Here’s my draft response to the San Francisco Home Sharers’ candidate questionnaire I received. Figured I’d see if anyone had any useful input before sending it back to them. They’ve scheduled a candidate event via remote videoconferencing for July 28. Let me know if you have any thoughts about my responses (the material in boldface text below) or what else I should say on any of their questions. And if you really want to make a difference, let me know what you can do to help my campaign!
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))
San Francisco’s Home Sharers Democratic Club
Questionnaire for the November 2020 Election
Candidate name: Starchild
Office sought: State Assembly District 17 seat
Campaign contact: me!
Campaign phone: (415) 625-FREE
Email address: RealReform@earthlink.net
We are San Francisco’s Home Sharers Democratic Club. Our membership consists of home sharers and supporters of home sharing, a large number of which are elders and longtime San Francisco residents, and which include both homeowners and renters.
We support our members through outreach, by representing their rights through advocacy, and by education in the laws, regulations, products, voting issues, and opportunities available when we share our homes, spare bedrooms, and living spaces. We engage in community work, charitable causes, and support of neighborhood merchants.
Compensation for home sharing gives us the means to remain in our homes, in one of the most expensive cities in the world. While hosting, we are San Francisco’s ambassadors to the world. Our guests are exposed to unique neighborhoods, small business, and local culture in ways only available through home sharing.
- Please list your qualifications for the office you are seeking.
I’m not part of the political establishment. I want to take power away from City Hall, disempower the politicians and bureaucrats, and empower ordinary San Franciscans. This may sound like something lots of politicians would say, but unlike most of them I actually mean it!
I’m a lifelong area resident, and know the City well. Still love its beauty, miss the culture we’ve lost. I’ve lived in the Castro neighborhood since 1995.
- Do you support home sharing in San Francisco? If not, why not?
Absolutely. Homesharing empowers individuals. It lets anyone with an extra room in their home, or who is going to be out of town, rent out that room, apartment, or house and earn a little extra money to help pay your property taxes or rent. This puts extra housing on the market that helps lower the cost of having a roof over your head for everyone.
I don’t think you should even be required to go through an app, and pay them a commission, in order to rent out your space, although if people like the security of using an app, that’s fine too. You should be able to put a sign in front of your place advertising rooms for rent and do business directly with other people in the community without having to comply with all the terms and conditions that institutions write in their favor to put all the liability on you the individual.
- We believe that home sharing is a positive way to keep San Franciscans in their homes and share San Francisco with the world. Do you agree?
Certainly. Although I don’t believe keeping current residents in their homes should be a goal of San Francisco’s government, if an SF resident wants to stay in their home, they should not be prevented from engaging in entrepreneurial activity such as home-sharing as a means of being able to do so.
What’s wrong with government using taxpayer resources to try to keep current residents in their homes (as opposed to trying to ensure that housing is available for newcomers).
Consider that much of the animus toward your business model is driven by that same kind of parochial bias toward people who already have places to live in San Francisco, and against visitors or migrants to the City who are looking for places to stay or live. Discrimination against immigrants is wrong at the national level, and it’s wrong at the local level too. “Buy local” mandates, local hiring mandates, special subsidies or discounts for residents, etc., is essentially just Trumpist nativism writ small.
- Why should the Home Sharers Democratic Club endorse your candidacy?
Probably the most relevant reason from the perspective of your group is that I’m much more pro-home-sharing than the other candidate in the race.
Beyond that, you should support me if you would like to see San Francisco politics shaken up, if you’d like to see less corruption and “business as usual”, less of a one-party town, and smaller, less burdensome government.
- We have built great relationships with neighborhood merchants. The San Francisco Council of District Merchant Associations expresses strong support for home sharers. Do you agree that home sharing is beneficial to neighborhood merchants and small businesses?
Yes. Anything that brings more people with money to spend into the neighborhood, whether on a short-term or long-term basis, is likely to benefit neighborhood merchants and small businesses.
