tv Government Access Programming SFGTV April 15, 2019 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
we often get called moderate because we're moderate in relativity. but over the years as we have worked on every tenant rights issue that has come up, i have made very clear within our discussions that we are within the rights as an organization. i stood up to the more moderate influencers from downtown interests and said this is alice and we're going to be for the renter on this issue. when many times that there were possibilities of being more moderated by those who wanted us to be so. and i have worked on every election and every proposition that have come up within that.
additionally, during my years with mark lenno, i was a staffer for him -- for nine years working on his legislation in the district for tenants' rights. and so -- >> can you get more specific? i can think of at least eight laws that we've recently -- by recent, i mean in last five years or so that have passed specifically, you know, amending the rent ordinance in san francisco on behalf of the tenants. do you have a position on any of those laws? do you name any of them? >> last year was one allowing for tenants to have counsel which was very important piece of legislation. and i wholly supported that at the ballot. when i was with mark, some of the legislation that he was doing was trying to repeal the
ellis act, amend, and, you know, that was difficult by moving forward with what we could do. and my role in the district office was translating the difficult technical issues related to that to the general public as well as relaying constituents' thoughts and concerns to sacramento. >> let me get more specific. did you do any work or take any position on supervisor fewer's legislation that we just talked about with my legislation, and i guess that you weren't aware of that one. but the legislation on just cause. to point out supervisor camps on had the legislation with the buyout legislation and ordinance and the relocation assistance
ordinance, and the ordinance that extended the former supervisor marr's legislation that prevented the eviction of teachers and students during the school year. all of those pieces of legislation that have passed here locally in san francisco, did you work on or take a position on any of those pieces of legislation? >> i have not lobbied before the board on those issues. >> okay, so you didn't work on any of them. what about -- >> last year the appeal -- obviously, i worked early on in the year before we wanted to make sure that everyone was going to support that. and i individually was not here in much of the fall because i was in the midwest and i was working on the midterms. i had decided to go home. one of the reasons that i left my position last year is because i wanted to go back to my hometown of kansas city and to
work on smaller elections where i felt they could make a difference in this trump world. and i spend -- >> fair enough, good for you. >> thank you. i spent about a month or two knocking on doors in missouri and for charisse davis in kansas. and we were successful in one of those. i wasn't here and i normally am, and putting out mailings and in this situation i prioritized a national issue. >> getting back to some of the legal issues that you'll be required to contend with often, what does it mean for a party to have a burden of proof on an issue? >> i guess it depends on the
situation and i would need to look at the materials before the meeting. i can't -- i can't speak to generalities without seeing what's before us in the case that would be before us. >> just as a learning moment, there is a standard of burden of proof for a landlord and it's preponderance of the evidence, meaning that there's more evidence than the other side has, one way or another. >> the onus is on the landlord. >> that's right, by preponderance of the evidence, that is right. what is your role relative to the administrative judge law? >> what is that? >> what is your specific role -- what is the specific role of the administrative law judge and your role as a rent board
commissioner relative to the a.l.j.? >> well, the a.l.j. will hear the specific cases and make their determinations and they will list the details of their findings of fact related to the burden of proof. when it comes before the board -- when it comes before the rent board, we would have all of that laid out from the background that the law judge has put forward and then finding the fact that they have done and we may also have some responses from the opposing sides on that interpretation and then we have all of that material before us to review. >> what i'm asking what is the standard on which you review those -- those opinions? so, in other words, you know, and the a.l.j. makes a decision and what are you looking for from the rent board whether or
