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tv   BOS Govt Audits and Oversight Committee  SFGTV  April 6, 2021 4:00am-7:46am PDT

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the show. awe thank you. thank you, chris. >> well, thank you, again. and that is it for this episode. we'll be back with more pandemic-related information shortly. you have been watching coping with covid-19. for sfgov tv, i'm chris manners. thanks for watching. >> good morning. this meet willing come to order. welcome to the thursday, march 18, 2021 meeting of the government audit and oversight committee. i'm supervisor dean preston t chair of this committee and i am joined by vice chair connie chan and committee member supervisor rafael mandelman. thank you to the committee's clerk, john carroll and to sfgov tv for staffing this meeting. do you have any announcements? >> yes, thank you, mr. chair. in order to protect the public
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and board members and city employees during the covid-19 emergency, the board of chambers and committee room are closed. this is taken pursuant to all various local, state and federal orders, declarations and directives. committee members are attending this meeting through video conference and will participate in the meetings to the same extent as if they're physically present. public comment will be available for each item on this agenda. both san francisco cable channel 26 and sfgov tv.org. your opportunity to speak and provide your public comment during the public comment periods will be available to you via phone by calling 415-565-0001. once you've kexed and prompted, enter the meeting i.d. for today's meeting, which is 1873339471. then press pound twice to be connected to the meeting. when connected, you will hear the meeting discussions but will be muted and in listening mode only. when your item of interest
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comes up, dial star followed by 3 to be added to the speaker line. a system prompt will indicate that you have raised your hand. please wait until the system indicates you are unmuted. best practices are to call from a quiet location, speak clearly and slowly and turn down your radio, television or streaming advice. everyone must account for time delays and speaking discrepancies that we may encounter. alternative maw you may submit your public comment in -- >> [inaudible]. >> i'm john carroll, my e-mail address is john.carroll@sfgov.org. please submit your public comment via e-mail. it will be included in the legislative file as part of the matter. your written comments can be sent to our office in city hall by u.s. postal service. our address is 1 dr. carlton goodlett place room 244, san
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francisco, california, 49102. one additional issue, mr. chair, we have today interpreter assistance provided from ocea for public comment line in spanish -- in chinese. we have guests who are here to provide assistance with that participation. ar turo, could you provide some introductory comments in spanish? >> sure, john. [speaking in spanish] [speaking in spanish]
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[speaking in spanish] gracias. thank you.
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>> thank you, arturo. i'm going to once real quick mention the meeting i.d. number one more time. could you interpret after i provided it. the meeting i.d. is 187-333-9471. could you repeat that? >> sure. hold on a second. let me write that down. what did you say? 187-333-9471. >> sorry. i had the wrong number. >> thank you. >> [speaking in spanish] gracias. >> thank you very much, arturo.
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agnes, can you provide introduction assistance in chinese? >> yes. [speaking mandarin]
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thank you. >> thank you both very much. and finally, mr. chair, the last of my announcements. item on today's agenda are expected to be acted upon by the board of supervisors at their april 6, 2021 meeting. >> thank you, mr. clerk. and a couple of things before we get started. first, just want to thank our translators for their interpretation services and it's really absolutely essential to providing access to so many to these hearings and appreciate all your work throughout the pandemic and
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particularly today as we get into maeser where is i'm sure will have folks that avail themselves of your transportation services. thank you very much. secondly, i want to take a moment to acknowledge and briefly comment on, i think, what is on a lot of our minds in city hall and around the city right now. which is the really disturbing surge in attacks and violence on members of asian-american community in san francisco, in the bay area and crass the country. and i think it is a time for us to just make very clear our solidarity, the fact that we are grieving with the community, with this rise in hate crimes and also as government audited oversight committee that we remind the people in the city who are so
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many daily interacting with folks in our asian-american community in san francisco that this is a time for compassion, for patients, for extending an extra hand whenever possible and we as a city stablds united against this kind of hate and all of these attacks. go ahead, supervisor chan. >> thank you, chair peskin. i'm so grateful to you for your remark today and standing with -- in solidarity with the asian-american community and reminding our city government and, you know, to have that compassion and to have the patience with our community. and so i just want to thank you for that remark and really it is great to be a vice chair of the government audit and oversight committee that really
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allow me to represent my constituents in the region and also my other hat as, you know, a chinese-american woman who elected on the board of supervisors and a member of this committee and to hold our city departments accountable and to make sure that, as a city, we provide equitable services serving all of our community, asian-american, a.p.i. communities and communities of colour and immigrant communities. we have contributed to the diversity and the greatness of san francisco. and that it is time for us to make sure that we do care for those who have contributed for generations to san francisco. so, thank you. >> thank you. supervisor mandelman? >> thank you, chair preston. thank yous for your comments and associate myself with them.
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>> thank you. mr. clerk, we're going to take the a agenda today a little out of order. if you could call the item 2 through 4, the litigation items first, please. >> agenda items 2 through 4 are the litigation agenda for today. they are two ordnances settling lawsuits and a resolution settling an unlitigated claim against the city and county. members of the public wish to provide public comment should call the public comment number. it is 415-655-0001 and then meeting i.d., and then press the star key followed by the number 3. there may be some folks who have already raised their hands in order to provide public comment on agenda item number 1.
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if that is the case, you can put your hand back down by repeating star 3 into your number pad and that will help us stay organized. mr. chair? >> thank you, mr. carroll. and thank you to the public for your patience as we move through these first items 2 through 4 and thank you to the city attorney for the request that we hear these initially. colleagues, i -- barring a request from supervisor mandelman or supervisor chan, do not believe -- and again subject to public comment -- that we will need to go into closed session on these items. the city attorney has fully briefed us on these items. i only had one comment that i wanted to make on item 2, which i am fully comfortable making in open session, which is just that that case raises, i think,
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some very significant issues around folks who are in custody and making sure that there is not interruption of their sleep and it's something that a lot of folks who are not in custody take for granted, but when you are in custody, having the peace and quiet to be able to actually get the sleep you need to stay healthy while incarcerated is a significant health -- mental health and physical health issue. so, appreciate the settlement was reached on that case and just wanted to urge, while on the record publicly, just urge the sheriff's department to stay in touch with us around the enforcement and implementation of this particular settlement so we can all work together to make sure folks in custody are getting the sleep to which they are entightled. barring any other questions or
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comments, again, not planning to go into closed session on this, i see supervisor chan on the roster. sorry. supervisor chan. >> thank you, chair press to*fnl yes, i concur with your -- with your comments here and just also would love to follow up when it is appropriate that we could figure out, you know, to establish the oversights commission so i look forward to tim mrementation. i definitely think that having commission overseeing -- having oversight over the department will really help. i think these type of settlements really was some of the reasons why we -- that commission or that proposition came about so i look forward to the implementation of that proposition. >> thank you. and mr. clerk, can we --
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>> oh. supervisor? i'm so sorry. i am participating by my phone and so i can't get on to the roster. >> oh. >> and i'm -- >> sorry. [laughter] welcome, supervisor ronen. i did not know that you were on yet and did not see your hand waving and we'll recognize you now. just a reminder that even though it is a litigation item, we're in open session. so, if it is something that would be more appropriate for closed session, please let us know. but with that, the floor is yours. >> thank you so much. and, you know, i also just wanted to thank you for making those opening comments. and to express my deep concern and solidarity with the asian community all over the country and in san francisco. this is a very important time
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to show that solidarity and to be watchful and to be good neighbours and take care of one another. i have never done a -- commented on a settlement in my four years ton board so if i am inappropriate, please stop me. i'm not sure what goes in closed session and what doesn't. i have to say when i was reading the board agenda and reading about the settlement, i was really disturbed. i had no idea that we were not allowing inmates in san francisco to get a full night's sleep. and that is something that is unacceptable. because anyone in our custody does not mean that they don't have the same human needs that the rest of us have. to uninterrupted, quality sleep. that is a human right and i'm glad that we reached the
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settlement. as someone who doesn't function well unless i get eight hours of sleep, i'm not thrilled by the seven-hour, you know, sort of compromise here and it's something that i am now alerted to. and agree with supervisor chan that now that we have this oversight committee so that some of the practices that we didn't know about are brought to light in a public way. but i certainly am, no pun intended, awakened to this policy that i didn't know existed and makes me feel like we need to dig deeper into these policies in our sheriff's department. i just wanded to share that. hopefully nothing -- none of my comments belonged in closed session. but i felt compeled to say something after being quite shocked. that this practice has been going on for quite some time. thank you.
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>> thank you, supervisor ronen. apologies for not realising that you were seeking to speak earlier but glad we got that figured out. do you have access to the chat now, or not? >> caller: i don't think so. >> all right. wave your hand or feel free to interject if you need to be recognized as we move forward and i just want to con can you are with both of your comments and thank president walton for his develop of the leadership on the committee for oversight of the sheriff's department and practices. seeing no other questions from colleagues on the committee, mr. carroll, can we open the public comment? >> thank you, mr. chair. the department of technology is helping with us public comment call-in line today. please let us know if we have any callers ready to provide public comment. specifically on the litigation agenda.
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>> there are currently no callers in the queue. but there are callers listening in and there are 14 callers listening. >> ok. thank you. >> thank you, mr. clerk. so seeing no callers on item two through four, public comment is now closed can on those items and you can call the role on items two through four. >> there a motion? >> to approve the settlements. >> ok. on the motion offered by chair preston that the settlement items be recommended to the april 6 board meeting, vice chair chan -- [roll call] mr. chair, there are three ayes.
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>> thank you, mr. clerk. please call item 1. >> agenda number 1,, hearing ton economic and neighbourhood impacts of commercial land lors failure to grant rent relief during covid-19 pandemic including increased commercial vacancy rates, city provided legal resources or support services for small businesses and engaging in commercial lease negotiations, local tools to protect small businesses and encourage commercial landlords to grant rent relief and possible changes to state law to protect small businesses. members wishing to provide comment should call 415-655-0001, meeting i.d. 187-333-9471. and press star 3 and enter the pound symbol to speak. >> thank you, mr. clerk.
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we seem to have some background echoing. so, if folks who are not speaking could please maoutz themselves, that would help. thank you. so, colleagues, before i turn this over to supervisor mandelman, just some initial remarks, i'm very pleased that we are having this hearing and discussion on the crucial issue of small business back rent and i want to first thank supervisor mandelman for calling this hearing today. also wants to thank my colleagues, supervisor ronen and supervisor chan for not just for what i'm sure will be an interesting discussion today, but just for their work throughout the pandemic. i would say this is an unusual hearing where we have four supervisors who have actively
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been work on so many aspects of protecting small businesses and i'm glad we could be together on this. to be a little more specific, supervisor mandelman has really been one of the key city leaders as he and i served together on the economic recovery task force. he has been one of the biggest reasons that we have been able to move forward with the shared spaces programme. as aggressively as we have to generate revenue for small businesses during these impossible times. it has been a critical lifeline. supervisor ronen has sprung into actions for small businesses before a lot of folks even realised the stakes. i think it was back in april she introduced one of first pieces of throwsing provide rent relief with small business loans, loan fund and her advocacy has continued to this day and i'm sure she'll be addressing the b.l.a. report that she has commissioned that
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we'll be hearing about today on back rent. and supervisor chan, you have been on this body for just two months and now ready to lead on legislation, including the legislation to look at exthe ending the right to council to legacy businesses, to other small anchor businesss in our neighbourhood. and it's key to making sure that businesss have a fighting chance. i'm sure -- i don't want to speak for my colleagues. i know they will be addressing these difference issues but i wanted to appreciate all their work and also just say that, as a former small business owner myself, i can tell you and i think we all know that so many businesses were barely surviving before this pandemic. and you add to that the plummeting revenues, the shifting health orders t complete federal neglect until
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recently, scared employees and it is no wonder that so many businesses have been permanently shuttered during this time and i think today's hearing is on the often overlooked but really critical issue of back rents. what's the path out of this? what is the scope of the problem? what has the city done to help? what more should we do? this hearing today will allow the public and colleagues to understand what's being done to help our small business owners negotiate their mounting rent debt during this time and i will say that, you know, my office has remained concerned about this throughout and raising this specific concern with former director of oewd, with staff for over eight months and have been encouraged
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by some things. but overall, just made by the lack of progress of back rent debt. also want to give credit to supervisor peskin, that we partnered with him around the small business eviction moratorium that's been a real lifeline for small businesses, providing protections and a pathway for rent negotiations. but there is still far more that we need to do. i will turn it over to supervisor manldsleman with these final records, which is -- [sirens] we all know that many landlords in san francisco have done the right thing, have worked with tenants, have reduced rents, have waived rent and i want to recognize and not take for granted their humanity and their flexibility in this crisis. we also know we wouldn't be having this hearing today if all landlords were doing that.