- The Home Sharers Democratic Club supports the right of San Franciscans to offer and receive compensation for sharing their homes. Home sharing regulations in San Francisco are among the most prohibitive in the nation. Home sharing is tightly regulated, strictly restricted, very limited, and available only to San Francisco residents. We are resolutely against any additional restrictions. Voters soundly rejected tighter prohibitions. If home sharing is further limited, more San Franciscans could lose their homes, only to be replaced by non-San Franciscans who are wealthy enough to afford market-rate properties and rents. Do you believe that there should be no further restrictions to home sharing, so that current San Franciscans can remain San Franciscans? Should San Francisco’s short-term rental ordinance be changed and if so, how?
I strongly agree that home-sharing is tightly restricted. I am not only opposed to adding any new restrictions, regulations, or taxes on home-sharing, but am in favor of eliminating ALL the current existing taxes, regulations, and restrictions. If you want to let someone stay in your home for money, that decision should be between you and them and no one else.
I would tend to support any changes to the short-term rental ordinance that would make home-sharing less restrictive and less expensive, so long as the improvement was not outweighed by a provision or provisions making government more restrictive, expensive, or controlling in some other respect.
- San Francisco home sharers are already at a competitive disadvantage to lodging corporations whose owners, unlike home sharers, are not restricted to a single location where they must reside. Now at-risk home sharers, such as seniors, the disabled, and others, face additional dangers due to pandemic-related issues. Do you support easing San Francisco’s home-sharing regulations so that San Franciscans, if able, are not required to remain with visitors when home-sharing?
Yes. Whether you want to be there or not when renting your space, or part of your space, to someone should be entirely up to you. Mandating that you remain with visitors when home-sharing is like mandating that a car rental company employee come with you on your road trip when you rent a car. Completely unnecessary!
- Studies show that home sharing augments and does not supplant hotels, especially in neighborhoods with few hotels. Do you agree that home sharing is an important component of San Francisco’s tourism industry and brings benefits to otherwise underserved areas of the City, does not threaten hotels or hotel workers, and can offer San Francisco hotel workers an additional source of income (by sharing their homes)?
I have not studied the extent to which home-sharing might compete with hotels. As far as I am concerned however, the more it does the better. As with any other business, more competition and choice in the hospitality industry will benefit consumers – in this case travelers and people needing places to stay. Which in turn will benefit San Francisco’s economy in general (see question #5). No matter how popular home-sharing were to become if restrictions were loosened, there will always be a niche for hotels – serving large groups and events, providing room service, on-site amenities, etc.
- San Francisco’s Office of Short-Term Rentals has been out of compliance with the law. Office failures include unlawful months-long processing, accusations made without evidence, fabricated neighbor complaints, technology breakdowns, assumed-guilty standpoints, unresponsiveness, and blaming home sharers for Office failings, repeatedly demonstrating bias against legal home sharing in San Francisco. But home sharers are entitled to due process, efficiency, and unbiased implementation of the law. What actions would you take to remedy the Office’s issues?
You all are the experts on this issue, not me. If elected, I would rely on groups like yours to advise me what specific reforms are needed and what legislation or other action could help address them.
- Current regulations prevent entire groups of vulnerable San Franciscans, extensively away from the City, from sharing their homes. Examples include deployed members of the military, traveling professionals (flight attendants, pilots, long-haul truckers), educators on sabbatical, vets receiving out-of-state treatment, union members supporting out-of-town strikes, mutual-aid firefighters, and seniors away for recuperative retreats. Would you support a change, so that such vulnerable San Franciscans may use home sharing to keep their homes in San Francisco?
Yes, absolutely. Even if someone isn’t “vulnerable” (and who among us is not vulnerable when it comes to the depredations of the State?), what business is it of City Hall’s whether they rent out unused living space while out of town?
- Are you interested in speaking to members and friends of the Home Sharers Democratic Club at one of our meetings? If so, which days are you available for an evening video meeting during the week of July 27?
I’d be happy to. I should be available to take part in the San Francisco’s Home Sharers event on July 28, or if not on that day, some other. My schedule is fairly flexible.
Thank you for your interest in San Francisco’s Home Sharers Democratic Club. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.
You’re welcome, and thanks for reaching out and inviting me to connect with your group!
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))
Posted by: Starchild email@example.com