not that the a.l.j. made the right decision? what's the standard that you're reviewing? if that makes sense. >> this -- you know, this happened -- >> under what circumstance -- let me ask the question another way. under what circumstances are you -- would you be able to overturn an a.l.j.'s decision? >> well, we certainly can. that's a matter of giving a majority from the rent board. >> i'm sorry, when can you overrule or overturn the decision? >> well, we can remand with further determination on a specific issue which is what we were trying to do last tuesday related to the reliance. but we also have -- i lost my thought... but we also have in the specific cases that the administrative
law judge had ruled against our provision and so we were fighting an uphill battle in trying to overturn that. within -- it was laid out in our memorandum and findings of fact, the administrative law judges reasons and decisions around why he made the decision that he did. you know, and we did what we could to try and overturn that which as you know is the harder direction to go. >> supervisor ronen: and i have just a few more questions and then i'll see if my colleagues have any. under what circumstances can a tenant have a hardship waiver? >> well, and a tenant can file a hardship waiver by showing that
they need assistance for some sort, they're disabled or elderly issues. and hardship petitions can be filed for most of the passthrough petitions that come from the landlord. so water, bond passthrough and the maintenance passthrough, and so forth. so the specifics of what they can file is -- they have a specific form they can fill out showcasing their hardship and showcasing the dynamics of how much money they have and do have and what kind of assistance they're on. and then that goes before the judge to determine hardship. >> supervisor ronen: is there any -- are there any laws that the hard ship waive hardship wau
think that we should change the law so that hardship waiver is available for those laws? >> seismic. it's unfortunate that 100% of the seismic passthrough goes through to the tenant and that should be changed. >> supervisor ronen: what constitutes a decrease in services which justifies a rent reduction for a tenant? >> it can be a number of things. in my own case it could be storage in the basement which we no longer have. but it can be -- >> supervisor ronen: if you apply for a rent reduction? >> i'm having my own conversations with my landlord so i won't get into that now. but i will say that it can be parking space being lost, storage space being gone, laundry facility that is no longer exists. a variety of those types of
services that were there when the renter moved in and was part of the lease and were part of the understanding as to what the -- what came with paying their rent. and should some of those things change, the renter can petition at the reppe rent board for a de in rent based on the decreasing housing services. >> supervisor ronen: and last question -- is there any circumstances under which a tenant can agree to a rent increase over the amount allowed under the rent ordinance? >> no, no. in fact, if they find out that that happened later they can get money back from the years that they were paying the wrong rent. >> supervisor ronen: okay, thank you so much. i really appreciate you digging into this and answering all of
these questions. is there any other questions from my colleagues before we open it up to public comment? supervisor mar? supervisor walton. >> supervisor walton: thank you, and thank you so much for being here this afternoon. have you already reached out to a lot of tenant addos advocacy s and who initialized the conversations that you had. >> sure, i am happy to go through a list but i'll keep it shorter. on the first day after getting sworn in, as you all know, i wrote each of you an email saying that i would love to meet with you guys and talk about renters' issues in each of your districts. that was my first step. my second step was in about 10 years ago when i was working with mark, i had put on a aid housing resource fair with aids organizations and housing organizations in the city.
so i had a number of contacts through that. and that resource fair was with the mayor's office of housing at that time, and the development at that time, and it was about 10 years ago. so it was a little bit different people at that point. and then with organizations like the aids housing and alliance and san francisco aids foundation and catholic charities and so forth. and what we put together during that period was we wanted -- the assemblymen wanted to have a place where people could come and get direct service at the lgbt center, particularly around people living with h.i.v. and aids. so the first person that i called actually right after i emailed all of you was my colleague brian basinger and i reached out to him and i reached out to bill hirsch with larpt,
who is one of the people they worked with at that time. and i set up meetings with them. and i have had meetings with them. and i have heard their concerns and their thoughts around housing related to h.i.v. and aids issues. and i have just this last weekend spoken with the tenants union and tommy from housing rights, and we've had good conversations. and those were calls that i made. so i am not trying to not connect with the community. i want to connect with the community based upon the relationships that i already have and making the new ones stronger. >> supervisor ronen: supervisor mar.
