San Francisco-area students: how would you change the law. Win $1,000. Make an impact.

Reimagine SF from Supervisor Mark Farrell on Vimeo.

How would you improve the laws of San Francisco? This is your chance to redesign the rules of the city, and earn a shot at a $1,000 scholarship. Here's how it works:

  1. Imagine A Better San Francisco: Think about what you like best - and like least - about living in San Francisco. Odds are, there's a law to match. How would you fix what you don't like, or build on what you do? Sky's the limit.
  2. Find the Laws You Care About: Now that you have a vision for improving city life, visit Browse and search through the laws to find what you care about most.
  3. Read, React, ReimagineSF: Read the laws. Decide how you'd improve them. Post your changes to each law right at the bottom of the page using Disqus. Your ideas will go straight to the Board of Supervisors for action. The top suggestions will be collected right here.
  4. Tell Your Friends to Upvote: Share a link to your ideas with your friends, family, and the world. Ask them to upvote your idea, or leave a comment in support. That makes your idea float to the top, which is where you want to be to win a $1,000 scholarship.

San Francisco Supervisor Mark Farrell will select the 5 best ideas, turn each into actual legislation, then put them to the Board of Supervisors for a vote. Oh, and those 5 student-legislators will each earn $1,000 for school. Make an impact. Win a scholarship. ReimagineSF.

Top Comments

  1. Avatar for ynottony

    Where can I find the most updated fire / building codes for the construction of automatic fire sprinklers in san francisco, 4 bedroom flats?

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  2. Avatar for Jason E. Miller
    PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR IN COURT (§ 993.)—San Francisco Decoded

    An attorney can help you clear up a failure to appear warrant for a felony or misdemeanor issued by a judge or court in San Francisco County. http://www.ticketcrusherslaw.c...

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  3. Avatar for Cec
    MINIMUM LOT WIDTH AND AREA (§ 121.)—San Francisco Decoded

    is it true that a structure built by a neighbor has to be setback at least 20 ft from our

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  4. Avatar for ThomBombadil
    CURB PARKING – WHITE ZONES (§ 7.2.27.)—San Francisco Decoded

    every legal space should have a meter 24/7 so that know for sure it is ok to park there. Also to help pay costs of storing your car on very valuable real estate.
    or keep it in your garage?

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  5. Avatar for ThomBombadil
    PARKING PROHIBITED FOR MORE THAN 72 HOURS (§ 7.2.29.)—San Francisco Decoded

    you mentioned graffiti in your post?

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  6. Avatar for ThomBombadil
    PARKING PROHIBITED FOR MORE THAN 72 HOURS (§ 7.2.29.)—San Francisco Decoded

    fix the vehicle so that it is immobile
    then call

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  7. Avatar for Tom G.
    CURB PARKING – WHITE ZONES (§ 7.2.27.)—San Francisco Decoded

    This city is filled with inbred liberal idiots like the one above. Fuck SF and the public municipalities in this stupid city

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  8. Avatar for Joel Bunker
    PURPOSE (§ 41D.2.)—San Francisco Decoded

    The Arguments and Petition to End Forever the San Francisco Uniform Hotel Visitor Policy!

    We, the healthy and sane adult human people, who reside in those SRO Residential Hotels which are subjected to the San Francisco Uniform RESIDENTIAL HOTEL VISITOR POLICIES, which the San Francisco Board of Supervisors did create by impaneling and empowering the Single Room Occupancy Hotel Safety and Stabilization Task Force (Also known as the "SRO Task Force”), which did create the Uniform Hotel Visitor Policy (Hereinafter UHVP), which the San Francisco Rental Board does have proper jurisdiction over, do hereby bring this petition for a redress of our justified grievances to that Rental Board of proper jurisdiction, and other constitutional authorities, or governmental entities possessing jurisdictional and veto powers over the same. We do so in order that the reoccurring, unfair, and problematic grievances and treatment suffered by those tenants living in residential hotels may be forever cured by that Board or other Government Agencies. We hereby petition the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, as the Board does have the appropriate authority and power to redress those grievances, by making changes to or eradicating completely the Uniform Hotel Guest Policy. By attaching our names, addresses, and signatures we are hereby endorsing and claiming as our own all statements and requests contained in this petition:

