Bay Area Initiatives: Grady Ranch Housing, Minimum Wage Hikes, Ellis Act Reform


Lots of juicy issues from the Bay Area over the past week to sink your teeth into:

First off, you probably heard about the new Star Wars trailer that was released last week, but the franchise’s creator was also in the news for a different reason. George Lucas, a longtime resident of Marin, has proposed building a 224-unit affordable housing complex at his Grady Ranch. The units would be set aside primarily for seniors and local workers, and Lucas would finance the entire project himself.

The proposal has drawn mixed reaction from Marin’s leaders. Some worry over the impact of new development projects, which have the potential to make indelible changes to the landscape. Others welcome the Grady Ranch development with open arms, calling it an incredible opportunity to add to Marin’s limited housing stock.

Do you think this is the right project for Marin? Cast your vote here.

Should George Lucas build an affordable housing complex in Grady Ranch?

Film maker and longtime Marin resident George Lucas has proposed building a 224 unit affordable housing complex in Grady Ranch.


Second is Berkeley and Emeryville’s proposed minimum wage increases – both cities have recently begun efforts to raise their minimum wages to $16 per hour by 2017. This comes as national organizers have begun launching movements in support of a higher base salary. On April 15th, tax day, the organization Fight for 15 held a series of rallies across Oakland and Berkeley. Many fast food and retail workers walked off the job to participate in the marches, which included such prominent labor activists as Robert Reich.

Similar to previous minimum wage battles, this one has seen familiar groups line up on either side of the issue: Labor unions have come out strongly in favor of the proposals while business interests are cautious. At a recent city council meeting in Emeryville on the topic, several business owners expressed concern over the pace of the increase, and suggest there be special exemptions for certain businesses.

What do you think? Should Berkeley and Emeryville raise their minimum wages to $16 per hour?

Should Berkeley raise its minimum wage to $16 per hour?

The Berkeley city council is considering raising its minimum wage to $16.00 per hour by 2017.

Should Emeryville Raise its minimum wage to $16.00 per hour?

The Emeryville city council is considering raising the city’s minimum wage to $16.00 per hour.


Lastly, in San Francisco there has been a lot of focus around the epidemic of Ellis Act evictions in the city. Many long time residents have been kicked out of their homes as landlords sell properties to developers who intend to redevelop the sites into luxury housing. San Francisco State Senator Mark Leno has been pushing a bill through the California legislature that he believes would dramatically reduce speculative use of the Ellis Act. The bill, SB 364, would force property buyers to hold their properties for at least five years before invoking the Ellis Act to sell the residency and evict tenants.

The bill came before the Senate housing committee last week but was voted down in its initial hearing 6-5. The bill is likely to come before the committee again this week for a second vote. Do you think the bill should pass? Vote and comment here.

Should landlords have to own their property for five years before using the Ellis Act to evict tenants?

San Francisco State Senator Mark Leno has proposed a bill that would require landlords in San Francisco to own the residential building for a period of five years before they can apply the Ellis Act to get out of the residential rental business and kick out tenants.


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