>> supervisor mar: thank you. i wanted to thank you you for your deep commitment and service to our city and beyond for many years and for decades. and, you know, i really appreciate that and -- but, you know, i did -- i wanted to make a few comments about the rent board because i think that as -- as the questions that supervisor ronen just put to you, fairly pointed questions, the rent board plays such an incredibly important body here in the city and plays such an important role and the issues are very technical and the policies, you know, and the regulations are changing, evolving almost on a yearly basis. so it does really require a fairly deep level of experience and expertise to fill, particularly one of the tenant
seats on the rent board. and then also i think that as my colleague questioned, and has raised also, it's important for the tenant representative on the rent board to have a relationship with the very important network of tenant rights groups that do -- do the important work, you know, and to advocate for and to lift up the voices of the tenant community here in the city. and these, you know, they are the most important issues that we have been facing here in the city and have been facing for years or decades. so it's an important role and so i just wanted to echo some of the questions and even concerns that my colleagues have about
your -- your qualifications to fill such a critically important piece in terms of the depth of knowledge and expertise on tenant issues and also the relationship and connections to the broader tenant advocacy community. so that's not really a question but i just wanted to highlight that. >> can i respond? so, actually, yes, i will talk about the community in a larger perspective because this -- the focus of this hearing and a lot of our conversations over the last two weeks in the community have been on the narrow issue of technical expertise related to appeal. and that's not the only thing that import does, and it currently -- it needs to do more. my concern with the rent board and one of the reasons that i wanted to join the rent board is because they're not doing enough outreach to the community. now the housing groups and the tenants' unions are doing great
work in their community, but the other communities don't know what the rent board is. when i joined the rent board numerous people, including elected officials, asked me what the rent board was. so that's a problem that no one knows what the rent board is. because it's so important to the people to know their rights. and i have a meeting with -- as i've been having a number of meetings recently, i had a meeting with a friend of mine who works at the advisory councils. and i had a meeting with him and he -- he oversees the support groups. he -- the people who are dealing with their medical issues and so forth have support groups and he puts them on and hears through them and so forth. it's an exhausting job. and i want to meet with him because i wanted to know in
these support groups if housing comes up and he said, oh, my god, yes. and i said, well, tell me more about that. and he starts telling me a story about one of his clients who was just moving out like yesterday of their house because they had been living with their caretaker for numerous years and the -- and then they decided to get married. and once they got married, the landlord said they had to raise their rent. because there were two people living there. and i said, no, that's not correct. and he didn't know about that. i pulled up the code, i gave it to him, and i showed him the code and he's flabbergasted, and that's the problem. too many times renters don't
know that they're not getting the information they should know. if my -- one of the things that i wanted to do with the rent board is to do more outreach, particularly with non-profits that work directly with clients, that work directly -- not necessarily on housing issues but health care issues or what have you, so when they hear things like this and they hear situations about one of their clients talking off the cuff about i'll have to move out or something, they know that they can tell them more detail. that's what is missing at the rent board right now. and that's what i relationship want to -- really want to do is to do more outreach and advocacy about what rent board is. the rent board is not just a board that meets one night a month in the basement of 25 van ness, it can be so much more and that's what i want to bring to
it. i'm thinking of all 30 days of the month, not just the one night where we're having sparring over legal issues. there's a lot more that we can be doing as a rent board and i believe that i have a background and the experience to bring that into it. and that's why i wanted to go on to the rent board. yes, i'm not a lawyer and there are pieces of that that i'm learning but there's so much more to the rent board and can be than just talking appeals. and i want to bring my expertise and my personal experiences and my background in advocacy for 30 years into making sure that our community and our renters and our nonprofits know when to say the landlord is doing something wrong. and i -- when i got the call -- when i called -- when i called my landlords when my husband was moving in, she immediately said
we had to raise the rent. now me being a policy wonk had already looked that up and knew that she was wrong. but how many people haven't looked that up? how many people are there out there that don't know these rights because it's not as -- it's not as public as it should be. the rent board right now is -- no offense -- but they're doing secondosunday streets once a mo, that's not outreach to the constituencies that are there and not to the clients that are talking to their doctors or they're talking to their supervisors or whatever. that's outreach with a booth and some talk. there's so much more that we could be doing. and i view that being on this is not a one-night-a-month thing, but it's an all-year thing of making sure that the person who was moving out from my friend
that i was talking to didn't have to move out. they could have argued to stay in. and that's what i want to do. i want to make sure that people stay in their homes. and too many times landlords are either naive, but most likely just want to raise the rent because of whatever reason they can come up with. and tenants acquiesce to what the landlord says because they assume. now our housing groups and our tenant groups are doing great work on advising and providing legal services and providing information. but they can only do so much. rent board itself should be doing more and can be doing more, and that's why i wanted to serve on it. >> supervisor ronen: thank you, thank you so much. now we'll open this up for public comment. i do have some cards and there's
a long line but when there's room in the line, lauren conn, and john freedburg and linda post and tommy avagolmeka, and amy bachrack and nied makitro and judith chi. sorry, and feel free to get in line when there's room but i wanted to call those out to know. and whoever wanted to come forward and start us off, wonderful. >> hi. good afternoon, honorable board of supervisors. i'm the political director with united educators of san francisco that represents over 6,500 educators in our city. and the vast majority of our members are renters. and one of the things that we would like to say is if you support or care about tenants
then we need you to take a stand about having a real balance on the rent board, by having a representative that truly represents tenants that is supported by the tenants' right advocate in our city. the housing crisis is too critical to have someone on the rent board that is not ready for this role. as you know, and you heard today, last week tenants lost an important appeal against the biggest landlord in the city and mr. isabelle did not have the experience to adequately defend us. this single decision will impact hundreds of residents in san francisco. tenants must have on the rent board a person that not only knows the laws but who is an expert in tenants' rights and has the skills, capacity, and a deep knowledge to ardently defend tenants just like the landlord representative would. this is not personal against mr. isabelle. it's about relevant experience.