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we know that many landlords have not done that. many commercial landlords have refused to reduce rents and we have to ask and i plan to, in this hearing. why more has not been done with -- by those who are charged with supporting small businesses to advocate, first of all, small businesses in the face of commercial landlords who refuse to lower, waive or negotiate rent debt. what tools do these departments need, what are the reasons for the lack of comprehensive advocacy. how do we move forward with more than just words? so with that, and again with thanks to supervisor mandelman for his leadership, for calling this hearing, i will turn the floor over to supervisor mandelman to address these issues and introduce speaker and so forth. >> thank you. i will be brief and i believe there are other colleagues who
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would like to speak as well. across the world, tenants and landlords, wokers and employers have faced unprecedented struggles over the last year. hundreds of san franciscans lost their lives and thousands of small businesses closed can permanently and tens of thousands of workers lost their jobs. at the same time, there have been silver linings, san franciscans have by their collective sacrifice saved thousands and tens of thousands of lives and san franciscans have come together to lend them a helping hand. residents are here to help orders and businesss have taken out loans to keep their employees on payroll and many landlords have recognized that their small business tenants cannot meet their rent obligations and have agreed to defer and/or decrease rents. but not everyone has done that. i've called for this hearing because i have begun to hear from small businesses as i know many of you have.
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beloved in their neighbourhoods who, despite their businesses facing significantly reduced revenues and being closed for long periods of time, could not and have not been able to get their landlords to acknowledge the reality of the pandemic emergency and provide relief on rent obligations. one such landlord who recently purchased a building on market street has refused multiple requests from tenants and my office to negotiate a reasonable rent abaitment despite the global health and economic crisis. these businesss are a delightful mix of neighbourhood retail and are queer, women and black-owned businesss that reflect the best of the neighbourhood. they're exactly the sorts of businesses and business owners that property owners should be doing everything they can to retain, especially in a neighbourhood like the castro which had a retail vacancy rate
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well north of 10% prepandemic. [please stand by] >> we put in place the eviction
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moratorium, which mayor breed has extended many times, allowing small businesses a longer time to pay any back debt owed and small business grants and loans and we waved tens of millions of dollars in city fees. last year, in the middle of the pandemic, senator introduced legislation to end their leases due to pandemic hardship. that didn't make it out of committee. paradoxly and tragically, this issue is going to be more dire as we near the end of the pandemic emergency and the end of the commercial eviction moratorium. today we're going to hear from city departments about legal resources and support services available to small businesses dealing with unreasonable
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landlords. we're going to hear about how great the scale of the problem is from our budget and legislative analysts, based on the report they have done at the request of supervisor ronen. we're going to hear from small businesses themselves about their experience with those landlords. i hope it's a minority of landlords who contrary to their self-interest and in blatant and shameful disregard for the needs of the broader community, refused to negotiate with their small business tenants. many of us on this board, i think everyone on this board, wants to make sure san francisco does everything we can to support our small independent businesses at this difficult time and i'm hoping this hearing can advance that conversation. we're going to hear from our budget and legislative analysts, the office of workforce
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development, and the small business commission, and the committee for civil rights about small business lease negotiations and then we're going to open it up to have an opportunity for the public to express their concerns and small businesses to share their experiences. thank you chair preston. >> thank you supervisor mandelman. i don't see -- >> supervisor ronen. >> oh, thank you. the floor is yours. >> thank you for the team looking out for me. i appreciate it. first of all, i wanted to thank supervisor mandelman for calling this hearing. it's extremely important and timely and now i'm just pulling up my notes from my phone. i never realized how hard it is
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to conduct a meeting on your phone, but these phones are pretty amazing. okay. here we are. a year ago, supervisor haney and i joined with local elected across the country to call on the state and federal officials to cancel both residential and commercial rent and mortgage payments. we had no idea then that the shutdown would last as long as it has. even then, the prospect of neighborhood merchants, unable to make rent payments and facing mounting debt was daunting. we feared we were looking at an irreversible loss of small businesses. we quickly moved to create the help the hardship emergency program and two rounds of that were exhausted. since then, san francisco has rallied to meet the needs of small businesses with an array of targeted grants and loans. my office has been in constant communication with oewd, the
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office of small business and small business commissioners. with the support organizations and of course with merchant corridor associations. specific industry alliances and individual merchants. i expect we will hear from many of them today from district 9 and from all across the city. i am feeling cautiously optimistic that there are brighter times ahead with vaccines and slower spread locally and the passage of the american rescue plan. we have to prepare for an equitable and effective recovery that will get small businesses back open, service and retail workers back to work, reassure san franciscans that neighborhood corridors are still there for them, to shop, gather, eat, and enjoy and attract visitors as we always have to enjoy all that is special and unique about our city. to that end, we have to be smart about our resources and shape programs that deliver to the hardest hit businesses in ways that multiply their impact. i commissioned a report by the
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san francisco budget and legislative analyst at the end of last year to understand the scope of rent debt saddling commercial tenants in san francisco. fred and cody are here to present their reports. sadly, what we are about to hear is that especially for small businesses, we depend on everyday for services and goods, the employers of tens of thousands of low wage san franciscan s, that deep hole is far beyond what the city could back fill. it would be impossible for me to overstate the damage that the previous administration did in the past year. how much simpler it would have been to allow businesses to close temporarily, knowing they and their employees would be supported and their future would be secured once reopening was safe. that is not what happened. the city doesn't have the financial ability to offer that level of support and we had a federal government that basically left small businesses and many of their workers with
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hardly any safety net. the good news is that we have the american rescue plan act, signed into law one week ago. it is a broad ranging package. pertinent to this hearing today, it will bring new pandemic relief for small businesses and add restaurant revitalization and shuttered venues operator grant. we have to best apply our local resources to maximize leverage to state and local partners to ensure commercial landlords and financial institutions, and to other tools that offer direct funding that will keep small businesses in place and neighborhood corridors active and thriving. yesterday in budget committee we passed a beginning of the package to help do that as well. chair preston, i believe we are going to hear first from fred and then cody of the budget and legislative analyst presenting the report i requested and after
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that i will have questions and comments. thank you so much for calling this hearing and for including me in it today. >> thank you supervisor ronen. i know we're all eager to hear from them but first roger, if you have any introductory remarks. >> just thank you chair preston. i want to thank supervisor mandelman and supervisor ronen and you, you know, for your leadership on this issue and i think you all have made the remarks that i don't think i can ask for much more. i do want to say that supervisor mandelman's remarks when he talks about how he was really trying to help and support the small businesses in his district, because they are unique, to the community and i resonate with that. when talking to the communities
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in the small businesses in the richmond, very much the same. frankly the chinese speaking small business owners that really were having a hard time, even understanding their lease, understanding their rights within the parameter of the eviction moratorium. so all of that, i just want to express my thanks to all of you for having the forum and i hope that we will get to listen and hear from some of the small business owners that are either monoling gal or chinese speaking or spanish speaking today. i want to highlight the fact that there is a tremendous need for our immigrants, small business owners, and small business owners that may lack language and cultural access to our city services and funds both
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on a local and state and definitely the federal level. so thank you. >> thank you. i am going to turn it back over to supervisor mandelman. my hope is that as supervisor mandelman introduces the various speakers, that colleagues we can -- unless there is need for a clarification for something, that we can hold questions for each of the presenters until after they complete their presentation. so with that, supervisor mandelman, the floor is yours. >> thank you chair preston. as supervisor ronen indicated, our first presenter will be fred presenting on the report requested by supervisor ronen on unpaid commercial rent in san
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francisco. we asked each of the presenters to try to stick to 10 minutes or less for their presentation. >> thank you chair preston, supervisor mandelman, supervisor ronen, supervisor chen. i will do a 10 minute or less presentation on our report on unpaid commercial rent which we provided for supervisor ronen and it was just released this morning. it has not been distributed to all board members. i will now share a screen. i trust that will happen. is that showing up, the slides? >> we are seeing it. you may want to put it into a presenter mode or full screen. >> there we go, great. so just to start with, a quick
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overview on where the city economy is and has been 2020. this is, i think a pretty dramatic number. our sales were down 48% in the second quarter of 2020 or $2.6 billion versus the same period in 2019. what this graph shows is that retail and food services outlets in particular were hard hit. san francisco, which is represented by the orange line, was worse off than the state, specifically for retail and food services. that is an indication of the importance and significance of those industries in san francisco compared to the state as a whole. 38% of the reduction of taxable sales or $1 billion came from food and drink services businesses. while there were some improvement towards the end of the year, in the third quarter
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of 2020, food places and drinking locations were down 67% compared to the same period in 2019. this slide shows the distribution of these reductions and again you see that there is total outlets for retail and food services at the top and then it breaks it down by the specific industry sectors. so again, food services and drinking places, high on the list. other retail outlets are still effected, but less so than food services and drinking places. that's the area of focus and what we want to particularly talk about in our presentation today and it's detailed more in our report. what we did is come up with an estimate. supervisor ronen's question is how do we quantify this with the magnitude of the problem. so there is no government agency that tracks unpaid or partially paid rent in san or not even a
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private source. we had to rely on data compiled at the national level and information that we could collect here about the size of our industry. so we were able to identify, occupied commercial real estate in san francisco and then break it down by industries. so you see that here. i won't work through all these numbers. the basic formula was identifying square footage of commercial real estate and then average rental rates for these different sectors. going to the national data available about unpaid rent and applying that to our total rental market in san francisco. we did have local information and that is highlighted here. for retail that is a combination of commercial and residential
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uses. so you find a lot of these businesses and spaces in commercial neighborhood areas, where there is a ground floor residential space and then residential -- sorry, ground floor commercial space and residential units above. we were able to get partial payment rates for those businesses that are unique to san francisco. hotels are a different story while they have been a very hard hit industry, it isn't as simple as a number of square footage of space in hotels, times a rental rate. they are usually owned by a company separate from the hotel operator, the hotel operator pays an owner based on occupancy levels and the owner has a mortgage to pay on the properties. so, we couldn't quite prepare a formula in the same way. so that's not available there, but we have data in the report about impact on the hotel
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industry and i think that's no surprise to anybody that it's been very hard hit. on the retail, you see our estimates of retail broken down by what we call single use or office and retail, so that is a stand alone retail outlet, such as a macy's or a costco. then a combination of office and retail. so an office building, but with commercial retail outlets on the ground floor. then, the retail where it's a combination of commercial and residential. so these are the second and third rows in this table. you can see the numbers together they add up to the number on the got stop, 18.5 to $39.8 million per month. the grand total, which includes office and industrial is 19.1 to $45 million. the bulk of it is retail as you
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can see on the bottom two right hand cells on this chart. the office has been somewhat effected, but not mostly. those businesses have not had to shut down. the workers have continued to work, the businesses have continued to earn their revenues. they're just doing it remotely now, which is another step on our retail and food service businesses. this chart shows those numbers rolled up, but for one, three, six, and nine months, it shows the magnitude of the impact over time and as the shutdown has continued up to a year, this is getting to a more realistic assessment of what unpaid or partially paid rent has been over the 2020 period. so it goes up from our one month estimate to nine months of 172
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million, up to 404 million. the range is due to differences in the total square footage for commercial businesses. we have number from the assessor's office, but that had some limitations. we also have numbers from national property management and real estate brokerage companies and they have limitations. we didn't feel either one was 100% accurate and hence the range here. in terms of what has happened to assist these businesses, we broken that information out by federal funding and then local funding -- state and local funding. on the federal side, here is a summary table of paycheck protection program and emergency disaster loan, excuse me, federal programs that have been
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provided. you can see a grand total of $4.2 billion provided in loans. many of them are forgivable under certain conditions. what is interesting, i think about this table, looking at the paycheck protection program, is how concentrated the loans were in professional and business services and what is called other, which is a mixture of businesses. restaurants, retail, hotels, bars, other leisure and hospitality, while they receive loans, it's a smaller share and even though we know the businesses were much harder hit than professional business services, for example, which are many times the occupants of office buildings who again, aren't shut down. they are just not occupying those offices and haven't been during the pandemic. so, there is a problem with the way that the federal,
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particularly the paycheck protection funds were distributed. this has been documented at the national level too, where a lot of small businesses and hard hit retail, restaurants, bars, did not get a proportionate share of these funds. that had to do in part with how the funds were distributed. they went through banks for the most part and they may not have a working relationship with a lot of the small businesses but with the larger businesses, so they may be more inclined to receive loans or work with the bankers to get loans available through these programs. so there has been a problem and gap in our hard hit businesses obtaining those funds. so this next chart shows local funding and what has been made available during the pandemic months, starting with last march.