    A. Moral and Ethical Fair Treatment of the Disadvantaged Population

    1. We, the residence of the Residential Hotels of San Francisco, are all adult human individuals. We are not insolent children, and as such we are not in need of any curfews, intrusions into our social and private affairs, limits on or the monitoring of our personal lives, social relations, or who we chose to associate with as adult members of society. Nor are we in need of being grounded, suffering the loss of “privileges,” for supposed “violations” of your unconscionable and unconstitutional rules that so intrude into and upon our daily lives, merely because we are economically disadvantaged in comparison to those whom presume to establish for us “poor children” living in those SRO's.

    2. We believe that the current state of the UHVP is the most degrading, humiliating, and insulting act of overt “nanny state” policy making devised. The UHVP has had the effect of treating over 30,000 voting adults like insolent and grounded children, with their landlords as punishing parents. The UHVP has done so by creating an atmosphere of intrusion, monitoring, and degrading humiliation, whereby every night at 9pm sharp landlords across San Francisco play the role of overbearing parents. This happens as those landlords do routinely bang on the doors of those members of those 30,000 adults who may happen to have guests, and inform us that “play time” with our friends is over. They then proceed to scare our friends, lovers, associates, and acquaintances, out of our homes and off the property. They routinely do so with threats of calling the police, the threat of pressing charges for unknown and unexplained reasons, threats of being evicted, and other forms of unwarranted disturbances, embarrassments, cajoling, harassment, and other violations of California Civil Codes Sections 1940-1954.1, but in particular California Civil Codes Sections 1940.2.

    B. Legal Arguments Doubting the Legality of the Uniform Hotel Visitor Policy Ordinance

    1. That we believe the UHVP to be a direct and unlawful contradiction of Californian law, specifically those laws involving landlord entrance into our homes known more commonly as California Civil Code 1954:

    1954. (a) A landlord may enter the dwelling unit only in the following cases:
    (1) In case of emergency. (2) To make necessary or agreed repairs, decorations, alterations or improvements, supply necessary or agreed services, or exhibit the dwelling unit to prospective or actual purchasers, mortgagees, tenants, workers, or contractors or to make an inspection pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 1950.5. (3) When the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises. (4) Pursuant to court order. (b) Except in cases of emergency or when the tenant has abandoned or surrendered the premises, entry may not be made during other than normal business hours unless the tenant consents to an entry during other than normal business hours at the time of entry. (c) The landlord may not abuse the right of access or use it to harass the tenant. (d) (1) Except as provided in subdivision (e), or as provided in paragraph (2) or (3), the landlord shall give the tenant reasonable notice in writing of his or her intent to enter and enter only during normal business hours.

    2. In violation of CA Civ. Code 1954 the UHVP does violate the statute by granting landlords the right to enter our residences for the purposes of inspecting for visitors, and making those visitors leave (whether they be present or not). Civil Code 1954. The nature of the statute is clearly to protect viciously a residents right to privacy and control over their own domain, so much so that a landlord may only enter into a residence upon the narrowest of reasons, and then still only after giving a 24 hour prior notice. What is conspicuously missing from the list of the reasons a landlord may enter a residence is to search or check the residence for guests after nine pm. There is no other way to enforce this statute, but by a wrongful entering by landlords into our private residences to check for guests. These so called lawful intrusions happen every night, and to every resident who landlords believe to be guilty of the “crime” of having a guest in their room past 9pm.