please reject mr. isabelle's appointment and ask the mayor to meet with the tenant advocates' groups. thank you. >> supervisor ronen: next speaker. sorry, yes. thank you, thank you so much today. i greatly appreciate it. >> no problem. >> supervisor ronen: hi. >> hi. my name is jen buchanan and i'm a tenant at 1025 souther street. i ask the committee to reject the mayor's appointment for the commissioner, and to get a stronger representative. i ask you to reject the mayor's sudden and uninformed decision to replace marshall and appoint an adequate tenant commissioner. this issue comes at an important time for hundreds of long-term rent control tenants. last year the board of supervisors passed a law banning
that from being passed on to rent control tenants. right now the rent board is in the midst of hearing and deciding on cases involving this new law and the 7% rent increase that comes with the increase in property tax. this decision involves new language that the rent board hasn't discussed before. my neighbors and i have are directly affected by this issue. we are fighting for more progressive interpretation of this law. and i have a question -- how will he advocate for tenants and what expertise that he have? unfortunately, the mayor's appointment, while he has the best intention to do good, it's not enough experience and expertise to effectively
represent on the commission. and san francisco is the largest corporate landlord to have more rent from the tenants and we need to keep our rent affordable. i ask you to reject the mayor's appointment and give tenants an opportunity to have input into this important process. thank you to you. >> supervisor ronen: thank you so much. >> i can see right now that there's a situation where management and owners of the multimillion dollar apartment building complex is trying to pull a fast one and retaliate against the tenants. you deliberately are avoiding and retaliating because of the property tax and the board ruled that you can't pass on debt services to tenants. landlord/tenant law explains it
clearly -- any type of expense that has to be taken care of by the owner of an apartment building complex, such as plumbing problems, renovation problems, leaks, sewage, plumbing, it's supposed to be taken care of by the owner of the building. and then the event that the tenant takes it upon themselves to do the repairs immediately because they want to have the problem taken care of because it's in their own apartment building, apartment unit where they live, they're eligible to deduct that expense from the following month's rent. now if the owner, which appears to me and the management, has got a problem with the property taxes that's the situation where that manager, that owner of that multibillion dollar apartment building complex, you need to write your congressman and to be buyebefore congress and to talko congress the way that the
tenants are talking about this problem. you've got your values mixed up. because a lot of confusion with tenant coming in here and pleading out their hearts about this 7% increase? that's retaliation. people are on fixed incomes, economically disadvantaged, combination of both mental and fiscal disabilities and wheelchairs and not getting salary increases on the job equal to the 7%. iin fact, any increase for tenants and any multibillion dollar complex has been... >> supervisor ronen: thank yo you. >> thank you. hi, good afternoon, my name is lauren conn and i'm a life-long san franciscoian and dedicated my career to serving low-income people, especially in san francisco. i have worked as a case manager
in public health programs and also as an ai an aide in this bg and i hear all the time that people are not even aware of what the rent board is. which is exactly why i'm here to support isabelle's position on the rent board. i have known him for the better part of a decade. he's been incredibly dedicated to making san francisco and california livable and safe for everyone. obviously, he has a lot of personal connection to the importance of rent control and understands how scary it is and understands -- he's a pretty smart guy and has a lot of information about the way that the law and the policy works. he himself has faced challenges in advocating for himself, so has turned his commitment from his personal experiences to helping others. i want to make sure that we're thinking as we go through the process of the importance of having somebody who is deeply connected to the community and has decades of experience and working in support of the community and as a thoughtful and fair and smart person, and i
hope that you can continue to support his position on this board. i thank you very much. >> (indiscernible). >> supervisor ronen: next speaker, please. >> if it's okay i'll translate. >> supervisor ronen: thank you so much. >> (voice of translator): my name is marcelo garcia. and i reside at 57 taylor for 28 years. i would like to ask that i'm here to support commissioner who has direct contact with communities. we want changes in our