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this is a combination of programs that are available starting last march, start -- down to the bottom. that amounts to about $20 million. >> that's a reminder to everyone that is the 10 minute clock. just to let you know. >> i'm just quickly say that the amount available has helped, but it's been very small relative to the need, about 9.4% of applicants got funds. there are new funds pending on the mayor's relief grant and loans. we have recommendations. >> let me just jump in for a second and with the indulgence of colleagues. we have been very eagerly awaiting this report and are thrilled to have this data. i don't want you to feel that
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you need to speed talk your way through the slides. so if you need a few more minutes, please take them. >> thank you, i appreciate that. i'm actually at the end here now. i think the main point is we have recommendations and policy options for the board to consider and they are -- i won't go through all of them, but they are focused on the office of economic and workforce development and the office of small business and all resources to address some of these deficiencies that are identified, specifically with the paycheck protection program and the fact that it was harder for small businesses, minority owned and women owned businesses to access those funds. now there is a new wave of funds available. the second round is the paycheck protection program and funds that will be available through the american rescue plan, new state funding, so it's very encouraging that new funds are becoming available and our recommendations are focused on really improving and having resources available from these
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two city agencies that are involved in assisting small businesses to make sure they do everything they can to access the funds and legal services, which are available now to deal with leases and the commercial eviction moratorium requirements. we have talked to some of the service providers in that area. they expect -- they seen an uptick in calls for service and certainly expect more as the eviction moratoriums are coming to an end. so sorry to go over the 10 minutes, but that is a summary. you have the detailed report now in your inboxes, and cody and i are happy to answer any questions when you want to address those. >> thank you. i did have one question. did the report include or do you have information around the
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average looking at business by business. the neighborhood retail, which is carrying a big share of this back rent. >> we don't have the link between businesses and the dollar amount because we were able to get these numbers using square footage of the different industry sectors. there isn't a number that goes with it on how many businesses. we can come up with an average and we would be happy to get that for you. that would be useful. >> thank you, i see supervisor ronen, your hand is up. >> yes, thank you. fred, thank you so much for this report as usual. you do such a thorough and
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impressive job. i had one question beyond what i asked you to research. if you don't have the answer, no problem. i have focused on rent and unpaid rent. i'm wondering if it's in your research you came across any data around unpaid mortgages of businesses that own their building? as we're talking to more businesses, there are certain streets like 24th street, where there is actually a lot of building ownership by business owners. i'm wondering if you came across any unpaid mortgage, you know, debt. >> right, well supervisor ronen, we did at the national level. i think there is no reason we would assume it's not applicable to san francisco. i'm trying to quickly grab a number for you.
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what we saw is there was quite a bit of delinquency early on in the pandemic. it has improved, but we're still seeing in place, and it's particularly -- i'm going to try to grab a number here. particularly for the hotel sector and retail, the delinquency rate was higher than for businesses overall. if you give me a minute, i can probably pull a number. cody, if you are on the line and have that, it would be excellent. if not, we will get back to you on that. >> sure, at the national level, again, we weren't able to get local level. across all sectors, it was around 10% mortgages were behind on payment in june of 2020. that did go down to 8%. the range across sectors was significant, so for retail, that
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delinquency rate was as high as 18% in june of last year. it came down to 13% by december. then for hotels, it was 24% in june of 2020. it came down to about 20% as of december 2020. so it's a very significant increase on obviously the pre-pandemic period. >> thank you, that was helpful. appreciate it. >> all right. other questions for them at this time? supervisor mandelman, back to you. >> all right. then we will go to oewd, office of economic and workforce development. i believe we have diana and
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denise that will present on the commercial eviction moratorium, existing support services for shawl -- small businesses that are in lease negotiations with their landlord and data on vacancies and business closures. >> hi, bryan can you pull up the slides for us? hi chair preston and supervisor mandelman and supervisor ronen. thank you so much for calling this hearing. i think it is very timely as has been mentioned. the magnitude of this issue that we are confronted with is impacting cities across the nation, not just us. now that the american recovery rescue plan has been signed, it will give us a sense of the help that is coming to our cities. it's going to be as supervisor ronen mentioned, it's going to be really key and crucial that we follow that and that we
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ensure that those resources get to our businesses here in san francisco and how they get to our businesses is going to be very important that we collaborate across the board with our partners and how it's coming to us locally. in addition, our resources must reach those who are in need. the diverse community that lack the language capacity or have barriers and challenges to reaching those resources. so, today what we will share with you, we don't have all the answers. we agree with the recommendations and look forward to studying the report more closely so we can be together with our partners and you as a board and look towards solutions and how we best can invest our city dollars so we can make the impact we want here for our small businesses in the city.
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today we will start off reviewing our commercial eviction moratorium. switch switch [please stand by]
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... businesses that are unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to covid.
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the ordinance provides that a business is a covered commercial tenant and if it misses a rent payment that originally came due, due to the moratorium, again, because of financial impacts, then we cannot attempt to recover possession of the unit because of the missed payment until the applicable forbearance period. the tenants has combined gross receipts of -- for taxes 2019, equal to or below $25 million. i wanted to highlight key items in the ordinance that are important for the members of the public to understand. it aligns the moratorium with
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governor newsome. prior the moratorium was set to expire in a couple of weeks. march 31st. but because of executive order issued by the governor march 4 extending the authorization to allow cities to regulate commercial evictions to june 31st, our moratorium was automatically extended as well. the ordinance provides a repayment period or what is termed as a forbearance period after the moratorium expires. so currently after june 31st. that gives businesses time to repay the rent. the repayment period for the independent business will depend on the size. but the smaller businesses have up to two years to repay any back rent. for the smallest businesses, there is an additional protection that if they cannot reach an agreement with the
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landlord, they have the option to terminate its lease prior to the end of the moratorium period. and they would not owe any future rent after the lease termination date. the landlord still has some ability to effectuate an eviction if they can demonstrate either that the eviction is not based on the business's unpaid rent, or other financial obligations. or if the small landlord -- or if a small landlord can demonstrate an inability to evict would create a significant financial hardship for them. the ordinance does not apply to for-profit-based businesses or businesses leasing property from the city and county of san francisco. as i mentioned earlier, the office of economic and workforce
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development has provided guidance and technical assistance. we've done this all in collaboration with the office of small business. since march 2020, our office and the office of small business has worked closely to ensure that we can assist businesses and landlords in understanding what the commercial eviction moratorium is all about. we have provided assistance to businesses, property owners, brokers, attorneys and our non-profit partners in a few different ways. one is any party needs clarification on how the ordinance might apply to them, we will guide them through the ordinance to show them whether or not it addresses their specific issues or situation. if a party needs further legal assistance, we will provide referrals to our legal non-profit service providers. we'll connect the business to other resources made available
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by our office, as well as other city services the business may need. it's important to also inform businesses and landlords about the ordinance itself because it's such an important tool to help struggling businesses. in addition to providing information, the limits on the website, we've begun to do more outreach through webinars and posting in our news letters and we're going to continue to ramp that up as the moratorium period has been extended and as businesses may begin to -- our goal is to reach every business in the community and we want to ensure that all the businesses and landlords are aware of the protections, as well as all the other resources we have available. one last point i want to mention. ordinance does provide that the office of economic and workforce development has authority to
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clarify any portion of the ordinance. when questions may arise, whether the ordinance is silent on a matter, my office works with the city attorney office to address those areas. to date we've provided clarification to four areas in the ordinance and published guidance on our website. we'll provide more information on the office resources and services. >> thank you. and now i'll go over the existing services as of now and where we're going to be adding services. so, you will see here that the partnership we have with our organizations, there is a few key organizations that provide direct assistance and review. obviously, the lawyers committee for civil rights which i'm glad will be presenting today, so you'll hear more about the work and what they've been seeing on the ground.
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working solutions. a new partnership with the bar association. and then we also have neighborhood-based grants that support some of our opportunity neighborhoods, very specific in the language capacity and in these negotiations. one is in the tenderloin and second one in the mission, which we'll be launching soon. these will provide support, and referrals if assistance is needed. the extent of our service is not legal representation. it's more legal advice and guidance. there are cbo, but we'll refer and do intake for businesses that need that support and guide them to where they can get it. annually, those requests are a
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little over 400 requests that come in annually. now, again -- >> that's the 10-minute clock. >> apologize. so we went over. i'm not sure if the time can be extended or if i should just end here? >> you can go ahead and finish up your presentation. >> i think it would be good to get an estimate of how much longer you think it's going to be? >> if i can get two or three minutes, i will go through these and you have questions, we can come back. so quickly, yes, we work with these organizations, the direct legal service. what we're currently seeing from l.s.c. at this point in time what they covered in terms of last year's services, this year they've already hit the mark. so easily doubling the amount of requests that they're able to meet with their services.
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again, as i mentioned, the bar association is a new partnership we're developing. we're going to be adding that level of service. and so again, as you all may have heard already, you know, we've been mentioning that we have been investing in grants and loans. the ranges in terms of the grants have been from 20 thousand and loans up to 50,000 and these may be used to contribute toward rent. next is related to the vacancy rates we're seeing in the city. and so, this particular -- we can come back during the question-and-answer period. this shows you that across the different sectors, this is the average vacancy rate across these sectors. this is taken from coast star surveys, so it's self-reported
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information, so this may not reflect the actual vacancy rate. it may be lower. we also -- we track 24 neighborhoods and have been doing so for commercial corridors specifically since 2013. and so we have seen an uptick average across all of the corridors of 3.5% in vacancy from 2018. and we have seen the largest vacancy rate. so here on the right hand graph, it will show the change between 2018 to 2020. and so we are seeing the level in some neighborhoods that those levels are much higher. and these are the top three where you see the higher change in terms of uptick in the vacancy rate. so on business closures, what i
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want to mention, this is based on the information from -- business closures and openings include business transfers, so it's not necessarily that a store front shutters and then -- [indiscernible] -- it might just change ownership, so those transactions are captured here in addition to entrepreneurs with open business licenses. so this is tied to business license, but where you see the delta here in terms of the difference between opening and closures, that's where you may get a sense for how we are in comparison to other years in terms of the closures for this year. next slide, please. and so on this slide, what it is showing is really overall it shows that there is more stability in businesses that are older and have been operating for more than 15 years in
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comparison to other businesses and closures. and with that, i'm going to end my presentation. and, again, we're happy to come back more in detail to any of the graphs or data. thank you. >> thank you. >> supervisor mandelman: yeah, i want to thank you for that presentation. it does seem like the vacancy -- the vacancy estimates don't seem right. at least in terms of what we're seeing and what we think we're seeing in terms of closed store fronts. does that information tend to lag? i mean it looks like another year of not that bad honestly. and i don't think that's -- >> no, so we're showing the increase, not necessarily the rate here in the graph. that's what you might be
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reacting to. so what we're seeing, again in this particular graph are some of the vacancy rates right now are as high as 20-something percent. but this particular chart doesn't show the actual vacancy rate as we have seen it in december. what it is showing is the change. so the comparison to 2018. >> supervisor mandelman: and the highest is 9% on union street? >> right. from 2018. >> supervisor mandelman: i persistently feel like we undercount -- at least my experience in the castro, i feel like we undercount in reasons that i don't quite understand actual vacancies. and this doesn't -- this vacancy information doesn't seem
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honestly that alarm -- i mean, it's not great, but it doesn't seem as concerning as a lot of what seems to be happening out on the streets. i'm wondering if you might talk to why there would be that disconnect? >> i'll explain it and invite my colleague to share detail on how we collect the data. this is on the ground, so it is based on the number of total store fronts within a particular corridor. so there is a segment of geography within the corridors. it's not like entire neighborhood boundaries. it's 24 corridors that we focused on since 2013 to give us a sense of comparison across the city. and how it -- survey, someone goes out there and checks. you may see a closed store
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front, but the business is still in operation. or it may be there is construction happening. right now, many more store fronts are probably closed because they're not allowed to open. >> supervisor mandelman: how do you know the businesses stopped operating? what is the -- >> there are a few cross-checks that are done there. we use data from the web, like any indication. we get interviews. or if we see they're actually closed, on file that they closed their business, then we count it as closed. >> supervisor mandelman: so this is, i would assume, to show up as a closed business, there is a few different thresholds, including it looks closed, shows up as closed. i'm going to say, this is an underrepresentation of the vacancies. >> but it's also a perception
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right, because there may be more closures when you see it, but the business is not actually closed yet. it may be reopening. i want to make a point that as of december, the last count, as businesses reopen, there is fluctuatingses that may be impacted. i would say that's a point in time over the year. so, we'll be checking to see how that rate changes. but at this moment in time, brian, i want to invite you in case there is any other detailed information you'd like to share, other than what i've already said. i see supervisor ronen has her hand up. >> supervisor mandelman: i have one more question. >> good morning. this is brian. o.e.w.d. i'm glad to share on the screen here -- let's see -- the actual -- we will send this to you
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offline, but the actual quarter vacancy numbers here. -- corridor vacancy numbers here. i'll pull out looking at the castro. it has a 6.6% change in vacancies from 2018 and 2020. that means it's gone from 11.4% to 18%. so a lot of these increases seem a little -- may seem minor and the numbers look low at first, but the reality is some of these -- where we had kind of -- >> supervisor mandelman: i -- it's gone up 6.6%, but that's actually like maybe a 50% increase in vacancies?
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>> correct. >> supervisor mandelman: well that helps me understand why that looks so off. my last question, i'm glad for the work that gets done with these businesses that need help reviewing leases and in negotiations with landlords. do you believe you're meeting demand or do you have a way of measuring the difference between demand and what you're able to do? >> so currently the way we measure demand is based on the amount of businesses we're able to get to per our partners and what we're seeing out there. but what we anticipate right now demand is higher than what we're able to read at this time, so that's why we're scaling up our services and plan to do so. >> supervisor mandelman: that's not a measure of demand, that's
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a measure of what we're able to provide. >> no. we don't have a specific measure of the demand, but the referral is how much we can provide. so the referrals are coming in and we're seeing the numbers and so that's where we see the demand. but not everybody, right, knows where to go. but right now, i shared some of the referrals are in the amount of 400 or so a year. we'll be tracking if that includes change. that includes 13 or more organizations that we work with. so the request that comes into our partners is how we're able to track that demand. that doesn't mean that is the only demand that exists, but that's the only way to track it is through our partners and what is coming in, as well as oewd.
