San Francisco, CA

Tuesday in San Francisco: SF Independent Film Festival returns in person, rent control law upheld and more

Sri Ravipati
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By Sri Ravipati

Good morning, San Francisco! Welcome back to another daily roundup of local stories for Jan. 25.

San Francisco Independent Film Festival returns in February

The 24th annual San Francisco Independent Film Festival is returning Feb. 3-13 in person at the Mission District's Roxie Theater.

The film festival is also offering a virtual viewing option for anyone who wants to attend from the comfort of their home.

The schedule includes 42 short and 26 feature films from 10 countries.

One highly-anticipated feature film is "The Summer Negro." The drama "opens an important conversation on the modern age of race in America, told through a young Black man who must overcome rage, alienation, even homelessness after being confronted by a series of racially-charged incidents," ABC7 reports.

Mayor Breed proposes expanding police access to surveillance cameras for critical events and public safety crises in San Francisco

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors are meeting Tuesday to decide whether to approve Mayor London Breed's newly revised crime and safety ordinance, which would expand police access to surveillance cameras in real-time, NBC Bay Area reports.

Breed's plan would make changes to the current Surveillance Technology Ordinance passed in 2019.

The mayor wants SFPD to have increased access to surveillance cameras across the city in real-time during two types of situations: critical events and public safety crisis areas.

Critical events include:

  • mass assaults using firearms, vehicles or other dangerous weapons
  • actual or suspected terrorist acts
  • hostage and kidnapping incidents
  • arson
  • organized theft or burglary
  • looting or rioting

Public safety crisis areas include:

  • areas with repeated or sustained high levels of criminal activity
  • pen-air illegal drug markets, where public drug sales and use inhibit public access to community amenities and services, such as public transit, parks and playgrounds
  • areas where there has been a documented increase in violent crimes over a period of 14 days or longer

If the city's supervisors cannot decide the issue, it will be left to voters.

San Francisco tenants further protected from eviction by another name

A San Francisco tenant-protection law barring eviction by another name was upheld Monday in an appeal's court.

As The Chronicle reports:

"The case tested the limits of the Costa-Hawkins Act, a California law backed by the real estate industry that banned local rent control on apartments built after February 1995 and on all single-family homes and condominiums. It did not limit a city or county’s authority to restrict tenant evictions, but the issue before the court was whether San Francisco’s eviction rules were a form of rent control."

The city ordinance passed in January 2019 prevented property owners in San Francisco from hiking up rents so high that they clearly did not intend to recoup the owner’s costs but instead aimed to displace the tenant.

The San Francisco Apartment Association and other groups filed a lawsuit against the city ordinance a month later, claiming San Francisco was effectively controlling rents, which was a violation of Costa-Hawkins.

Superior Court Judge Charles Haines disagreed in 2020. His ruling was upheld Monday by the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

Thanks for reading today's S.F. news roundup! Did any of these stories hit home for you? Let me know in the comments.

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