apartments and our structures and we want improvements. in regards to increasing the rent monthly, there are changes. i as a tenant don't want to continue living amongst cockroaches and other habitability issues. thank you very much. >> hello, good afternoon, supervisors. my name is rosa maria cavallo. i'm a long-time tenants and workers' rights advocate in the neighborhoods of the tenderloin, mission and other neighborhoods throughout san francisco. and soon to be a public interest law school student this fall. exciting. i'm here to ask that mr. isabelle not to be approved
as a rent board commissioner. after tuesday night's hearing i was utterly shocked and disappointed at isabelle's inability to articulate or to sawb assistant live to contribute to the discussion that became before the board that night, around 430 baker appeal and the submission in question that had to do with reasonable reliance of the amended operating and maintenance passthrough legislation. his points i found to be incrediblincredible flimsy and feeling-based at best. which commissioner wasserman reminded isabelle as commissioners they're not here to necessarily decide in that regard upon feelings, but that they are there to debate the ordinance and nothing else. this is not if mr. isabelle is a nice person. it is about the significance of the rent board and making sure that qualified individuals serve on it. i do not find him to be well suited for this important seat. i ask that you not support his nomination and i also
respectfully ask that polymarshall to be reinstated. polly marshall to be reinstated. thank you very much. [applause] >> supervisor ronen: sorryier, we have a rule in all of our board rooms that there's no applause, so if you like what someone has to say, use your supportive fingers. and if you don't you can point daoust down but please don't make any audible sound. thank you. next speaker, please. >> hi, good afternoon, supervisors. my name is rocinda, and i live on mission street. and i have come here to really say i'm someone about someone who can help us. i live there for 13 years and i spend the money, a lot of amount, a lot to fix my house. this is my house. i have a big hole...
(indiscernible) and this (indiscernible) and she tried to fix it just to make up. she send the workers and he covered and make a painting on the building. but the thing is that i send him a letter and email, and since that i have another problem. i live there for 13 years. and i almost lost my house if you can see the condition of how it is. i throw a lot of food away because it's a lot of (indiscernible) in the apartment. as you can see... (indiscernible) this is the food that i threw away. (indiscernible) if you can see this i have this -- all of this in the apartment.
and i send money, a lot of emails and he doesn't respond about my petition. we went to the court and there i didn't get fixes on my apartment. so like i said, i almost lost my apartment and i almost lost my daughter. she tried to kill herself because we have a harassment with the neighbors and i sent him a letter and email and said since i have this problem in the apartment also i have a problem... (indiscernible) it's so many problems. (indiscernible). >> supervisor ronen: thank yo you. >> (indiscernible). >> supervisor ronen: thank you so much. so sorry this is happening. thank you for coming in to testify. >> thank you. >> supervisor ronen: thank
you. next speaker, please. >> hi, it's hard to follow. so sorry to also hear what she's going through. i just wanted to come here and my name is lena sarch zobia and i worked for bridge h.h.b., which is linked to the san francisco department of public health. and i led a community and outreach team there and i also governed the community advisory board on which isabelle took a part. so i'm just really here to support reese because as someone who governed that body i just saw his incredible work ethic and somebody who cares about people. people who just like the woman who just talked, we had a lot of, you know, research that was really around trying to find a vaccine against h.i.v./aids. and it was critical to have board members who not only cared about community but were connected to the community. and he played a critical role in giving us advice about how best
to outreach and how to meet people where they were at and how to bring people into our process institutionally and not just be in a room as a board, but to actually go out and talk to people. so just to also, you know, as regulating meetings and not only attended but was an active participant in not only communicating his own perspective but bringing other people in as well, and listening. so just in terms of work ethic and also his background over two decades of, you know, policy and politics, and it really takes somebody who can navigate the systems and that's important for something like the board. in addition to law. knowing how to navigate and to explain how to navigate to others. so i wanted to support that incredible work ethic and thank you for your contpiewgz and your time. >> supervisor ronen: thank you very much, next speaker. >> i'm john freedburg. i'm a long-time tenant,
