News Domestic and International

Boston Mayor moves to cripple Airbnb in Beantown

Hot Air - 3 hours 25 min ago

Much like Uber, Airbnb has come under attack from people with a vested interest in the status quo and a general fear and loathing of the gig economy. That scenario seems to be playing out yet again in Boston this year, where Mayor Martin J. (Marty) Walsh is rolling out new regulations clearly designed to make it harder for people to engage in such practices. Of course, it’s being portrayed as a way to “alleviate the housing crisis” by his supporters, but that’s a rather dubious claim at best. (Boston Globe)

In a bid to ease Boston’s persistent housing shortage, Mayor Martin J. Walsh is seeking to rein in Airbnb and other online services that have turned thousands of apartments and condos into de facto hotel rooms.

After more than two years of research and discussions among City Hall, housing advocates, and rental companies, the Walsh administration on Monday will propose limits on how frequently landlords can offer their units for short-term stays as opposed to conventional 12-month leases.

If approved by the City Council, the measure could potentially free up as many as 2,000 units for long-term renters, according to city officials. It could also undermine a burgeoning industry in which landlords lease apartments by the night to tourists, business travelers, and other visitors.

The Mayor is claiming that a “persistent housing shortage” is the reason for this maneuver. Of course, that explanation has a lot of problems. First of all, there’s this thing called the free market. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? If there is a demand for more apartments and prices are going up, people can and will build new apartment complexes (or convert existing structures) to fill that void if the government doesn’t make the process too onerous. But we’re talking about Massachusettes here, specifically Boston, so the government pretty much makes everything expensive and painful. By making the environment more friendly to people interested in investing in such opportunities, Walsh could solve several problems at once.

Instead, they’ll go the typical route of attempting to regulate the “problem” out of existence. In this case, they will limit people who lease entire apartments, condos or houses to only 90 nights per year. That basically wipes out three quarters of the year in terms of profits. They claim that those renting out a single room will have “looser guidelines” but that only puts the lie to this campaign in a more stark fashion. If your noble intention it to move more rental units back on the market for long-term leasing, why would you have any restrictions on how many nights someone can lease out their spare bedroom? Nobody is going to be renting out a bedroom by the year to an entire family.

As usual, the more plausible explanation is probably the accurate one. People in the hotel and real estate industries hate Airbnb with a passion because they don’t like the competition. Lobbying groups like the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) have been fighting to put the gig economy out of business from day one and they exert plenty of influence on politicians in the form of cold, hard campaign cash. Local groups with similar interests, such as the Massachusettes Association of Realtors, are equally active, and that outfit has been very generous to Mayor Walsh.

This is all part of a larger tapestry. Last year, the New York Times put together an admirable bit of investigative journalism where they went inside the AHLA and exposed documents which set forth their long-term plan to crush Airbnb. The plan was described as “a multipronged, national campaign approach at the local, state and federal level.” They described how they planned to target, “key markets, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Washington and Miami.”

They also enlisted help from Washington. And who do you go to if you want someone to do a favor for the unions and trade groups? The Democrats, of course.

In New York, the association began working with local affiliates to lobby state legislators and the governor’s office to adopt steeper fines for New York City hosts that list on Airbnb in violation of local law, a move that hotel operators had hoped would help increase their business.

The association also sought help from politicians in Washington. In its documents, the group said it had worked with Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Dianne Feinstein of California. The three Democrats sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in July “raising concerns about the short-term rental industry,” one of the hotel association documents said.

You can read the full document here. They make no effort to conceal their strategy. The plan lays out milestones for getting new legislation restricting Airbnb operators at the city and state level, as well as investing in earned media to “build a national narrative” about how harmful short term rentals are. The goal is to get state and municipal governments to “impose much steeper fees” for violations of rental codes.

Going back to the text of the Boston Globe article, the proposal being put forth by the Mayor and the language he uses to describe it, is any of that sounding familiar? Follow the money, folks. These are the industry lobby groups and their unions using the Mayor of Boston as a ventriloquist dummy.

The post Boston Mayor moves to cripple Airbnb in Beantown appeared first on Hot Air.

Watch Live: FBI “Secret Society” Met Day After Trump Election

Info Wars - 3 hours 27 min ago
A second special counsel may be appointed.

Thank you to General John Kelly, who is doing a fantastic job, and all of the Staff and others in the White House, for a job well done. Long hours and Fake reporting makes your job more difficult, but it is always great to WIN, and few have won more...

Trump Twitter - 3 hours 30 min ago

Thank you to General John Kelly, who is doing a fantastic job, and all of the Staff and others in the White House, for a job well done. Long hours and Fake reporting makes your job more difficult, but it is always great to WIN, and few have won more than us!

Tinky Winky actor Simon Shelton Barnes dies aged 52

Daily Mail - 3 hours 36 min ago
Father-of-three Simon Shelton Barnes, 52, of Ampthill, Bedfordshire, had trained as a ballet dancer and choreographer before taking on the role of Tinky Winky in the BBC TV show Teletubbies.