    3. That the UHVP does violate CA Civil Code 1940.2.A.2 and 1940.2.A.3. By allowing Landlords to engage in conduct that violates Section 518 of the Penal Code. Landlords often threaten to “call the police,” and in so doing their actions rise to a level of extortion. The use of threats containing threats of false accusations to law enforcement, in order to gain control over the residences of the residents, creates an extraordinarily unfair level of duress and unlawful cohersion. Utilizing these tactics landlords force unwilling capitulation by tenants who then allow landlords into their homes. As this surrender of control of the residence takes place due to the extreme duress associated when a person perceived to hold power over tenants like their landlord, makes threats of this nature, utilizing a quasi-false color of law, it becomes criminal.

    4. Time and time again it is the UHVP which the landlords routinely use or threaten to use as a mode of force, willful threats, and menacing conduct in order to gain access to the rooms of residents to check for guests. This sort of conduct is clearly an interference with tenant's quiet enjoyment of their premises in violation of Section 1927.

    [518]. Extortion is the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, or the obtaining of an official act of a public officer, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right. (3) Use, or threaten to use, force, willful threats, or menacing conduct constituting a course of conduct that interferes with the tenant's quiet enjoyment of the premises in violation of Section 1927 that would create an apprehension of harm in a reasonable person. Nothing in this paragraph requires a tenant to be actually or constructively evicted in order to obtain relief. (4) Commit a significant and intentional violation of Section 1954.

    5.As this conduct is coming from individuals perceived to have power and authority over the tenants, and using the UFVP as a weapon to bully tenants into capitulation, the continued use and existence of the UHVP only serves to aid landlords in creating an apprehension of harm to the livelihood and living situation of tenants.

    7. In violation of California State Law, the UHVP does cause in landlords false and unlawful beliefs that they may violate the implied covenant of "quiet enjoyment" all leases have in the State of California. (California Civil Code, § 1927). Therefore, even though the landlords (and management company) have a duty to preserve the quiet enjoyment of all tenants (Davis v. Gomez (1989) 207 Cal.App.3d 1401, 1404.), tenants are routinely made to suffer "constructive eviction." These constructive evictions occur as landlords breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment that is implied in every rental agreement (Stoiber v Honeychuck (1980) 101 Cal.App.3d 903, 925–926.), by repeatedly banging on tenants doors, making threats to call police through doors, and of course threatening to evict most tenants if they refuse to open their doors for visitor searches by the landlords looking to enforce the UHVP.

    8. These nightly actions by landlords of Residential Hotels often create a substantial interference and breach of quiet enjoyment. These interferences by the landlord’s "by which the tenants are deprived of the beneficial enjoyment of the premises amounts to a constructive eviction if the tenant so elects and surrenders possession, and the tenant will not be liable for rentals for the portion of the term following his eviction." (Kulawitz v. Pacific Paper Co. (1944) 25 Cal.2d 664, 670.). This in turn causes at least the possibility of more legal wrangling between landlords and tenants, as tenants may begin to argue no payments need be made for the hours between 9pm and 8am to those landlords enforcing the UHVP. Moreover, as more often than not the landlord's acts or omissions do substantially interfere with tenant rights to use and enjoy the premises for the purposes contemplated by the tenancy (Petroleum Collections Inc. v. Swords (1975) 48 Cal.App.3d 841, 846.), landlords who enforce the UHVP are not legally entitled to the payments of rent for the hours between 9pm and 8am.

    C. Policy Arguments against the risk and cost of the enforcement of the UHVP to the City of San Francisco

    1. The continued use of the UHVP does both consume the valuable time and energies of the SFPD, as well as exposing the SFPD to civil liabilities for their enforcing of a local ordinance that is in violation of California State Laws. This situation becomes quickly apparent as SFPD does routinely get calls from the landlords of Residential Hotels who do call the SFPD to come to their properties and attempt to enforce this unlawful local ordinance. This serves as a form of unwarranted harassment on a segment of the population that already has a traditionally deep mistrust, fear, and apprehension of law enforcement in general. This situation then in turn only serves to make further the divide and gap of mutual respect and trust between the SFPD, and those citizens who they have a sworn duty to serve and protect. Therefore, aside from being unlawful due to its contradiction of so much of California State Law, the UHVP also causes there to be a negative and costly effect on the law enforcement services of the City of San Francisco in terms of manpower, a greater risk to possible civil liabilities, and further erosion of the relationship the SFPD already has with the segment of the population currently residing in Residential Hotels on a permanent basis.

