The Libertarian Party of San Francisco holds its business meeting on the second Saturday of every month. The next meeting will be on Saturday, July 11, 2015, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin Street, 4th Floor Conference Room. Click Meetings on the Main Menu to read the meeting agenda. After the business meeting, those who can, go out to dinner at a nearby restaurant. All are welcome to attend the business meeting (the work part) and/or the after-meeting social (the fun part).
Libertarians are of the opinion that government creates problems for which it then creates solutions, and the solutions always result in more government control and less individual initiative. Examples abound, but let’s just look at two of Mayor Ed Lee’s recent proposals.
1. Short terms rentals
Property owners got tired of the yards-long list of rental regulations and ventured into short term rentals, which until recently thrived as agreements between willing participants. That’s over.
On July 2, 2015, Mayor Ed Lee announced the creation of the new Office of Short-Term Rental Administration and Enforcement, “funded in the Mayor’s FY 15-17 budget, to create a ‘one-stop’ shop and centralized location to streamline applications for the City’s short-term rental registry and more aggressively coordinate complaints and enforcement of the City’s short-term rental regulations.”
Simple private agreements between willing participants in a business arrangement have morphed into yet another “streamlined” bureaucratic maze.
2. Support for Small Businesses
On June 15, 2015, Mayor Ed Lee announced $6.7 million over the next two years to “expand services for small businesses and strengthen neighborhood commercial corridors.” Services will include a long laundry list of “technical assistance, access to capital, business counseling, loans, physical improvements to storefronts, and capacity-building.”
Maybe City taxpayers would better benefit if government just got out of the way and saved $6.7 million.
Cancelling out one objective with another is what government does best!
Thank you to the volunteer team that staffed the annual Libertarian booth at Pride, June 27 and 28, 2015. We are grateful to Outright Libertarians, other Bay Area Libertarian Party chapters, and Golden Gate Liberty Revolution for continuing their collaboration with the LPSF on San Francisco Pride. Members of the team gave it their all, talking to hundreds of people, giving numerous World Smallest Political Quizzes, distributing a pile of liberty literature, and – most importantly – listening to what folks wanted to say. So what did we hear?
We heard from the many who cannot fathom how a libertarian social order would work. It won’t, as long as a belief prevails that the best model is one of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” So we ask, “Do you see a similarity between our culture of wealth distribution and that of the former Soviet Union, or that of Greece today? One is gone, and in the other there is great suffering.”
We heard from some who are beginning to see the drawbacks of big government, mostly thanks to major revelations such as the practices of the NSA, but are finding it difficult to see alternatives to “necessary government benefits.” Although we try our best to explain that these “benefits” translate into detrimental consequences and that the private sector is the best source of prosperity for everyone, we realize that it is difficult to let go of assistance once obtained.
We heard from the already Libertarians who are glad to see our booth. Our appreciation for their stopping by is limitless. Some simply dash over to say hello. Others stay and chat, about their feelings on libertarianism or about what they are doing back home to promote liberty. Of the latter group, we especially enjoyed our chat with a young woman from Calaveras County, who is determined to convince a handful of liberty-leaning colleagues of “Liberty on the Rocks” to follow up discussing with organized activism.
We always come away from our Pride outreach certain that we made a dent on the statist model. Whether that dent is very small, as in the case of the folks who pick up pin-back buttons or stickers and are aware of our warmly saying “thank you for stopping by,” or the dent is a little bigger, such as with near converts who after heartfelt talks leave their email address.
History puts the present into perspective. Therefore, we are offering this informal and brief history of San Francisco’s Mission District in hopes of adding a little more perspective to the present discussion of “The Mission Moratorium,” which would halt construction of market-rate housing in the district for at least 45 days.
“On June 27th, 1776, a settlement party from Monterey, consisting of soldiers, colonists, their families, Franciscan priests, Christianized natives, and 200 head of cattle, entered the valley through a cleft in the hills bordering the valley to the south, now called the Bernal Gap.”
This is how the story of the Mission District starts. The Spanish colonizers moved in and displaced the Ohlone People who had lived in the valley for 5,000 years.
By the 1830’s Mexican ranchos built on land grants replaced the missions established by the Franciscan friars. After the Treaty of Guadalupe, pioneer settlers and immigrants -- mostly of German, Irish, and Italian descent -- challenged the land ownership of the rancheros with the help of the U.S. federal government and won. The Gold Rush attracted a large number of new settlers who called their ethnically subdivided housing plots in the Mission valley home.
San Francisco Supervisor David Campos had his chance to present his proposal for a moratorium on market rate housing in portions the of Mission during the June 2nd Board of Supervisors meeting. Without doubt this was the longest Board Meeting in recent memory, 2:00 pm through 12:00 am, mostly taken up by public comment, most of which as expected in favor of the moratorium as a way to 1) stop displacement, 2) preserve culture, 3) respond to the human right of subsidized housing. The few that spoke against the moratorium addressed 1) failed housing policies that go back decades, 2) years’ long planning that finally gave developers the go ahead to invest in projects that are now threatened, 3) rules approved by voters being changed in the middle of the game. A few of the comments involved extreme suggestions, such as appropriating private property, but most relied on a presumption of right to live in the Mission.
After the public comments, Supervisor Campos urged his fellow supervisors to “do the right thing” and vote in favor of the moratorium – this was 11:14 pm. Supervisor Cohen stopped the voting called by President Breed to ask questions. She asked, if the moratorium passes: Will any subsidized housing projects be negatively affected: Yes. Would “impact fees” that support parks and transportation be negatively affected: Yes. Would matching federal funds be negatively affected: Yes. What is the process for acquisition of the 13 parcels in question for affordable housing: Willingness of the owners to sell and availability of funds from a variety of financing plans now being considered. 11:39 pm by now.
Supervisor Campos argued that based on what he heard from economists, there would be no impact, and Supervisor Cohen’s questions can be discussed if/when the moratorium is passed. 11:45 pm by now. Supervisors Kim and Avalos chimed in about how proud they were about the Mission residents that spoke. Supervisor Mar expressed concern about the “ethnic cleansing” taking place. 11:48 pm by now.
President Breed called the vote. Kim: Yes. Mar: Yes. Tang: No. Cohen: Yes.
Wiener: No. Yee: Yes. Avalos: Yes. Campos: Yes. Breed: Yes. Christensen: No. Farrell: No. Seven Yeses. Four No's. Nine Yeses needed to pass. Measure fails.
Supervisor Campos indicated during the meeting that affordable and diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco “is an idea whose time has come.” It appears that four of his colleagues disagreed, or at least disagreed with his strategy. We will probably be seeing these same arguments again on the November ballot.