What's next in the investigation of those missing FBI texts (Byron York/Washington Examiner)

Memeorandum - 3 hours 36 min ago

Byron York / Washington Examiner:
What's next in the investigation of those missing FBI texts  —  Congressional investigators believe they are barely beginning to answer the questions raised by the text messages between the FBI's Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.  For several reasons:  —  1) Strzok and Page were more prolific texters than anyone knew.

A Billionaire Keeps Pushing to Impeach Trump. Democrats Are Rattled. (Alexander Burns/New York Times)

Memeorandum - 3 hours 36 min ago

Alexander Burns / New York Times:
A Billionaire Keeps Pushing to Impeach Trump.  Democrats Are Rattled.  —  Democratic leaders have pressed Tom Steyer privately, urging him to tone down his campaign calling for President Trump's impeachment.  They have prodded him in public, declaring on television that they consider impeachment an impractical idea.

NEIL DIAMOND ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT FROM CONCERT TOURING AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND TOUR DATES CANCELLED (Neil Diamond)

Memeorandum - 3 hours 36 min ago

Neil Diamond:
NEIL DIAMOND ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT FROM CONCERT TOURING AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND TOUR DATES CANCELLED  —  NEIL DIAMOND ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT FROM CONCERT TOURING  —  AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND TOUR DATES CANCELLED  —  Legendary singer, songwriter and performer Neil Diamond today announced …

James Franco SNUBBED by Oscar voters after sex scandal

Daily Mail - 3 hours 36 min ago
James Franco was snubbed by Oscar voters in the wake of his recent sex scandal, despite being nominated for a Screen Actor's Guild Awards and winning the Golden Globe for his work.

Academy Awards Nominations 2018 announced

Daily Mail - 3 hours 37 min ago
The announcements for Academy Awards Nominations 2018 were made by Tiffany Haddish and Andy Serkis from the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Tuesday morning.

Snapchat to let users share stories outside the app

TownHall - 3 hours 37 min ago
(Reuters) - Snap Inc said it is launching a new feature on Snapchat on Tuesday, allowing users to share public stories with friends and family who aren't on the app. The company, which reported lower-than-expected 178 million daily active use

The Latest: Germany criticizes Trump's plan for new tariffs

TownHall - 3 hours 38 min ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. plan to impose new tariffs on certain imports (all times local):9 a.m.Germany is criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to impose tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar panels.

Skiers injured by flying rocks on Japanese volcano

TownHall - 3 hours 38 min ago
TOKYO (AP) — Twelve people, including eight soldiers, skiing on the slopes of a volcano near a famous hot spring resort in central Japan were injured Tuesday by flying rocks during a sudden eruption, officials said. One soldier later died.The er

Funeral mass of Dolores O´Riordan to take place

Daily Mail - 3 hours 38 min ago
Hundreds turned out at Cross's Funeral Home, Ballyneety, near the star's Ballybricken home, to pay their respects to Limerick's rock queen.

'The Shape of Water' leads Oscar nominations with 13 nods

TownHall - 3 hours 38 min ago
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Fox Searchlight's fantasy drama "The Shape of Water" led the Oscar nominations on Tuesday with 13 nods, including the top prize for best picture. It will contend with "Call Me By Your Name," "Darkest Hour," "Dunkirk,"

Uber driver suspected of San Luis Obispo rapes charged with 10 felonies (KSBY-TV)

Memeorandum - 3 hours 41 min ago

KSBY-TV:
Uber driver suspected of San Luis Obispo rapes charged with 10 felonies  —  The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office has filed 10 felony charges against an Uber driver suspected of sexually assaulting at least four women in San Luis Obispo.  The DA says there could be more victims …

Author behind The Woman In The Window wrote in secret

Daily Mail - 3 hours 42 min ago
The Woman In The Window, the debut novel of American-born author Daniel Mallory, 38, has been hailed as a successor to best-selling thriller The Girl On The Train.

U.S. cloud-computing failure could spur up to $19 billion in losses: Lloyd's

TownHall - 3 hours 43 min ago
By Suzanne Barlyn (Reuters) - A cyber problem that temporary shuts down a top U.S. cloud computing provider could trigger as much as $19 billion in business losses, only a fraction of which would be insured, Lloyd's of London said in a report

The Latest: Best animated film Oscar nominations announced

TownHall - 3 hours 45 min ago
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on the announcement of nominees for the 90th annual Oscar nominations announced Tuesday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from Beverly Hills, California (all times local):6 a.m.The

Catalan ex-leader says he's working to return home

TownHall - 3 hours 45 min ago
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said Tuesday that he is working to return home to be re-elected as the regional president, but stopped short of saying when and how.Puigdemont, who faces almost-certain arrest if

Pages

Subscribe to RoderickE aggregator - News Domestic and International