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>> supervisor mandelman: when they have a request for help, do they have someone to connect the requesting business with? >> yes. so you won't -- he'll go into the detail of that next. >> thank you. >> supervisor mandelman, supervisor ronen is on the roster. i wanted to make sure she had an opportunity to ask questions of oewd. >> supervisor ronen: just a couple of questions. i'm wondering if oewd has been working with communities on a shop-local campaign. when i talked to some of the merchants on mission street, they say that so much -- so many of their customers were tourists. and not having tourists in the mission has just devastated them. and if there was a way of sort
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of creating a community sort of responsibility instead of buying that on amazon, shop locally, that's the best way to stimulate the local economy. is there any sort of city-wide marketing or campaign that is encouraging residents to shop local? >> we do have several that in traditional times we've used. with closures, it's sort of trying to find that balance, right, of pushing, you know, making sure people adhere to the orders and things like that. but we have shop-local. shop and dine. we have other ones that are picking up now that we are reopening. specifically for mission street and our opportunity neighborhoods definitely have those local marketing campaigns. we're also starting to push more digital, right, online, to make
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businesses more visible. and help support that capacity. so, yes, we are moving toward that. especially now. we're going to be picking that up as we move toward reopening. what we were focussing in the beginning was relief. so we've been really focused on the relief, the grants, the loans. and now we'll be, once again, transitioning back to that marketing and bringing our shoppers back. but, yes, some of the areas most impacted are those dependent on tourism and other areas that just attract people from the outside. >> supervisor ronen: i do think as for opening up again, that having some city coordinated advertising campaign reminding us all you know what a difference it makes when we
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support our local merchants as opposed to shop online. i think it will resonate right now as we're all trying to support each other to come out of this moment. if that's not on the list and there is something i can do to help support that, please let me know. i think now is the right time to get us in that framework as much as possible. and then, supervisor mandelman talked about the vacancies. i'm wondering, is it time to bring back the vacancy tax? i understand that we -- in the beginning of the pandemic because, you know, everything was in such flux. it's not as if new businesses were going to open. it made sense. but i'm wondering now if the --
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reestablishing the vacancy tax would help landlords deal reasonable with businesses as they're trying to survive during this hard time. do you have any thoughts about that? >> we're going to have to explore. also, it's hard to tell right now. we're really going to be watching closely where the referrals come in and how that helps to alleviate -- like you mentioned the restaurant and the food industry support, that's going to make, we're hoping, a pretty huge impact. as we watch that -- but definitely also policies and regulations. how do we make it easier for the businesses to fill the vacancies on that end? it's going to have to be like a variety of thing we have been trying and new things that we haven't thought of yet. as i mentioned, we look forward to working with you all as we
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assess and go back to our partners too. now that reopening is happening, what is that looking like for businesses? are they able to once again get back in the way they've been seeing with all the interventions that we have? what is that looking like? i feel like now we'll get a better sense of that. again, as we go into reopening, as the relief is coming down. we're looking forward to working on that very closely. and that's why i think this hearing right now is timely, because it's where we are right now. and it's not a very -- in terms of we don't have all the answers yet, but we need to get ahead of that and start working toward that. so thank you. >> thank you, supervisor ronen. >> supervisor chan: thank you, chair preston. i find this -- i guess it's both
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comments and question, but i find this presentation somewhat -- it's interesting and it kind of helps me think about just the legislation that i'm working on -- that we're working on. that specifically about the last couple of slides really is about closure of small business for more than 15 years. and the goal really that i have been thinking about is to ensure that the small businesses are around, can continue to stay around. like they're not closed yet. but they're teetering closure, because of the pandemic. and the thought that i had really about small business about functioning for more than 15 years is because they've been through the last recession of 2008. they're still thriving -- bless you, supervisor mandelman -- and
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you know, just kind of making sure that they can continue and get through the pandemic. so i do see in the slide that talks about the fact that really the businesses of 15 and more years are resilient. that they only -- or maybe not just only -- made up 13% -- 13.3% of the closure. i guess my question, too. one, i do see the point is, hey, in 2018, our treasury office removed 30,000 delinquent registrations. is it possible to explain to me like what -- like what would be considered delinquent? that's quite a bit. 30,000 businesses.
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so that kind of makes me pause an question, what are those businesses? or maybe the reason why they were delinquent. >> yeah. i'll have brian answer that question because he's the one that looks at that data and can provide more comprehensive answer to that. brian, are you able to answer that? if not, i can take a stab at it. i think he lost service. so what was explained to me is there were many businesses that hadn't necessarily -- they closed and hadn't been in business for a very long time. and they just hadn't gone through and admitted their
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formal paperwork. so it was a cleanup in the data. so they went through and confirmed all of those. so they haven't done that before. so it was a cleanup of the data. and so that's my understanding there. that's why you see that huge difference. it's not necessarily that they call closed during that year. but that's the year where t.t.x. did the cleanup of the data and went back and closed accounts that haven't been active for a very long time. >> supervisor chan: right. but that means that what we have now is up to date. so that was just like a cleaning out of the backlog. but the data that you present today is really up to date, right? >> i see -- >> so, exactly, i was about to say amanda is on. she can speak to this. >> hi, supervisors. amanda from the treasurer's
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office. so the data that you see, diana was correct about that one year catchup, cleanup effort. the closure data you are seeing currently is not up to date. the reason for that, we get the bulk of closures in our system when we have businesses renew their business registration every year. typically that happens by may 31st. and so in our data, you'll historically see a big uptick of closures in may an june when we hound businesses and they say, no, we're closed. and because the city has deferred basically all of our business taxes during the pandemic, we have not seen that uptick. the next deadline for businesses to renew is april 30th. so we do anticipate we'll see more closures as the notices have gone out this week. we know this is not an accurate
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representation of how many businesses are operating. we expect quite a few closures between now and the end of may. >> supervisor chan: that's super helpful to kind of get us sort of in the context of what we're looking at in terms of closure. that it may be actually a more dire situation given the fact that we're just in 2021 and maybe some of the businesses are teetering and trying to make the decision right at this minute, right at this juncture of what they've just been through in 2020. that's super helpful. that means i may circle back early may or sometime in may to kind of hopefully get a better understanding -- sort of the same breakdown you're presenting now and see what that would look like. for me, definitely, i'm particularly interested in
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businesses that have been around for 15 years or more. you know, to see that data in may, what that means for those businesses. and my second question is -- i don't expect you to answer, because maybe the volume of it -- but just try to understand the breakdown again in slide 9 of that presentation. you know, when we look at the san francisco register of businesses by age, that's great looking in the breakdown. just trying to understand for that 28% -- or even 5-15% -- for 28% for the businesses that have been around for more than 15 years and those 5-10 years and the 37% category, do we know what type of business are they -- you know, i think it's just thinking about the budget
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analyst report talking about the industries that really are suffering right now. and without the support of the federal loan i'm trying to, again, understand -- does it sync in terms of closure with what the budget analyst is seeing? >> so i think what we have here, we can get it by industry, but we don't have that today. but we can definitely, i believe that can be broken out by industry in terms of the years and associated. that's something we can come back to. >> correct. i will just add to look at slide 10 with a little more insight. if you look at the little grey bars at the bottom. the orange bars are businesses that are closing in any given --
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any of the given years that have been around for more than 15 years. and they've been generally within a band of 11-13% of all closures. going back to 2015. currently, that stands at about 13.3%. and for the reason that amanda stated, these are super preliminary numbers, but it is kind of heartening that the trend remains the same in terms of the share of these businesses. so that kind of lets us know that perhaps it's capturing something and we will definitely keep track of it. and then we'll be able to produce follow-up and show you, not only which businesses remain open that have been around for 15 or more years by industry, but we can also show you who
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closed by that measure. >> supervisor chan: i want to add two things in reference to the questions. >> yesterday, as we proposed the 20 million appropriation of property tax revenue, these businesses were prioritized. so businesses that are considered community anchors, 50 years or more, for our funding, they were prioritized in the grants. i wanted to make mention of that. also in terms of an update on the campaign. there is going to be -- we launched in november and it's recovery. so the campaign is -- we will recover together and shop local. more to come on that. we'll be definitely more focused on redirecting everybody back to shop locally as we reopen. so thank you for that.
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>> thank you. supervisor chan, are you finished with your questions? >> i am, thank you, chair. >> supervisor preston: i have questions, but before i get to them, that last slide, can you put the last slide up that shows the closures. let me just say this and this is a comment not a question. to see this kind of graph and then hear from the treasurer's office around the reasons that the 2020 and 2021 figures are likely off. i think it does a disservice -- and i'm not singling out oewd. if you listened to me talk to the police chief about how data is presented and other departments, i think you'll see a consistency. these kind of graphs tell a
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story. when you present a graph like this showing business closures plummeting in 2021, when we all know that is inaccurate and when you're actually telling us that is inaccurate, it is okay to say you don't know something. it is okay for that bar for 2020 and 2021 to say, we don't know. we are studying that. but i don't like anyone looking at this chart who would think that business closures have dropped to like a third of what they were before the pandemic. which is -- it's laughable to all of us, right? so i appreciate the transparency in the comments and recognizing the limits, but either let's get better data and projections or let's have a chart that shows we don't know the information. no need for comments, but i wanted to put that out there. i did have specific questions,
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though, regarding the presentation and what oewd is doing or is not doing. so, first of all, on the 400 referrals through partner organizations that you referenced, what is the data coming out of that with respect to rent reductions and waivers? how many of the 400 had their rent reduced or waived, how much rent was waived? what data do you have? >> we don't -- so those are just referrals, so that's what grantee's report. they report referrals not the latter. >> supervisor preston: so these are referrals from community organizations to oewd or to other resources? >> to other resources such as the one providing the lease review.
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for example, we have 13 providers, a business comes to them for help and support. they document if it's like for lease review or lease support. so that's what you're seeing here. >> supervisor preston: okay. i'm just go to submit we need that data to analyze how effective the system is. so presumably each of those partner organizations is tracking some kind of data. i don't know. but we don't know if the referrals are working or not. we don't know if the 400 businesses that were sent to get assistance elsewhere, none of them got their rent waived or reduced or all 400 did. so that's concerning in terms of evaluating the outcome of these programs. >> and it doesn't correlate necessarily -- i just want to clarify. it could be any number of
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things. it could be reviewing the existing lease. it could be negotiating a lease. so it doesn't correlate specifically to rent reduction. so i just want to be transparent about that, too. in reference to your question. >> supervisor preston: thank you. so the 400 referrals are not specifically to address back rent? >> no. >> supervisor preston: do we know how many businesses have been assisted through these programs? you mentioned 400 referrals. but how many have been specifically assisted through referral to address back-rent issues? >> we don't have that. we can follow up with partners to get more specific information on that for you. >> supervisor preston: okay. and i mean i'll ask a few more questions. i want to be clear at my frustration level -- both my appreciation for all oewd's work
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in supporting businesses, but also the frustration that -- i literally have been raising the issue of back rent for eight months with oewd. so the fact that we don't even know -- this is one of the primary ways that supposedly we're assisting small businesses and we don't even know how many we're assisting with back rent issues or how much that is. that's a problem and needs to change going forward. a couple of other questions on this. one of the other ways that referenced the ways we were assisting was that we were starting to do webinars on the eviction moratorium. so, when did oewd do its first webinar for small businesses around the eviction moratorium
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and their rights and obligations under this ordinance? >> so i don't know -- i don't know if anyone knows specifically that. i do know very early on -- so, again, it's what we do, but also what we do in collaboration with our partners and supporting those two. i do want to say really early on there was collaboration in terms of what is going to happen when i close and very early on, like, remember the first, maybe second month of the closures, we did do some webinars with committee for civil relates and with the non-profits and meta and others. we have been doing them in collaboration, but i don't know if you know when we hosted one
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specifically. we did the bar and others. do you have any more specific? i know we've been doing them throughout? >> sure. thank you, chair preston. specific to only commercial eviction moratoriums, the first one that i hosted was just even yesterday, but our first webinars related to covid, we -- we provided webinars that were not just specific to commercial eviction, but also the help order because a lot of times businesses didn't have singular questions on the moratorium. it was moratorium plus. can my business operate, or can i operate based on what the health order is saying. the first webinar -- the first one i did was march 19, 2020 and it was a combination of some moratorium questions and some
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health order questions. >> supervisor preston: thank you. i think the answer to my question is yesterday. that the first webinar done by oewd on -- specifically on the issue of either the eviction moratorium or to the extent implicated back rents, that was yesterday. there may have been other stuff folded into other presentations. and you know, i want to say that i appreciate that this was done yesterday. it's been a long time and this is the big -- you know, among big issues facing small businesses, this is massive. so i'm not going to ask you on the spot to count up the number of hours that oewd has spent administering say $5,000 grant program, but if you put that on one side of the scale and put on the other, the number of hours
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in which there was any webinar or anything else on this issue of eviction and rent debt, the fact that yesterday was the first one, i think, again, i don't want to criticize when it's happening, because kudos to you for doing it yesterday, but we're pretty far along to be just starting that. you know, let me ask. what is oewd's position with respect to back rent? is there one? when you engage, for example, a commercial landlord, that contacted oewd, you said you provide guidance, clarity around the terms. what is oewd's message for that commercial landlord if there is one? >> so, i think i'll let you
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answer a piece of it, but what i will say, again, in the office for us we work with the partners that help to negotiate, that have that level of expertise to help provide that. us directly, we refer out to those services and contract out those services, because we at oewd are not the experts. i'll let him answer in terms of the moratorium itself and what guidance he provides directly related to that. but what i will say, is that for us, we contract out those services that have that expertise when it comes to guiding businesses in terms of what they should be negotiating and how they should negotiate. and those are the services we contract out and support with in collaboration with our partners. >> supervisor preston: i'm trying to get a sense more
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clearly of what oewd, if anything, communicates to commercial landlords? i'm not suggesting an answer. i'm trying to be clear. is the message from oewd to commercial landlords that reach out, we urge you to waive rent so that your businesses can survive. or is it we are agnostic on whether you raise rent, that's not our role, that's someone else's role on what you should do. i just want to some clarity. i understand there are advocates, someone might have an attorney. but i think it's important we get clear on who is taking what position here? what is -- again, what is the message from oewd to the commercial landlord when this issue comes up on back rent? is it telling them, you should waive it? or is it telling them we're not taking position on that. >> sure.
