing reuse of space. But for some people that’s going to limit accessibility: There are people who do have to drive and use the streets in other ways.

One of my open questions about all of this is, as we think about how to change cities, are we doing it equitably? Are we thinking about who benefits and who’s impacted by these things?…

I hope that we’ll see the conversion of a lot of commercial real estate — stores and offices and shopping malls — becoming housing, because this nation has an affordable housing crisis. This is not necessarily what I predict will happen. But I hope that that’s a trajectory that some cities take. We’re starting to see evidence of that in Oakland: buildings being bought and set aside for people who are unhoused…(more)

With Evictions Looming, Cities Revisit a Housing Experiment From the ’70s

By Clyde Haberman : nytimes – excerpt

Proposals giving tenants the right to purchase their building are being revived as the coronavirus puts renters at risk.

As a housing crisis set off by the Covid-19 pandemic has put low-income tenants at risk of eviction, a counterintuitive proposal to help renters buy their apartments has emerged. It’s an idea that originated during a 1970s eviction battle in San Francisco…

Even before the coronavirus pandemic rang down the curtain on much of the U.S. economy, times could be tough for the roughly 110 million Americans living in rental housing. For many of them, paying the landlord was a tattered hope and staving off the sheriff’s deputies an endless worry. Nearly four million eviction petitions were filed each year. On any given night as many as 200,000 people were without a home.

In the pandemic, losing shelter is an ever-present threat on a far bigger scale, by some estimates potentially affecting upward of 30 million cash-strapped tenants. A calamity of that magnitude has been averted, for now, under a moratorium on evictions imposed through 2020 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But equitable and compassionate solutions to America’s chronic housing problems will clearly remain an elusive goal long after the coronavirus is conquered.

One method with promise is explored in this video from Retro Report, whose mission is to examine major events of the past for their continuing impact and enduring lessons. …(more)

I was not familiar with that plan in 1970s in San Francisco, but, I do support a lease to own option on homes as being an effective way to generate more secure lifestyles for renters. We are also supportive of more coops and live-work options for people who need to work at home. The recent spate of small crowded housing is useless in a socially distant world. People need and want space.