long-time resident of cole valley. and a counselor of the housing rights committee for 30 years. my one experience at the rent board commission was about 10 years into my counseling where i sat for an hour and i tapped the person's shoulder in front of me and said, do you have any idea what they're talking about. and he turned around and said, no, i was hoping that maybe you'd help me. the rising number of people on the streets and the number -- the amount of the rents going up and the complexity of the rules and the regulations, and the incredible effort of the power sources in the city, to complicate and to get around the rules and the regulations that we have, we need someone who is not on-the-job training. this is not the thing that you put at the redford commission level. we need someone who is familiar with the rules and the regulations and the laws and we
do not need a person who is nominated. we need someone already well inscribed. thank you. >> supervisor ronen: thank you. next speaker, please. next speaker, please. thank you. >> good afternoon. thank you. >> good afternoon, my name is adrian mckaren and i am representing myself and my wife and the residents of 30 baker street, san francisco 99417. thank you for your time. good afternoon. we have our property, and my wife texted me and the fact that we had a $700 passthrough, and this month we have to move out
of our apartment which we have been there since 2006. i mean, i'm an immigrant and i was struggling with increased medical bills, etc. but the $700 also was removed from our bank account without any notice or anything. and we have been trying -- been emailing them for a receipt of the breakdown of the costs and we've had no response. and for me no transparency because of corruption and that's what i'm feeling a lot of here. is that we're not being represented, and all of these groups have massive funding and support so they can pretty much do whatever they want. and we need representation on our side, competent and educated and i follow what my previous colleagues have mentioned and we need someone who knows the ins and outs of this and is able to advocate for us. and as we say losing that last week was devastating for all of the residents of 430 baker. we have a lot of disabled people
and that have been living there for many years and retirees who are fixed income and cannot afford these passthroughs, etc. it's just been devastating for us. and with our property acquired last year and since then it's just been shenanigan, passthrough charges. along with the rent increases. and we don't know which is which. a lot are notices that they give us are posted in public places, like the side of the mailboxes, etc., and not conveyed to us in a professional manner. >> supervisor ronen: so sorry to hear about this. i really appreciate that you came today. thank you. >> thank you very much.
>> supervisor ronen: good morning. >> my name is linda post. i have been in a represent-controlled -- rent-controlled apartment since 1977. i work with all of the tenant organizations, but more importantly, i'm 72 years old and i'm terrified that something will happen and i will lose my home. so i depend on all of these people to help me. and i'm asking you to revisit this appointment and to start over. my personal favorite is pauley marshall because i have been working with her for many, many years. thank you. >> supervisor ronen: thank you. next speaker, please. >> hello.
my name is ann mead and i'm a consultant of the biotech industry. formerly at canada life sciences association, which is the industry trade association. northern california is one of the largest, most important biotech centers in the world. the issues are very complex. the community is highly varied, from two person scientist teams to giants. the number and range of issues that reese had to follow as our government affairs council associate there was vast. he had to -- he had to master the issues quickly, track their progress through legislative bodies, educate the constituency that was -- as i say highly varied from, you know, young scientists who don't know anything about the world except what's under the microscope to corporate leaders.
reese did all of this, mastering the material very, very quickly. and he did it exceptionally well. he's a really quick study. and he masters very complex material, organizes information very clearly and presents it in a way that is the most useful to whomever he's speaking with. making complex issues, including legal issues, as would occur in the housing area -- and by the way i have been a renter in san francisco for 35 years and i care very much on who is representing me. i would put my housing and my future in reese's hands without question. i think that he would be an invaluable member of the board and i advocate him strongly. thank you.