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i think i can answer a couple of those. you know, i've engaged with only a handful of landlords. but a lot of it is advocating for working with the business to either give them more time to repay rent, or you know, there might be conversations, depending on the business's specific issue, we'll work with the business to do a rent reduction, or really appreciate they're not going to get the same revenue that is coming in prior to the pandemic. if you're a business that such as like a hair salon, that was unable to operate in the castro for months, they're not going to get the level of revenue that is going to cover the entire rent that they were previously owed. so it wouldn't make sense for the landlord to expect that. i think our goal really and in line with what the ordinance is,
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is that you really want to work with the business. the business is what is giving you that revenue. and you can't just say, well, i expect 100% tomorrow or 100% further down the road. it's going to take time for that business to get even close enough to the revenue they're generating -- they were generating before. but it's case-by-case depending on what the situation is that business faces. we want to -- our message is work together. this is such a hard time for the business. and if that means rent reduction, if that means providing additional time. and a lot of it was prior -- allow for a repayment period. the previous moratorium didn't have that. so, yeah. >> supervisor preston: i don't want to belabor this point, but i think in any discussion or
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negotiation, it's really important that everyone is clear what their roles are. and, frankly, i'm guessing at your answer. i don't want to put words in your mouth. but i don't understand if oewd comes into a discussion between the commercial landlord and tenant as an advocate for the small business, or as effectively a mediator? what you're describing to me sounds more like a mediator role and mediator is indifferent to the result, but is there to have the parties work together. so i'm just trying to get clarity. again, i'm not even suggesting what it should be, but we need to know what the role of everyone is. so is oewd's role as a disinterested mediator or as an advocate for the small businesses to get rent reduced or waived? or is there another option i'm missing?
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>> so our role serves as a mediator -- so this is where i see an area of opportunity. i see an area of opportunity in terms of what he was mentioning between the rents are -- you're not going to be able to sustain the rents that were pre-covid. the landscape is changing, so what information, what data can we be providing as a city to help inform those discussions? and that negotiation between landlord and small business. something that is more plausible, realistic. our goal is to maintain our small businesses. and our -- in our corridors to continue serving our neighborhoods. it's either advocating for a business and intervene for them,
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with them. which is what we do with our partners. provide information about the data and information we can make available so that hopefully it pushes towards a better outcome for both. and so, that is where we are. we mediate, we do provide clarity on what the policies are, the legal issues are as it relates to the city. or where we can't, we provide the advocacy with our resources, with our partners, we do that for the business. where we can't step in between two private parties, right? but we do have a role in providing education. that's an area of opportunity we need to be moving into more and be able to advise on that to, again, get us -- at the end of the day again, we want to make
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sure our businesses stay in our corridors. they're a key part of the economic recovery and how do we do that? these are the different ways. provide them a direct resource. provide access to that and figure out what that is. increase. intervene directly as mediator. and, again, that educational portion is key. but i do see an area of opportunity there we need to expand upon. i think that is part of your point, supervisor. i don't want to put words in your mouth, but definitely. >> supervisor preston: thank you. there is a disconnect on the people who go to oewd and the actual role. folks go to oewd thinking they'll find in oewd an advocate for their position and, instead, get at best more of a mediator role. i know we're going to hear from
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people who are more the advocates in subsequent presentations. but i think it's important to be clear organizationally, you look at an organization -- or a department or agency like the rent board. they're clear. they're not an advocate for tenants. they're not an advocate for landlords. they can answer the question in two words if you ask them. you know. i just feel like some reflection -- what i'm hearing is that you take a similar position, but i think clarifying that is important in terms of how you fit in here. let me just try to wrap up with another question here. or two. the fund, you referenced -- i think you said $24 million in grants and loans overseen by
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oewd. did i hear you right, for those, there is no restriction on those being used for rent? i think you were connecting them to the rent discussion saying those funds could be used for rent, is that correct? >> yes, that's accurate. >> supervisor preston: okay. and -- i just want to surface a concern here. which is that we're devoting, as we should, significant resources as a city. the federal government now as well -- to providing assistance to small businesses. yet we are effectively handcuffed by state law around directly intervening to lower rents and force rent waivers.
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so, effectively, we have a system where the things you're managing, the grants you're managing, the care you're devoting to getting those things out the door is essentially and indirectly just passing all of this money to commercial landlords. i don't know if we track -- maybe i should ask you. do we track how the funds are used? those $24 million? and what percentage of that is used by these businesses to probably pay one tiny piece of the rent debt that is hanging over them? do we track the usage of the funds? >> we don't track the usage of the funds with the exception of reopening, which -- let me correct that. those funds are specifically for reimbursable expenses for
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reopening. but other than that, we do not track it. we want businesses to be able to use it in whatever way they see fit to help support their business at this time. so it can be rent, it's just we're not restricting the use at this time. so it could help them come to a resolution. even though it may not be a big chunk, it may mitigate that, but we do not track that. >> supervisor preston: thank you. i will just finally comment that -- we need the tools locally. and i will speak for myself but i know it's probably true for others who have consulted with our city attorney, wracking our brain, how do we go in and lower that rent debt legislatively? mostly you come up against a state law.
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i don't know if our state partners is watching, but it is absurd, absurd that the state and federal governments have not in any way intervened to allow us the tools to even have that policy discussion, and instead, the solution is only policy solutions that give money to businesses who then have to pay it to a landlord. commercial landlord. and the only folks who remain whole through all this legally are commercial landlords. that is a crazy system. it is not the fault of oewd, so it is a bigger issue. but i just wanted to comment on that, especially because of your comment around the grant, that the funds being used are for rent relief. and we understand why a business would choose to use those funds for rent relief, but we need to be real when we're making the grants that we're indirectly funding commercial landlords because of being blocked from
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the policies that i think we would like to implement locally so intervene and lower that rent debt. with that back to you supervisor mandelman. >> supervisor mandelman: thank you, chair. i share your frustration. and feeling that sacramento, they're not giving us the tools we need to do for san franciscans or doing the work for all californians. i don't believe -- i believe our delegation is trying to do some of these things. i think there is tremendous, frankly, domination of our state legislature by property-owning interests and real estate interests that are not interested in having these -- in either allowing us to protect our small businesses or allowing the legislature to do what the
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legislature should be doing. with that, we will move on. the office of small business. and the small business commission. we have regina, our small business director. and our small business commission president and they're going to present on what the small business commission and office of small business are hearing from small businesses. how the legacy business program has helped businesses during the pandemic. and survey they've collected from businesses on their leases and i will also note that oewd has left it to office of small business to let us know whether we are meeting the demand for technical assistance and legal resources for small businesses
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dealing with lease negotiations and rent renegotiations. should we have director and president? >> yes. thank you. i do have a presentation and... all right. well, good afternoon, now, chair preston and supervisor chan and mandelman. thank you, supervisor mandel pan am games -- mandelman for calling the hearing. it is a good time for us to be -- we know this has been a looming issue and a looming debt. but this is a good time for us to be collectively looking at this.
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and what we can be doing working together moving forward. i'm going to report on -- first start off with the office of small business. when the shelter-in-place order was called, then former director torres and i met to figure out how we should deal with responding to our small businesses as they were told to shut down. my office, as you know, our primary function is to be working with businesses, advising them on their licensing and permitting requirements, what they need to know about opening a business in san francisco. and then what other resources are there to help them start their business. and also retail out the programs that the city departments have for small businesses.
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so, i do want to say, i do think while nothing has been absolutely perfect in this process, because this is not anything that we would have been able to anticipate, with oewd, we did just our coordination was centered on oewd would be panging the information -- managing the information source, the website and would gather all the information that businesses need to know. so, as the reopening guidance information happened, not only directing businesses to the d.p.h. page, but also providing information on oewd, the loan programs and any small business registration deferrals. that information was on the oewd page. and then also on the oewd page the contact for businesses to
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contact for assistance was the o.s.b. e-mail and hot line. so we worked to make our delivery of services as seamless as possible. and worked in support of each other. since the shutdown in march 2020 -- actually, i do want to say one other thing. because my staff is used to responding to businesses wherever they are and having a conversation with them is the reason why our office is the front line responders to our small businesses. so since march of 2020 through february, we've serviced 6,475 businesses. and that's a 44% increase over what the previous time period
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is. in our tracking, we developed 10 covid tags used to track the business needs in terms of when they're calling, the conversations we have, the assistance and guidance they were looking for. so we do have one covid tag that we have labeled real estate guidance. and we serviced 361 requests for assistance with this. i do have to say i don't have the specific number that we're -- though i could go back and obtain this information for you if you need it, in term of commercial eviction moratorium, but the assistance -- the real estate guidance assistance that we requested was the need for assistance in the negotiating reduced rent.
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exiting a lease. commercial eviction moratorium and negotiating renewals of a lease during this time. so, the majority of these we will end up -- and i would say the likelihood is 85% of the that 365 -- we will be doing referrals to legal services for entrepreneurs. that is the primary service provider. we do let businesses know about the lawyer referral service with the bar, if for any reason working with legal services doesn't work out. so -- and if there are businesses that are in an urgent situation, we do have a relationship with legal services where we are able to do a direct referral, pick up the phone,
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send an e-mail and let them know that there is a particular business that we want to bring to their attention. 63% of the inquiries were in the first five months. again, concerns about not being able to pay rent and/or wanting to get information if they needed to exit their lease. and then i did want to make a note that in february, 2021, we began to see a slight increase in inquiries around the commercial eviction moratorium due to the pending expiration date. this is before governor newsome extended out the commercial
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eviction moratorium to june 30, 2021. and i thought i would provide for you -- we track as best we can, obtain the information, our inquiries by supervisor district, so i do have a graph here that you can see that the calls and e-mails that came in requesting real estate guidance by supervisoral district and then we also track by language service. for the business legacy program, one of the key programs is the rent stabilization grant. we see this as a priority grant for this -- the legacy business program. it is an incentive for landlords to provide long-term leases to legacy businesses up to 10
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years. they have to have a 10-year -- they have to -- lease terms have to be up to 10 years to be eligible for the grant. i want to stipulate that the rent stabilization grant we cannot mandate and we do not mandate that the landlord offset the rent. that is something that does get negotiated between the property owner and the landlord. the landlords are the ones that apply for the grants. and they need to reapply each year. the grant pays 450 per square foot up to 5,000 square feet maximum. the highest grant amount awarded is 5,000 at 22, $500.
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this grant began in february of 2017. we do account for c.p.i. adjustment. currently out of the 227 legacy businesses, we have 42 rent stabilization grants for 36 businesses. there are some businesses that have more than one store front. so this has secured 121 months of leases, average 10 years per lease. we did see a decrease in the number of applications during the pandemic year. we usually average about 12, but during the pandemic year we had four applications. to give you an idea as to the
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financial -- what we're paying out as a city for the grants. with the 42 leases, the first-year amount -- and this is total for first year -- $640,000. so that's the full obligations. and then an additional, we paid out an additional $1,138,000 for second and third and fourth year payment. [bell ringing] >> that's the end of the clock, director. >> i have just a few more slides and then i can go fast. >> how much longer do you think you need? >> three minutes. >> okay. >> roughly, i do want to just note that half of the legacy businesses have reported. those that were not receiving
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the grant as an offset to their rent, those business -- the landlords have used that grant to offset lost or nonpaid rent. the small business -- in terms of the small business commission, i'm just going to rush through this. there were recommendations they've made to the mayor for more federal relief. and the economic recovery task force. clearly there was support for expanding the commercial moratorium and to relieve small businesses of the outstanding lease obligations and san francisco, thank you, supervisor preston, for your cosponsorship in working with supervisor peskin on at least we have one option that allows a business to be able to terminate their lease early.
