Dear SF voters,
Six of the eleven propositions for the Nov 4 San Francisco election relate to housing, development, and the preserving of arts/culture spaces. This election is not only important for San Franciscans, but will set precedents for how other cities deal with corporate-led gentrification.
Here's a cheat sheet that has been approved by all the current community organizations and social justice groups. I'm not asking you to vote exactly the same as everything listed. Please do your own research and make up your own mind. I'm a bit torn on D, but agree with everything else.
The most important parts of this election are:
1. Unseating our corrupt mayor Ed Lee. There are three candidates all working together (imagine that!) to accomplish this. Vote for any one of them, anyone but Ed Lee.1-2-3, Anyone But Ed Lee!
2. Housing Propositions
- PROP A: Borrow $310M For Affordable Housing - Yes
- PROP D: Mission Rock Development - Yes
- PROP F: Enforceable Regulations on AirBnB-Type Rentals - Yes
- PROP I: Pause New Luxury Housing in the Mission - Yes
- PROP J: Help Preserve Legacy Businesses - Yes
- PROP K: Use Surplus City Property for Affordable Housing - Yes
Word on the street is that Prop F has a ton of public support, but Prop I still needs people to vote for it. The Armory / Kink.com, among others, is campaigning against Prop I under the guise of "Save the Music." They're lying about the nature of the proposed luxury housing moratorium and claiming that Prop I will shut them down. This is entirely false. The only effect Prop I will have on the Armory is an 18 month delay of the permits it needs to become a more a permanent venue. Since they can't have it NOW NOW NOW they'd rather campaign against the community and their own neighborhood.
BTW, Broke-Ass Stuart will be stopping by Monday Night Hubba this Monday to say a few words. He said, "Talking at a comedy titty show is about as 'on message' as could be!"
The SPUR voter guide seems quite fact-based and worth a look as well:
The fact that they're against both F and I makes me ignore them immediately.
The SPUR guide is pro big business and not in the interest of anyone but the wealthy.
It is specifically wrong about lots of things. Let's just take one good example of what it says in opposing Prop I:
"The city and local community spent a decade working on the Eastern
Neighborhoods Plan, which was adopted in 2009. This ballot measure undoes
all of that work and many carefully negotiated compromises."
1) The Eastern Neighborhoods Plan was written at the peak of the GREAT RECESSION. Why would anyone think its a good governing document for the GREAT BOOM??? It's clearly not working.
2) The protective provisions in Eastern Neighborhoods are ROUTINELY IGNORED by the SF Planning Dpt and Planning Commission. As such, working class jobs and artists are being driven from the Mission by the thousands. Prop I firmly protects these two groups.
The linked FB post is private? Either that or FB just can't figure out how to serve it up.
Beats me. I think it is impossible at a glance to figure out whether a given FB post is readable to someone-not-me.
I am on board with all of that, or would be if I didn't live across the Big Water, except for: Prop I. My attitude on housing is build build build. Build ALL the housing. Build ALL the transit. Pay for it by taxing the SHIT out of developers on what they want to build. Do it NOW because we're in a boom. With a moratorium, the risk is by the time we get around to building stuff we won't be in a boom any more so we won't be able to pay for anything. I want the Bay Area to get un-stuck, not re-stuck. Anyway my 2¢.
"Build, build, build" sounds great, but most developers have partially or totally deferred their low income housing requirements by paying into a city fund, so this is a "Pause to Plan", to give us time to identify and attempt to purchase at least some of the available, suitable parcels in the mission, of which David Campos says there are 8. I assume this is 8 locations which are suitable for city-funded affordable housing developments like Valencia Gardens, not which are suitable for any construction, but feel free to do your own research.
If the only sites which are suitable for this purpose are purchased by private developers to build luxury developments, it won't be possible to build any affordable housing.
