Fed leaves short-term rate where it is

If you took out a home equity line of credit before 2004, you undoubtedly noticed that the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate at 17 of its meetings in a row, between June 2004 and June 2006. For the fifth time, though, the Fed has left the rate at 5.25%, leading some Wall Street types to predict that the rate will hold steady for the rest of 2007. CNN Money has the low down: the news sent stocks way up; energy prices have come down, so inflation isn’t as much of a worry as it was last year; and “the housing market is stabilizing.”

The next election is 270 days away

And the San Francisco Examiner is sizing up the competition that Gavin Newsom might face for the mayor’s race. Well, not really. I don’t really expect Sarah and No Name from Alice 97.3 to run for mayor, but if they did, the Examiner gives them a 1,000,000-1 chance of winning. Dave Morey from KFOG fares a bit better in their hypothetical race at 1,000-1.

What about the real politicos in our midst? Chris Daly? (Please, no, don’t let it happen…) They give him 50-1 odds of unseating the mayor. That ought to keep some folks up at night.

The Examiner is posting a new person each day Monday-Saturday until election day on November 6. So far no one has declared as a candidate, but this is San Francisco, so stay tuned.

What are the odds?

Perhaps you’ve heard the term BMR — it stands for below market rate, and it applies to housing units that are made available to people who make a certain percentage of the Bay Area median income, depending on the building. The new Heritage on Fillmore, scheduled to open in the spring, has 12 BMR units — and 700 applications for those condos.

For more information on the BMR program, check out the website for the Mayor’s Office of Housing, which administers the program.

Trinity Plaza redevelopment — on again?

Trinity Plaza at Market & 8th used to be a hotel and now it’s a political football as well as home to 360 low-income tenants. The owner wants to build 1,900 new apartments, give the current 360 tenants lifetime leases at their rent-controlled rates, and add 185 units of below-market rate housing. Trinity Plaza is in Chris Daly’s district, and since he’s the biggest tantrum-thower on the board, one might expect that when this deal was struck it would stick. However, late in 2006 Sophie Maxwell and Jake McGoldrick demanded more below-market rate units and almost scuttled the whole deal when the developer threatened to throw up his hands and walk away. More background on the project is here.

The Planning Commission just voted to send the proposal back to the Supervisors for another vote, and Daly is saying that he thinks McGoldrick’s demand of 46 to 48 more affordable units will be met by the developer, Angelo Sangiacomo. That’s according to today’s Examiner.

No word from Sangiacomo yet on what he’ll do.

This is desperately needed housing that protects current tenants and will help revitalize a run-down area. Leave it to the supervisors, who are big fans of changing the rules retroactively, to jeopardize this development by trying to force a later set of rules on an earlier agreement. We’ll keep you posted as this progresses.

Get your veggies at a park near you?

Soon you might not have to go to the Ferry Building or Alemany Blvd. to get your farmer’s market fix. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi has introduced legislation to allow farmer’s markets to operate in city parks, including the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park. Check out the story here — and let your supervisor know if you support this idea. I’m all for it — as much as I love the farmer’s market at the Ferry Building, it would be amazing to walk to one in Golden Gate Park.

How to opt out from phone calls, mail, and so much more!

from the New York Times, via LifeHacker:

Phone solicitations: donotcall.gov
Junk snail mail: Direct Marketing Association
Email: “Whatever you do, do not respond to an unsolicited e-mail message when it gives you the option to opt out of receiving more e-mail. That is a trick used by spammers to confirm they hit a live address.”
Credit card offers: OptOutPrescreen.com
Doubleclick ad cookies: Ad Cookie Opt-out
Lexis Nexis public database: Opt Out of Lexis Nexis

Lastly, the Center for Democracy and Technology offers printable forms for companies that don’t have an online opt-outs available. — Gina Trapani/LifeHacker