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one item i do want to highlight. supervisor ronen's point, we do need to take a look at our small property owners and small businesses that own property in relationship to their ability to pay a mortgage and what this might mean in relationship to either -- more likely for-sale of the property. so the commission conducted a survey in february. these are preliminary findings. we had 582 survey responses. to highlight some of the top points, 77% of these respondents lease their space. in terms of lease, we asked the question about lease being renegotiated. the highest number of respondents said no, no rent negotiation was offered. but then the next number is,
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yes, rent was decreased in the lease renewal. have you missed any payments was another question asked. and this number -- in terms of the number of businesses that responded that said no, we don't know -- don't i don't know from the survey data -- this was done with another department, whether this is related to full month or partial months, but the highest respondent said they have not missed lease payments. that number somewhat correlates, if i go back to the next slide, the number of businesses very close to that number of businesses that were not able to receive lease negotiations. and then when does your lease expire? the highest number of businesses are in -- coming up are in the
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1-3 years. and -- which is for me an interesting overlay when we're looking ahead at the commercial eviction moratorium. so i think as we've had much discussion in relationship to -- we have yet had a really good opportunity to kind of really quantify the commission's interest in conducting the survey was to get a snapshot of looking at lease and rent obligation as one of the issues to be looking at to get a sense of what information we can glean from that and provide in terms of taking a look at next steps. we do need -- one thing i think -- as deanna has talked about, we are seeing an increasing need of the need for legal support which is, you know, again,
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they're bringing on the bar association as an official partner with the city. so, if the commercial eviction moratorium is not lifted, come july, you know, the first set of businesses will need to meet their obligations. so, we should be anticipating, you know, that -- we should be look at whether the commercial eviction moratorium, or anticipating that it may not be extended if things continue to progress in lifting of restrictions. we get more information as to the impact of the vaccine. and there is increasing trajectory of businesses opening. and what that may mean in
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relationship to businesses meeting their debt obligation, this needs to be assessed and we need to strengthen our ability to get a good idea from how much of this federal relief funding is coming into the city and has assisted businesses in meeting that debt obligation. and then, and then at the same time, in terms of our need for legal assistance and support, just as we are probably going to be escalating that need in relationship to businesses and dealing with the end of the commercial eviction moratorium, business -- whether the funding and relief that they have received from the federal government is enough to assist them dealing with their back
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rent and other debt obligations. so that legal support and businesses being able to negotiate and have conversations with their property owners, we will also be seeing at the same time, an increase in new businesses wanting to open. so in the previous years -- i mean pre-pandemic, our legal referrals were often for businesses that needed assistance with lease negotiations, especially those that are non-native english speakers. so, with that, i will turn it over to the president. thank you. >> hello. thank you very much for convening this important meeting and your leadership on this issue. i've worked with many of you and your staff on this issue. i appreciate the opportunity to have this important conversation. i did want it say before my brief remarks, i share your deep
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concern about the recent attacks on asian americans and express that i and the small business community stand in solidarity with all of you. the issue of commercial rent during the pandemic has been a top concern for me as chair of the small business commission, and a small business owner myself. i rent passenger vans to touring musicians and i have about a dozen leases at tiny locations across the country to service the live music industry, which has been completely wiped out by the pandemic. the small business commission survey of local small business owners almost precisely matches my own personal experience. there has been, mostly, no negotiation with my landlords and little contact and in one case, when the lease expired the landlord actually increased the rent. i know i don't have to tell you this, but our small businesses are drowning in debt. i am no exception.
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i wake up every day wondering if i would be better off declaring the business bankrupt. the barrier is that many of the leases and debts have personal guarantees, which means i'd have to declare personal bankruptcy. this would mean the sale of my home, the college fund when college is right around the corner. for now i'm trying to fight it out. it will take me years to claw my way out. my experience is not unique. i hear the same fears and concerns across the city. the moratorium has been helpful, but it's also fair to say it just kicked the can down the road. the debt remains. this is the portion of the iceberg under the water which we cannot see. to the point earlier we don't
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know how many businesses have closed, we know even less about who the walking dead are. the commercial lease problem is this a musical chair between banks, real estate owners and small business. the music stopped and small business is the one left without a chair to sit in. i'll note that to date while i've personally been wiped out, none of my lenders or landlords have incurred any losses. to chair preston's point, i'll note the obstacle here is the taking clause of the 5th amendment, so i doubt that the state and the feds have the ability to control the rent and lease amounts. and i expect we'll need to be creative in coming up with solutions. some of you may be aware that state senator scott wiener tried to address the issue in april of 2020 with ab939 aiming to let business owners exit from leases
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without triggering personal guarantees. small businesses were outmatched by larger businesses and the bill died. paying all of the unpaid rent for the small businesses would cost a quarter to a half billion dollars. given the challenges in the wake of the pandemic, there does not seem to be enough money to make everyone whole. so the question is, does the city help a small number of businesses or spread the resources evenly among the small business community. trying to figure out our best path, i convened stakeholders. together we were able to get spur to sponsor it. we attracted top leaders from banking, real estate to brainstorm how we might resolve the problem. there was one intriguing proposal that came out of this which involved amortizing
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property taxes over a period of decades in exchange for landlords waiving or amortizing the back rent due. there might be a similar option available to the city. i support without reservation making sure that the office of small businesses rent stabilization grant is fully funded which ensures our legacy businesses with proven records of operating businesses are able to survive the pandemic. i also support close examination of the recommendations of the budget and legislative analyst, focusing on those businesses ineligible for other aid and placing a high priority on those servicing the most vulnerable population. i'm excited by a payroll grant program to jump start employment while helping our restaurants stay afloat. having said that, i'm going to suggest that this committee consider looking at the problem through the other end of the lens. while it might be a challenge
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for the city to make up the difference in our collective missing rent and expenses, that is not the only lever that the city has available to it. we can make our businesses more valuable relative to the rent owed by by making the shared rent spaces program easy to use. we can rebuild the economy by making san francisco an attractive place to visit. finally, i appreciated supervisor ronen's comments about needing a shop-local campaign. i couldn't agree more. and in fact, i've been working on a very exciting project which has already attracted amazing partners. i can't reveal the details, as i don't want to spoil the surprise, but i'll be connecting with all of you soon as we move the project along shortly. with that, i yield my time and thank you very much for having me.
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>> thank you. >> supervisor mandelman: we have a number of folks who want to speak. nearly double the number of businesses that have gotten rent relief and although there are some protections going forward from the commercial eviction moratorium legislation, i'm -- as i know everyone here is -- very concerned about what this means for the future of our small businesses as we move out of the pandemic. so that was my takeaway.
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i appreciated the slides showing the castro street and i appreciate the director and the president for all their work. >> chair, if i may, just briefly. the commission survey is through a partnership with the university of san francisco. we'd of course like to thank them, but also want to note we intend to make the survey a regular part of the commission's work and that may be of use to you and your colleague in understanding and tracking the changes that result from any policy proposals that you may make now and in the future. >> thank you, president. so our final -- >> just one second. i want to comment on one thing. agreed with what president legagne laid out. i want to take issue with one point, though, just dispelling
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the notion that there is some kind of constitutional barrier to government intervening on the rents. and this is, unfortunately, a longstanding -- frankly talking point of the real estate industry that has seeped its way into our collective -- they've been very successful in saying, no, you can't touch rents because of the constitution. the reality is we've seen the same thing on the residential side. i'm very familiar with that. i've litigated many cases on this for a long time. the court refused to accept that argument. and actually on the residential side said no under the police powers, the city in certain circumstances, crisis of unaffordability for example, have the right to have rent control. in fear that the same thing would happen to protect commercial landlords, the real estate industry led by the california association of realtors, passed a state law to
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preempt cities from regulating rents in any way. that is our barrier. i want to be clear. this is a time when we're putting big ideas, all of us, forward on how we save businesses and how we rethink. i mean we rethought our streets. we rethought a lot of things in in pandemic. one of them that we need to recognize is that state law preemptings of a city power to intervene to regulate rent in an emergency situation like this is a huge barrier. not the state constitution. for the public and again for those working in sacramento, now is the time to look at freeing cities up. frankly, the commercial moratorium is the result of the governor freeing cities up from what otherwise is prohibited
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under state law. >> chair preston, i take your point. i'm only repeating what i heard from both federal and state policymakers when i have advocated for the very changes that you and i agree would be most helpful. >> thank you. well, let's not let them off the hook. our very able city attorney will defend our local efforts with the same enthusiasm and zeal they have defended successfully our local law. >> i want to concur with chair preston's point. i think many of us are concerned about what the trump supreme court will give us and what we'll need to unravel over the course of our lifetime as we take back our supreme court. but i believe that the state of the law is still as chair preston described and they
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haven't fully eviscerated all of regulations, at least the matter of the constitution, although i know that is some folk's goal. all right. so our last speaker before we hear from the truly important people -- well everybody here is important, but before we hear from the small business owners themselves is the attorney with three years of experience advising small business tenants about commercial leases and representing them in lease negotiations. and he's here on behalf of lawyers committee to talk about what they're seeing in their work with small business clients. >> thank you, supervisor mandelman. just appreciate everyone giving me a minute while i figure out how to share my screen and put
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up my slides. >> we can see your presentation. it is very small, however. >> yes, i'm going into presenting mode. thank you, mr. carroll.
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>> of course. there we have it. >> great, thank you so much. good morning, supervisors and thank you for the invitation to speak today. i'm here to speak on behalf of the lawyers committee for civil rights of the san francisco bay area. and before i start, i would like to express solidarity with the asian-american community in light of the recent terrible events and uptick in hate crimes against asian-americans. i'd like to share thoughts with you about the importance of providing legal representation to small business tenants during the covid-19 pandemic. these are based on my experience working as staff attorney for three years which included the pandemic pandemic in march 2020.
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i'd like to say a little bit about the issues that small business tenants face in san francisco. which were exacerbated when the pandemic hit. the legal ease in commercial leases as many of you know is confusing if not down right cryptic. for this reason, many small business tenants i advise did not know their legal rights and obligations under the lease and needed a lawyer to help them figure out. many are unable to pay their rent. obviously. despite their best efforts to continue their businesses during the pandemic, many of them received repeated requests for back rent from landlords who ignore their invitations to renegotiate leases. i've even talked to tenants who locked them out of the store front illegally. when i told one tenant this is illegal and she could sue, she
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responded she might as well give up and leave because she didn't have money to hire a litigation attorney, which organizations who are legal services providers, typically cannot provide as a free service. i also talked with another tenants whose landlord threw the lease at him when he said he couldn't pay the rent. as the pandemic wore on, i heard from more tenants whose landlords filed lawsuits requesting back rent as money damages without requesting that the tenant be evicted. i tried to help the tenants find private paid attorneys, but without funds, they were unable to respond to the lawsuits. finally, many small business tenants contacting us do not speak english and have trouble communicating with the landlords in a dispute situation.
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i'd like to tell you about the value of legal representation. i was able to help many small business tenants understand their rights under their lease as well as look for lease provisions that might give them leverage during their negotiations. review of other documents can be essential as well. for example, one tenant came to me with a draft lease amendment that her landlord askedler to sign. the amendment lengthened the amount of time to pay the back rent, but also agreed to give up her rights under future legislation benefitting tenants. she happened to speak spanish and connecting her with a spanish-speaking attorney was
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essential. in another case, i represented the tenant directly, i was also able to help the tenant clarify his goals, options and points of leverage before sending the landlord a letter inviting them to negotiate. the landlord had previously been unwilling to negotiate and once they got my letter, their attorney got involved and we were able to work out a settlement agreement that significantly reduced the amount of money he owed the landlord and allowed him to terminate the lease. landlords are using civil money lawsuits as a pressure tactic to extract as much money from small businesses as they can. if you get sued, you have to respond within a set period of time that requires you to pay everything that the other side is asking for. small business tenants need trained litigation attorneys to help them avoid a default and
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negotiate down the amount of money the landlord is demanding. legal services organizations like ours have extremely limited funding to hire contract litigation attorneys and could use more dedicated funding for this as well as collaboration with other organizations who have business litigators in their networks. in closing, legal representation -- i'm talking about representation that fully meets the needs of the client -- can mean the difference between business closure and continuation. or between crushing debt and financial survival. for the low-income business owners that we've served who are largely also people of color, it can be the difference between widening the racial wealth gap and keeping resources rooted in small businesses. thank you for listening.
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>> thank you, mr. >> one question i'm trying to get a handle on. seems we need more data. on the gap of what we're currently able to provide small businesses and what the -- we know the need is going to increase in coming months because we know we're headed toward a cliff. but are we currently meeting the demand? you mentioned situations where folks don't have someone to represent them in litigation. are we meeting demand for lease renegotiations? are we meeting demand as it gets more complication and litigation intensive. do you have any notion of what the gap is? >> the gap is primarily when -- the gap occurs primarily when a
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tenant gets notice they're being sued for money damages. the need for help with lease review and negotiations is mostly being met. we have a network of pro bono attorneys that we can tap to meet that need. and we've built partnerships with two firms aaron fox and koe, to provide rapid response consultations to small business tenants who need the lease reviewed and need advice about how to negotiate with their landlord. and those firms have also in some cases been able to take on the client for a longer term assistance to represent them directly in negotiations.
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so, there may be a gap -- a slight gap in people who are unable to get the longer term assistance from a pro bono attorney that they need. but i'm not aware of it. the main gap is where people need litigation assistance. and you know, organizations like ours that just provide tran actional assistance can't provide that for free. >> but even that is so important. i know from pre-pandemic time, that i had spoken with tenants or folks who were going out of business, simply because the landlord had given them 100-page lease after many years, and they couldn't bring themselves to try to figure out how to deal with that and closed up.