    2. Aside from the cost to SFPD, the continued use of the UHVP does in fact cause a greater cost and burden on both the Courts and this Governmental Body as well. These increased costs come about in the form of the increased amount of evictions and unlawful detainer cases that this body and the Courts must hear and process, which are brought about because of either UHVP perceived violations by tenants from landlords, as well as harassment claims from tenants on landlords that are frequently overzealous in the tactics they utilize in trying to enforce the UHVP on tenants. These disagreements and filed legal actions bog down both this body and the Courts a like, and at the route of much of this backlog are UHVP violation complaints and counter claims.

    D. Unethical abuses and uses of the UHVP by landlords

    1. Residential Hotel Owner Landlords do on a regular basis decide to utilize the UHVP as a profit generation mechanism, and do so by allowing residents to pay an overnight or visitor fee of $10-$20. This practice, aside from being wide spread and usual through-out the City of San Francisco, is proof of the fact that Residential Hotel Landlords are not interested in “safety,” “health,” or “cleanliness,” but only interested in exploiting a loophole in the law the UHVP has created allowing adult individuals who call those residential hotels home to be treated as if that home is a hotel! All we respectfully and humbly ask is that the Board imagines how embarrassed and humiliated you would feel. Imagine for a moment how you would feel, if every time you came home to your apartment with a friend or lover past 9pm, your landlord was there at the front door to meet you and your guest. Then with a judgmental eye and the power to either say “yes” or “no” as to whether that guest may accompany you into your own residence that you pay $1200-$1400 a month for, have that landlord demand a tax, a toll, or a tithing of a cash payment of $10-$20 in order to allow you to have your guest accompany you into your apartment?

    E. Rebuttal arguments to landlord “Need” to have the unlawful regulation in place.

    1. The landlords claim they need this power to kick people out of the private residences of their tenants for safety reasons, to control traffic in and out of the hotels, or to prevent loitering in the halls by non-residents. However, this sort of overstating and over-exaggeration of the issue should quickly be dispatched by any logical person living in San Francisco. The reason being is the trespassing, loitering, and property protection laws already on the books are more than adequate to police the halls of any hotel, without granting landlords a further right to police the inside of residents private homes. Moreover, given the current nature and upward mobility trends of the City as a whole, including the residential hotels, crimes such as loitering in hallways and smoking drugs on stair ways is really not an issue. Again, even if this were a legitimate concern, the laws on the books aside from the UHVP give both landlords and the SFPD all the legal tools they require to keep these buildings safe.

    F. Petition to end completely the UHVP

    1. For all the aforementioned reasons, we hereby request the UHVP be stricken completely from the books or modified in such a manner that does away with the insulting treatment of 30,000 San Francisco residence, merely because we happen constitute a large portion of some of the lowest income population in San Francisco. It is not our fault that the cost of living is so high here, and if we paid the standard $1200-$1400 monthly rental costs now charged for an SRO in San Francisco anywhere else in this country we’d easily be considered at least lower middle class. This fact makes our treatment all the more intolerable and unacceptable, as we are not lowly degenerate criminals and drug addicts as some may tend to believe, and the need for immediate changes to the UHVP an absolute necessity by any standard!

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    About ReimagineSF

    San Francisco-area students have a stake in our city but too often don't have a voice. Together, we can fix that. Just like SF resident Gary Rabkin fixed a dumb bike law.. Giving young San Francisco residents the chance to have a say in city government is what ReimagineSF is all about. The ReimagineSF Civic Engagement Scholarship is brought to you by Supervisor Mark Farrell and The OpenGov Foundation. Please read the contest rules, terms and conditions.

    About, part of the America Decoded network, is the first Internet-Age edition of the city's municipal code, running 100% open-source software and fueled by 100% open law data. Learn more.