>> hi, hi, my name is kayla williams and i'm speaking on behalf of the lgbtq democratic club and i'll read a letter that they sent to the board of supervisors. on april 9,2019, the political action committee of the democratic lgbtq democratic club has voted to reject the appointment of reese isbell to the rent board. while we encourage representation in all areas of public service, this is a seat on the rent board that is traditionally reserved for an expert in tenants' rights. we cannot support an appointee whose qualifications have not been vetted. we stand with our tenant advocate allies and encourage the mayor's office to consult with those known advocates -- excuse me -- to find an appropriate appointee to this critical body. sincerely the harvey mill democratic club. and i wanted to say thank you so much, supervisor ronen, for asking questions that i believe
that all rent board commissioners should be able to answer. i have tow doubt that mr. isbell's passion for tenants' rights but we're in a housing crisis in san francisco and we truly have very, very little time for someone who has to learn on the job for this position. and i ask that you also -- again with the letter, ask you to take the time to reach out to our tenants' rights advocates who are truly ready to take on this position in rent board. thank you. >> good afternoon, supervisors. thank you for holding this hearing and for hearing all of these opinions this afternoon. my name is amy bachrack and i have been an activist and an official, i guess, in this city for a long time. i have known rese isbell for at least seven years and i have been very impressed with all of his dedication, but more importantly with his work and with his action. he's worked as he had mentioned on the local, state and the
federal level and as a renter myself and someone who completely depends on rent control to keep my young children and my family in this city that i love, i trust reese isbell completely with advocating on my behalf and for my rights. so i ask that you support his nomination. again, his experience makes him highly qualified for this seat. he's worked for his community, for his entire career. and his insight on the rent board will benefit me and all renters in san francisco, especially right now as we face -- as we all know that there's increasing challenges to renters. finally, i'm a little confused as to the qualifications that people have been talking about, because my understanding was that the qualifications for the appointment was that the person be a renter. i don't recall seeing attorney on the qualifications, but perhaps i missed it. but either way i completely trust reese to learn it quickly and to understand the legal
issues considering his experience in these issues. so thank you. >> good afternoon, i'm a member of the democratic socialists of america and a renter in san francisco and i'm here particularly to share two ideas. the first, i have heard from a number of people here who have spoken about their trust and the dedication of reese isbell and i would say that their perspectives are as relevant as his supposed dedication, which is to say not very much. this is a quasi judicial capacity that requires expertise. it matters to the good governance of our city and to appoint people in quasi judicial capacities that don't understand issues as fundamental as a burden of proof and a standard of review is irresponsible. i have heard one person here say that he excels in simplifying complex legal concepts. it was proven in the line of questioning that supervisor
ronen had shared with him that he doesn't understand simple legal concepts, let alone complex ones, and i thank it places the commission in an untenable position and renders it unable to perform its function to allow this appointment to remain. thank you. >> supervisor ronen: next speaker, please. >> good afternoon. my name is kathy lipscomb and i'm on the board of senior disability action and i'm a tenant activist. i just would like to put this in a little social context. you know, we're facing some tsunamis unparalleled in this city. the one is s.b.-50, which if it passes, could lead to disruption and chaos in this city. and the other is the i.p.o., the initial public offerings that "the new york times" and the san francisco "chronicle" have both said that would create thousands of millionaires when they go
public, these companies. lyft, uber and the rest of them, pinterest. so this could be a disaster also in terms of displacement for not just tenants. so here we have an opportunity to make a small correction while a big correction in the rent board -- you know, it's an opportunity for the mayor to mend fences, to some extent with the tenants after her initial rejection of prop c. and now this? this would be an opportunity for the mayor to sit down with us and to talk about who should be on the rent commission. and i hope that happens. this candidate is skilled in many ways but he's obviously not skilled in the ins and outs of a rent ordinance. we saw that from the appeal last week that fell to the landlords and fell in their pockets. so we can't have this. it's not fair to mr. isbell and it's not fair to us.
so thank you very much for listening. >> supervisor ronen: next speaker. >> hi, i'm from the housing rights committee. i'm also a long-time queer activist and have been involved in the tenants' right movements since the mid 1990s when i got involves because a lot of men were being evicted during the first dot com boom. and i want to remind why we're here today. we're here because the mayor did not follow the protocol that has been set for the last 40 years that the mayor sits down with the tenant advocates and the representatives of tenant organizations to discuss an appointment to the rent board, to the tenet rep, to the board. and they sit down with the landlord groups before they appoint a landlord rep. this policy has worked extremely well in 40 years.