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so i think meeting that need is incredibly important, but i think also -- and chair preston has done more -- knows more about this than i do, but there is real need to get representation to these small businesses. so thank you for your work. >> thank you for inviting me. >> supervisor mandelman, just to follow up on that. it makes a huge difference when providing legal assistance consistent with what he laid out, to have the potential of litigation defense. as we know it's a huge deterrent. it's one of the reason we structured the right to counsel program it was full-scope representation, in contrast to new york city which did that for some people, but not all. and what they provided to a lot of tenants in new york was just the kind of advice and
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counseling, but not the ability -- and frankly, if the landlord, whether residential or commercial side, if the landlord knows if they sue you for the rent and you won't have a lawyer representing you, it takes away their incentive to come to the table. i appreciate elevating that important point. supervisor chan? >> supervisor chan: thank you, chair preston. my question will be for what you're seeing right now, especially during the pandemic. what kinds of businesses are coming to us for this type of assistance? and maybe even just age of the business, just kind of help us understand what the type of business and the age of the business that are really now in need of this type of assistance?
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>> well, supervisor chan, i'm sorry, i didn't prepare any data for today. anecdotally from my own experience over the pandemic, i can say that age range has been all over the place. and the type of business coming to us i would say you know, obviously, the businesses were coming to us for lease assistance are all retail because they have some sort of store front. i don't think we have any -- we had any manufacturing businesses or non-retail businesses coming to us. i would say the largest percentage is probably in the food industry. and then you know, there is other types of retail as well. you know, like clothing stores
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or convenience stores. businesses like that. >> supervisor chan: good to know. i think my last question is, do you typically see these businesses are coming for assistance, are they dealing -- i'm not really -- i don't know about the commercial property industry -- are they typically corporate commercial landlord, or is it the type like small commercial landlords they're tackling with, just trying to understand the type of landlord that you're dealing with in san francisco when you're trying to help these businesses? >> yeah. that's a great question, supervisor chan. and that also varies across the board. we also don't track data -- track that data, but anecdotally speaking, i've seen all kind of
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landlords ranging from small mom-and-pop that only own one or two properties to very large corporate landlords, to medium to large-sized landlords whose names come up quite a bit in talking to other partners, including oewd. we they're they own quite a bit of property across the city. >> that will be helpful for us to move the legislation forward to start thinking about, you know, who in terms of property landlords that we're tackling with. it will help us understand just a level of support. [please stand by]
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[please stand by]
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>> supervisor preston: are you struggling with back rent? we know from the surveys of small businesses, there would be a flood of not hundreds but thousands of small businesses. i just want to say that that is artificially constrained because in my opinion i haven't heard anything about an actual proactive plan on the part of san francisco through oewd or any other entities to reach out to businesses across the board
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to see if they need assistance. supervisor mandelman, were there any other comments or presenters or can we move to our very patient real experts, the people who have been standing by waiting for public comment? >> i think it's time to go to public comment.
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>> clerk: -- and then press star, followed by three, to enter the queue to speak, and mr. chair, i'd like to request that our interpreters introduce themselves one more time in spanish and chinese respectively so we can be sure we hear from everyone. >> chair preston: please. [speaking spanish language]
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[speaking cantonese language] [end of translation]. >> thank you. >> clerk: thank you both. mr. zuniga, could you bring us our first commenter, please? >> hi, there. are you able to hear me? >> clerk: yes, we can hear you. >> hi, there. hello, supervisors, and hello, supervisors mandelman and ronen
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and thank you for all the other supervisors present, as well. my name is jonah rafa, and i am a small business owner in san francisco. it's been an interesting time. really quickly, we -- the vcma has been able to work with the supervisors. been very helpful and we've been able to do a lot for small business in that area. we're also illuminating the corridor from 14 to 24 street, bringing some much needed life and light to the corridor, as well. speaking to my two barber shops in san francisco, they are very
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different stories. valencia has been doing very well, recovering, and by recovering, i mean doing about 25% of our business in february. our other location is a different story. our landlord has renegotiated our lease. our market street shop, which is at 973 market street and particularly relevant to this conversation. it is still closed. we have been closed since march. we briefly reopened for a couple of, you know, maybe a month in the fall, had to shutdown. we are --
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>> clerk: thank you for sharing your comments, jonah. could you bring us the next caller, please. >> hi. can you hear me? >> clerk: yes, we can. >> okay great. thank you. thank you to the board members and city employees working hard to protect s.f. businesses at this time. the public policy considerations that take on questionably immense for our neighborhoods and fellow citizens. many small business owners need no additional data entered into the public record at this time to reach the fundamental and commonsense recognition that they are facing financial ruin
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[inaudible] in particular, in my direction experience and initial anecdotal evidence [inaudible] to continue to threaten to take legal action against tenants for future rent, attorney fees, and contract penalties despite the clear and recent guidance to the rent and lease framework stated clearly in the ordinance. landlords continue to assert that full prepandemic market values for back rent despite that the pandemic has dramatically shifted the value of rental property in the city through no action of tenants. to address the numerous comments about limits under the state statutory regime [inaudible] i ask the board of
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supervisors to please immediately enact additional ordinance or legislation which states, in simple terms, that the city's legislative intent is to be consistent with section 1511 of the california civil code with respect to -- >> clerk: thank you very much, jeff, for sharing your comments. could you bring us the next caller, please. >> thank you for taking my call in my public comment. my name is dean ericson, and i'm a small business owner in the fitness industry in san francisco. i'm a member of the san francisco fitness coalition team. i'm here today to share my experience with my landlord. i'm also a commercial owner as well as a -- one who rents a commercial space. to date, we've seen a 90% reduction in our business space. we've made numerous attempts to propose plans for back rent,
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with no response from our landlord. we've paid what we can each month over the course of the last year. to date, we owe about $40,000 in back rent thus far. we are a small family owned business and that $40,000 rent is a huge amount for us. our landlord assumes that we are open and should pay full rent even though we're limited open and occupancy. we may not be able to continue beyond our lease terms in order to makeup the lost time, and no options on communications or support for landlord grants have been communicated thus far. the ordinances that we'd like to see [inaudible] we'd like to see landlords engage and entice
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to be engaged by the city for covering back rent given the surplus on the budget [inaudible] i hope that the city of san francisco and the state of california can recognize their power that they have with trying to establish and revive the economy moving forward and be able to not only support landlords but those who are also -- >> clerk: thank you very much, jeff ericson, for sharing your comments. could you bring us the next caller, please. >> good afternoon. i'm shawn higgins, coowner of d and h jewelers in the castro district. in the early days of the pandemic, we formed a group in our building.
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our landlord told us it was illegal to discuss rent amongst other tenants in the building because it's a private matter between landlords and tenants, but that's not true. the final note from our landlord before communication dropped off was we were told we obviously didn't know how to run a business, so we could close our door and make room for a new business. this is our tenth year of business in the castro. walking around the neighborhood, it is apparent that more and more businesses are closing, despite the graph from oewd. small business has long been a staple of san francisco, and we need your help to deal with the bad acting landlords who can afford to keep stores shuttered for a year or two while they
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wait for bigger rents. thank you to supervisor mandelman who has gone above and beyond in helping with this bad acting landlord, but without new legislation, there is nothing we can do. we have a state senator and supervisor send a letter on our behalf, and nothing has changed. i do believe we should add an advertising campaign and messaging campaign as mentioned from -- and i'm sorry. i'm doing this from my phone, and i don't remember her name. many san franciscans want to support our small businesses and local economy and keep the heart of san francisco alive. we are an amazing city, and we'll always be a light to others around the world. let's not forget how we have remained a small town in a big city. >> clerk: thank you, shawn higgins. could you bring us the next caller, please.
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[please stand by]
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>> i request the city put efforts in as testing to get legal help. real legal help. thank you. >> could you bring us the next caller, please. >> i am jeremy chan.
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i am a board member of the japan town task force and also a staff attorney at asian pacific island outreach at assisting small businesses in the asian american community. we have lost 14 businesses since the start of the pandemic. they are a pillar that needs protection or japan town will cease to exist. we are vulnerable because the property in japan town is owned by a hand full of land lowers. they see no possible way out. several are making negotiation especially difficult. measures like the moratorium help resolve the issues. i thank the supervisors. this is kicking the can down the road.
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i appreciate the recognition we need more tools to directly address rent debt. otherwise the small businesses see no way out at the end. thank you for your continued efforts to support our small businesses. >> thank you for participating in the discussion jeremy. bring us next caller, please. i am calling as small business owner and founder of bar alliance. we have 450 mariners part of the group. we have a lot of experience with difficult landlords. thank you for having the hearing. we appreciate the work you have done. i want to call out the incredible work oewd has done for the bar owners and restaurant owners and
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entertainment community. they are a lifeline for us. i thank them for that. the issue of commercial rent is sticky. the problems is leverage. the landlords have it or think they have leverage over you. it is really hard to negotiate when they think they hold the cards. we have seen real action that has helped especially from supervisor peskin's office the vacancy task and the restructuring of rent rules has made real difference in leverage. we have seen supervisor haney put in zoning controls for entertainment. that is helpful. i would just ask that we just keep considering creative ways to give leverage to the business owners and take away from the landlords to help with negotiations. sharky mentioned voting positive on shared spaces. that is huge to make more
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revenues. also just releasing red tape in general will help from the bar community. it is not easy to pick up the bar and move when you are in renegotiations. it is almost impossible to move the bar. that happens for many businesses not just bars. if we are able to remove the red tape to make it easier to take away barriers we get more leverage. i appreciate you having this. thank you for the work you have done.
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>> we are 21 storefront bay can't. during the pandemic that is now up to 33 vacancies, one in five storefronts are vacant. this is -- personally i have been able to renegotiate my lease to provide through this period of time when we see sales fallen below 50% due to lack of high foot traffic and tourism in our neighborhood. we also have had the experience of seeing leases more complicated. the first lease was five pages long. last was 43 pages long. there is a severe need for not
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just legal assistance but also standardization. to ensure that small business owners and entrepreneurs are not signing up for personal guarantees or in case prop 13 is reversed taxes and increase commercial property taxes skyrocketing. there are a number of ways to help small business community sustain through the period and thrive. i really appreciate your work on creating a pool for legal assistance. i would also advocate for speeding along the -- >> thank you for sharing your comments. next caller, please. >> caller, you are unmuted.
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>> my parents cannot speak english very well. i have talked to many small businesses around the mission area. we are heading towards the 29th year of being here. we are trying to stay as long as we can. it is harder and harder. before opening up 25% we were maybe making like 20% of what we used to make even with what we had before.
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i appreciate you guys being able to understand and know that we are having hard times. i really hope you guys can also, you know, i am not sure what else to do. you did point out a lot of things. this meeting i feel like could have happened a little earlier, honestly. i know you guys have a lot of things to do. seeing my parents and a lot of other businesses we have worked with for the 29, 28 years we have been here, it is hard to see everyone slowly opening later and later and later. besides that i do appreciate that you guys are able to figure out some solutions to this and also to know about the legal things you are allowing us that are open to us. i hope that may be you guys can make like a bigger article to
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show us that small businesses are able to use. because of all of the information going around it is hard to see what is actually real information to use and not a scam. >> thank you very much for sharing your time and comments. could you bring us next caller, please. >> hi, i own new balance. i have three fitness studios.
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one land lord was able to give us rent relief. the other two aren't really making -- telling us what to do. they are waiting for legislation to pass. we are in the same situation. they want us to sign we will pay everything back within two years, but we are also holding out for legislation hoping something will change. we are in limbo not knowing what is going to happen. in terms of solutions i was going to say there should be some more oversight to where the funds are going such as if a grand is going to small business and they have back rent they should have to use that money from the city to pay back rent. also, we header through the grapevine some of the people getting the funds from the city don't have small businesses. they have the connection with london breed or someone in oewd and they end up getting porsches
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and giving $50,000 to their families. more oversight to the money given would be helpful so we know it is going to back rent. thank you so much. i have a five-year-old and new born that are getting into it so i have to jump off. there are a lot of solutions. i hope we keep working towards this problem of back rent. all of the businesses with good business models can stay in san francisco. >> 1511 of the state civil code. >> i will pause you. did you call back earlier?
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did we hear from you earlier in the public comment period. >> yes, he did call back. >> sorry. we do have to give everyone the same amount of time. i am note able to take public comment a second time. thank you for participating in the discussion. if you have further comments to share with the supervisors put your comments in writing, send an e-mail to me and my address is on the front page of the agenda for today's meeting. next caller, please. >> i am founding president of san francisco small business alliance over 350 small businesses in san francisco. i want to start off by saying the meeting started with our closure saved thousands of lives. no doubt of supporting this claim not from governor newsom.
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please attempt to justify the destruction of the small business community until the data is available to the public. we are locked out of businesses and the economy costing livelihoods and jobs along the way. the city and state seized property. federal government did not force us to close. city and state did this. city and state has not helped and supported us. i have seen and counted the grant amounts that the sfowd is claiming for the past several months. it is well under what they claim. i have been waiting for the loan amount still waiting after a month and still haven't veep be the numbers. the claims of financial assistance are grossly inflated and false. as of september 2020 half of the small businesses in san francisco closed permanently.
