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The People's Guide: North Beach Blogged, Day 3

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The People's Guide is Curbed SF's tour o' the nabes, led by our most loyal readers, favorite bloggers, and other luminaries of our choosing. This week, we welcome Jackson West on board as a guest contributor; Jackson has been blogging in and about San Francisco for nearly five years, most recently gossiping about the technology industry at Valleywag. Join Jackson every day this week as he says his piece about the NB. Want to say yours, blogger? Holler!

For some, the American dream is home ownership. For me, it's rent control. I mention this because the note was slipped under the door today— with a banked increase from 2006, my rent is officially being raised 3.7 percent starting June 1st. Which, thankfully, ain't so bad. I pay about the upper limit of suggested rent relative to my net income, 40 percent. And it's still significantly less than any of the studios currently listed on Craigslist, none of which I could afford. Hence, I'll be voting no on Proposition 98— if it passes, many in my building and the neighborhood will probably have to start looking for new places to live.

Proposition 98 would eliminate rent control laws like the one San Franciscans only began to enjoy 30 years ago. My building at the corner of Powell and Union houses a number of elderly residents, who may well be on fixed incomes. For them, even a 3.7 percent increase over two years could potentially price them out of their homes. And with them would go much of the history and character of the neighborhood— such as stylish older gentleman who lives down the hall and can be heard around the 'hood speaking his native Italian.

Now, don't get my wrong. My landlord has been very flexible and considerate with this freelance writer's troubles coming up with the rent every so often. So I'm happy to pay a little extra if it means I get to stay. But I'm also glad I've got the Rent Board and the San Francisco Tenants Union on my side.