Another important impact of Prop I is to end conversions of PDR spaces ( Production, Distribution, Repair ) into tech offices. The mission neighborhood plan which was developed over roughly a decade relies on a combination of affordable housing and PDR spaces which bring jobs that do not require college degrees and pay enough to (not lavishly) live in the city.
I'm a high income tech worker, but I also don't appreciate the notion that I should be expected to pay 40% or more of my income to housing for any value of my income. That is above the MAXIMUM that anyone should pay, housing should not be a tax. What's the point of some people being able to make more if we can't afford to save for retirement or to start our own business? How, if I wanted to transit from working at a for-profit company to a non-profit org would I leverage my for-profit job to get myself into a place to live which I could afford as a non-profit employee?
Anyway, it's more complex than build build build. Nobody ever wants to build housing for regular people which can suit people of mixed income levels, which is what is best for the community fabric, even though there are countless studies showing that it is just as profitable, esp with the vacancy levels that luxury housing often has. When I moved to SF in 2004 there was nothing available but luxury housing that nobody could afford so it sat empty while we hung sheets in living rooms to create extra bedrooms.
The problem is that this moratorium won't actually stop luxury housing. It just means that instead of buying up vacant lots and building shiny new condos, the rich people will buy up existing housing stock and renovate it into "luxury", or just drive up property values from the sheer fact that they have money and housing is scarce. In the extreme case, this will result in a net loss of housing as townhouses and multi-unit buildings are converted into luxury mansions for the rich (which is in fact a thing that happens in places like Manhattan). And while we wait and see and plan, more and more of everyone's hard earned money is going to the landowners. At least developers build stuff: landowners just sit on their property rights and provide no social value whatsoever.
Your hypothesis may or may not be true in general and in the long term, but this proposition isn't some abstraction, it's a specific 18 month delay to allow the City an opportunity to evaluate and purchase a specific set of empty lots, so that they can be affordable housing rather than luxury condos.
How can it possibly take 18 months to evaluate eight lots?
What has Campos and commonly been doing for the last few years? Is this some huge surprise to them?
Prop I makes no sense to me
Also I don't buy the pattern of: "if you make it hard for them to do X by preventing Y, they'll just do Z instead, so don't bother preventing Y." You have to start somewhere.
Saw this on Twitter today: half the population of Hong Kong lives in subsidized public housing. Why can't we do that in the Bay Area? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_housing_in_Hong_Kong
Bernalwood has a voting guide too, let's see how theirs compares with Jason's on the six development propositions: same same same same different different.
On Prop. I, Todd says: "It makes no sense to address a housing shortage by banning the construction of new housing." Yep.
And on Prop. J the crux of his argument is: "It’s sweet idea, but Prop J would likely be an expensive boondoggle rife with cronyism and abuse." Sadly, yeah.
Do I really want to vote for Mirkarimi as sheriff?
I have yet to determine if this Californian ultra-direct democracy is a good thing or a bad thing.
I think the "Proposition" system is kind of asinine -- we elect representatives and law makers under the theory that they are skilled at representing and making laws, moreso than the general public -- but the system is a thing which exists and with which we have to deal.
Hard to beat Big Fetish.
You'll like this then: https://blog.archive.org/2015/10/29/pro-airbnb-political-tv-ads-air-at-rate-of-1001-as-san-franciscans-head-to-polls/
Prop I ended up losing 57/43. Only three neighborhoods voted in favor of it: The Mission (naturally), North Bernal (adjacent to The Mission), and the TL. I always figured it was going to be tough to get city-wide support for a neighborhood issue.
Prop F, sadly, also lost, by 55/45. I guess that is a pretty bad showing for AirBnB's $8.3e6, but a win would have been better.
Prop A, affordable housing bond: win.
Prop D, Mission Rock development: win.
Prop J, legacy business preservation: win.
Prop K, surplus city property for housing: win.
So overall, the people of SF agree with my "build all the housing" platform plank. Maybe next year there will be some political tests of my companion plank, "build all the transit".