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if we do not receive rental assistance there will be hundreds of hows more businesses closing if we don't get help. maybe legislation assisted. focus should be hiring creating jobs not paying represent when we were forced to close. without any public data justifying closures we need legal protection. i know dean preston mentioned it is tricky and challenging. we know that and understand and respect that. it doesn't mean this shouldn't be the number one focus of the city right now. all of these people, small businesses we use this word it is families, employees and employees families. please, please make this. >> thank you very much for your comments. next caller, please. >> hello, this is kenneth win garth. >> we hear you.
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>> i have a store in the castro on market street. i have had my business in san francisco for 25 years. it is a minority opened gay owned business. i don't have a lot to add for the pain. we were closed for three months. accident is down 55% for the time that we have been opened. our landlord has demanded full payment for every month. giving us no abatement whatsoever. i want to paint a personal picture. this goes deeper to the bigger problem for san francisco than just small businesses. i have my business here. my husband works for the perkins cooley in the city. we have three children in the public school at mckin leo castro. the current situation with rent we question why do we stay here. why does my husband move to a
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different office and pull kids out of school and sell our home and leave the city? i love san francisco. i have been here 35 years. it is part of my soul. at a person point you are up against a wall and the city is not helping. i appreciate this meeting. rafael is amazing as the local supervisor to help us. at a certain point one wants to give up. there is an easier place to raise a family than san francisco. that breaks my heart. thank you.
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>> thank you. i am a japan town stakeholder working in a small family owned business. the moratorium and deferrals are really cooklation of debt on top of -- accumulation of debt on top of doing business. there needs to be direct funding for back rent for small businesses and incentives and penalties to landlords to get them to negotiate apand work with businesses. businesses need real professional financial and legal advice and representation. the landlord side needs to be a mandate they are not allowed to separate tenants, prohibit them from talking with each other
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because that just keeps them in fear and pits people against each other. it is really tremendous that you are listening to the voices of small business owners. there is a lot of pr from landlords that sounds nice. in the end the people who need that help are not getting it. it is just pr. thank you for listening and for all you can do for the small businesses.
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>> i have a couple small businesses in san francisco. i have been listening to all of the goings on. where do we begin? san francisco historically has been tough on small business and all of the commercial corridors pre-pandemic. it would be good if the city recognizes that now and tries to help all of the small business and all of the commercial corridors and help bring tourists back to this town and emphasize on tourists. also, i have been listening to landlords. they are the bad guys here. landlords didn't create the pandemic. to try to put this on the back of the land lord i don't think that is fair.
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landlords are small businesses in themselves. you want to keep that in mind. a couple things that might be helpful is the sales tax credit on moly basis to dig small business out of the hole they have dug for themselves. the eidel loan. i heard some loans up to $150,000 or less. may be forgiven if the city and the state of california would advocate for us on the federal level to forgive these loans. then we could pay back rent and dig ourselves out of debt and give everybody a fighting chances along with the p pp
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credit. san francisco needs to help business and not point at the land lords. they did not create this. >> thank you for sharing. could you bring us next caller, please. glee this is where we need your help to extend this moratorium and provide actual rental assistance and provide legal help to protect the small businesses. what i am hearing from other small store tenants in the japan town area is frightening. landlords are being egregious in demands or nonresponsive. they demand new leases require tenants to waive rights under the eviction moratorium including any future extensions and they cannot terminate leases
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earlier despite that probition in the moratorium. normally leases are one to three years. the landlord is requiring five year extension and back rent if there is any excuse of it will be waived only if no deviation for the next two years. make one small mistake and the back rent is due in full. most shockingly they want percentage of the ppp payroll payments even though it is payroll. they want a percentage of any insurance settlements due to pandemic losses and percentage of any selling price if you give up and sell your business. this is what we are facing. we need your help. we need legal help and we need financial help. thank you.
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>> i am a staff member. i just wanted to say that we really need the city to support small businesses with commercial lease relief and assistance. it is essential to the economic recovery of our district as well as the financial stability of our businesses. small businesses need tools to navigate lease negotiations. a lot of businesses don't understand leases and laws that protect them. they need accessibility and clarity. of course, that takes into consideration culture and language and i just feel that
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the city needs to do more outreach to the businesses so they understand. we are doing a lot of work here in the latino culture district. we need the city to support any future rent relief. >> public comment is closed. if you have any comments, now is the time. supervisor mandelman.
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>> no further questions. i want to thank the folks from the city departments and from the civil rights for participating tomorrow and thank all of the callers who called in. i think we have learned a lot today. we have also found some areas where we need to dig some more and get some more information. particularly the data that was presented by the office of workforce development was a snapshot that does not paint the full picture of our current predicament, not to mention where we will be in six to eight months. i think, you know, finding ways to get as much accurate data as possible about what is going on and understand and analyze that is important.
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i do share the feeling of colleagues. supervisor ronen brought this up that deferring the vacancies after this year in some ways i would love to be able to turn that vacancy tax on for bad actors. i don't know if we can do. that is something i might be interested in. i also on top of the vacancy tax. i remember when that was on the ballot and i was advocating for it and having conversations with people who couldn't wrap their mind at additional incentive for the landlord to rent out their retail storefront or keep commercial tenants in retail store fronts when they were there. this seems to be clearly an example of the situation where people are not behaving rationally, where the market is not working and we can see in the pandemic the excruciating
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clarity people are imagining there are other tenants that will pay rent and that is not the case. i do think there are situations where there needs to be additional penalties for landlords behaving badly to their existing commercial tenants and the communities served by the tenants. i don't think those are the landlords but there are some just making bad decisions for themselves and the neighborhoods where they have property.
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to support wherever you take this in terms of building on a right to council for commercial tenants and getting close to helping folks deal with negotiations around complicated leases and also have some hope of being able to get representation if they end up in a legal battle. thanks everyone for participating for everyone everyone is doing. i look forward to working with colleagues on addressing these issues going forward. >> thank you, supervisor mandelman and for calling for this hearing and also for working so collaborative leo this issue. not just recently but throughout
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this whole period. additional thought on what you made about the market not working with respect to the vacancies and with respect to a lot of the bigger commercial landlords operating under this assumption that they can mistreat and not work with the tenants there is going to be this mythical figure who emerges to rent the plays with the represents they were used to. i agree with you. i want to point out the market screws up in another way to identify. that is the competitive advantage or disadvantages for a small business now turn on the luck of the draw of who your landlord is. such things as how you price your product or all of these
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things which the market even if you are a believer in this market more so than i am. the idea the businesses compete. there are certain things where they have a equal shot at buying their product from suppliers. they have an equal shot from permits. here is a situation where cafe one on this corner in supervisor mandelman's district just got $25,000 worth of rent waived and number two has a landlord that won't work with them. who is going to survive that? not the one $25,000 in debt. i think we need to realize it is not a big money issue. we are allowing commercial landlords and our hope they do the right thing to dictate what
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small businesses and neighborhood anchor businesses survivor don't survive. that is a problem. i am really encouraged by the policy recommendations. this gives us data and information to work within formulating and stronger policies. i want to recognize supervisor chan's leadership in the context of commercial. >> supervisor ronen. >> you know, the conditions for small business are so dismal. on the flip side i have never
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seen the city in my close to 11 years working for the board of supervisors put such a meaningful attention on small businesses and work so collaboratively with real solutions and economic assistance and efforts to limit the bureaucracy and barriers that may being it so hard to operate a small business. i really do believe that that might be one of those small semi positive things that come out of this horrible pandemic we realize the rome small businesses play in -- roll small businesses play. how hard it is for them to survive and what happens when they cease to exist and how the character of the neighborhoods change, we lose that character, we have more property crimes on
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commercial corridors, we have less employment because collectively small businesses are the biggest employer in the city and county of san francisco. it is, i think, correct that all of us together and it is so nice to work in coalition with you altogether with mayor breed we are all very focused on this. we have such a great president of the small business commission that is really challenging us to step up in all of the right ways. i wanted to end with that note of positivity. in addition to all of the things we are all working on, another piece of legislation i am exploring and would love to explore with all of you is how we can just make it free from the city's end to open a new
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small business. we know that it is extremely expensive to do that in the past. getting through the city bureaucracy takes years and small business owners are paying rent that full-time without making a dime. we are trying to move at a faster pace on that end. coming out of this pandemic there are be so many businesses that shut down if they want to try we need to do everything to make that as easy as possible. one way to do that is by, you know, not overwhelming a budding entrepreneur with city fees to get their business going. that is something i am now exploring and would love to work with you. i have to say working with the small business advocates and the
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three of you colleagues is really making our job more fun and more interesting and we get to, you know, support each other on the different ideas. there is no shortage of work where i know we can improve the situation greatly for small business in san francisco. i really appreciate all of you and thanks for this great hearing, supervisor mandelman and chair preston. >> thank you, supervisor ronen. i don't see anyone else. let me say final thought. certainly i think in all districts. i will speak on my own. this has gotten to a crisis level and i think a lot of the callers have really made that clear. this is about survival of our
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businesses. i look at the data that we have and just walking around the neighborhood for us in particular the filmore, very high on the list of vacancies and businesses facing huge back rent debt. japan town some of the callers called where there is an issue. not impacting one or two businesses or 10% of businesses. this is an issue that will determine if the oldest japan town in the united states survives. we are going to make sure it does. right now it is not on that path. i find myself conflicted talking about small business issues. seeing the positive that supervisor ronen has pointed out how city leaders have come together in meaningful ways to support small businesses and creative ways given the state
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limitations. even with this the level of need right now is such a threat to all of our neighborhoods. we heard from folks in the haight. those are just some of the dig -- big corridors in my district. to leave on a pledge to small businesses to do really the maximum and push the limit of what we can legally do to protect you from this burden of back rent. i think that is our obligation, that is some of my questioning and frustration with these more neutral rolls that oewd has in the outreach function but plays a neutral role. there is a need for advocacy
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here. supervisor chan pushes the right to council, pushing of small businesses being represented fully by someone who can litigate if necessary. that is advocacy. that is what is needed. also, pushing as the city pushing commercial landlords to do the right thing. pushing department to proactively do the outreach, more legal representation for small businesses and looking at to what extent can we as a city and this is the challenge my office is trying to take up and will continue to talking to the city attorney about. to what extent consistent with state law can we directly impact back rent? not just subsidizing small businesses to pay it but by pushing or compelling landlords to reduce that rent burden.
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i don't have a manningic wand but i have the ability to do everything in our power on that front. we plan to and i think we will have hopefully some announcement of policy reforms and proposals growing out of this hearing, out of the report and some of the areas that have been identified including the shop local campaign and other ways we can help small business. barring any other comments. thank you to all presenters and those who stayed on the line to be able to talk with us and to my colleagues and especially to supervisor mandelman and supervisor mandelman what is your preference if we file this or continue to the call of the chair? >> let's file it. >> okay. do we need a motion, mr. clerk
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on that? >> i hear a motion to file this hearing. it is heard. offered by supervisor mandelman on the motion as filed. vice chair chan. >> aye. >> member mandelman. >> aye. >> mr. chair. >> aye. >> there you are. >> i got it. thank you. do we have any other business before the committee, mr. clerk? >> there is no further business. with that we are adjourned. thank you.
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>> hi, you're watching "coping with covid-19." today i'm going to the pharmacy. [music playing] now i'm not a medical professional or a doctor of any kind. sorry, mom. i'm a video guy. and this is my personal story. i have a family member who's in the at-risk group so i'm the one going to the pharmacy. to get the most detailed and up-to-date information about the virus, go to sfgov.org.
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there's a really good f.a.q. there. i've been taking a plastic bag from the house and putting a sanitizing wipe and for this trip, i feel safer wearing latex gloves. i'm taking the smallest number of items with me. my debit card, i.d., the gloves and the wipes. and that means there'll be fewer items to wipe down later if they come into contact with shared services. when i get to the pharmacy, i put on my gloves. my goal while i'm inside is to not touch any common surfaces and try to keep at least six feet away from anybody else. this is my second visit of the day. the first time i came, there was a huge line so i just left. this time there is no line-up. i'm very careful after i use the p.i.n. pad to pay for my purchases. this is a point of contact that many people have touched, which is why i'm wearing the gloves today. i thank the pharmacist for her important work and leave. on my short walk home from the pharmacy, i'm careful not to touch my face.
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i keep the gloves on and until i get to my recycling and trash containers, where i remove the packaging from the medicines and i put them in the recycling. now we don't need the instruction for these particular insulin medications because we're already very familiar. as soon as i get through the door, i wash my hands for at least 20 seconds. then i'll wipe down my debit card and i.d. and, as an extra precaution, i wipe down the medicine's packaging and anywhere where they have touched indoors. then i wipe down the front doorknob and, finally, i wash my hands again. that is it for this episode. i hope you enjoyed my story. thank you for watching.
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>> and good morning, everyone. i'm the acting director of san francisco public works. i would like to welcome you all this morning to the celebration of the second street improvement project. this project has involved a collaboration of many as elected officials, public works, m.t.a., the p.u.c., and the county and the transportation authority, and the