why did that not happen now? there was no consultation with any tenant, folks, or with the tenant community for this very important appointment. okay? that's why we're here and we have to be here because that protocol was not followed and i do not understand why it was not followed but i think that it's the reason that we are here and why we have to have this heari hearing. and it's not going to include us in the discussion? i want to say something to qualifications. i have been a tenant counselor for 19 years and i'm not qualified to be a commissioner on the rent board because i don't have legal training. the last meeting that i went to at the rent board when i listened to the discussion, i didn't understand. i had to lean over to a tenant lawyer to ask if we won or lost because i was lost in that discussion. that's all i'm saying. ii wouldnot accept that positioe
i know that i'd be in over my head, you know. but the most important thing to me is... >> supervisor ronen: thank you. next speaker, please. >> hello, my name is rashell rodriguez and i'm a community advocate. and removing polly marshall that had been part of the rent board for 35 years is crucial to tenants in san francisco. last week tenants lost a big appeal against the biggest landlord in the city. mr. isbell did not have the expertise to defend the tenants. this will impact hundreds of houshouseholds and i am happy tt he's willing to listen but right now we need the right person to do the job and that is polly marshall. thank you. >> supervisor ronen: next speaker, please. >> hi, i'm here as a tenant and
i grew up in san francisco. i'm here to support polly marshall, i didn't see anything wrong with what she was doing and she's been there for 35 years so it seems unnecessary to shake up a system that is working towards tenants' rights and has been doing a good job. i recently have been at the rent board and i'm benefitting from having rent control right now, though my landlord was fighting that we were under rent control. so it's very important that all tenants rights to be represented here and that london breed needs to look at this closely and to see the tenants and the tenant rights advocates are watching. i'm sure that mr. isbell is a very nice man, however, i think that some of the qualifications like not knowing what 2.0 is, is very important to 10ants. tenan. and to take marshall out of a
position where she's proven to tenants and advocate groups here that she's right for the position and should be reinstated. thank you very much. >> hello, supervisors, thank you for holding this hearing. my name is heather ford and i'm not an advocate or part of any addosadvocacy group. i'm a 25-year resident of san francisco and a 14-year resident of 719 delores street. it was run by a management company, and we have no contact with the corporation that we recently found out -- thanks to all of the advocacy groups out there and the support that we've had to understand what is happening with this. and we are being systematically squeezed and intimidated in the last six to eight months.
this is my home. this is the tenants that live in the building as well and i represent them and i'm here for all of us today. all of this work has set me back hours and hours in my own profession as an independent contractor working per non-profits in the city. bringing health and wellness to people in all socioeconomic groups. what we're facing is a who mog niization -- city being homogenized. and there's no socioeconomic groups. i just urge you to really consider everybody's plea here. it sounds like many of the colleagues of reese isbell are here to support him but the very people that this involves and affects are the majority of them here are the ones that are asking for this to be reconsidered. the appointment, like many have said, was very outlandish in the
process, if you could call it that. though he's well intended i support him in continuing to do the great work that he does in the world outside of this position. thank you so much. >> leila stanley with the san francisco tenants' union. our tenant counselors are in training for more than six months before they're even allowed to counsel a tenant. and i would like to point out in defense of the rent board they actually do conduct trainings directly for our tenant counselors so they're very well versed in the room, so they do jousdooutreach. after eight years of counseling and with a technical background, i find the sube subtlies offer challenge. it requires a deep understanding of the rules and regulations.
defending a tenant's position about -- i'm sorry -- defending a tenant's position against experienced landlord attorneys is much more daunting than counselling a tenant about their rights. we understand the magnitude of the understanding that it takes. tenants lost an appeal last week against the largest landlord in a city, that will impact hundreds of households for years to come. a more experienced tenant representative would have been able to better defend these tenants. this is not about the current appointee's intelligence nor his level of caring for tenants. this requires relevant experience, not on-the-job training to defend the tenants against displacements. supervisor, please reject this appointment. thank you. >> supervisor ronen: next speaker.