JULY 14, 2014 — San Francisco politics is full of mythology, and one of the great myths of 2014 is that the progressives, the community activists, the neighborhoods are somehow to blame for the housing crisis.
Not the commercial office developers and the politicians who did their bidding; not the Redevelopment Agency that wiped out thousands of units. Not greed or speculation; no, it’s the fault of the rest of us.
Listen to this video to get a little mythbusting.
As Calvin Welch, who has been watching local politics and housing issues since the 1960s, points out, the same people who want to blame the community were for decades actively pushing policies that put us in the mess we’re in. Nobody wanted to build housing in the 1970s and 1980s; there was too much money in commercial office development. Only the so-called Nimbys pushed for housing – affordable housing mandates for office development, for example. None of the pro-market political leaders wanted to demand that the office developers pay to house all the new workers they were attracting; that was the left, the progressives, who pointed out the crisis coming and demanded action.
Watch a real historian who was there through it all tell you the truth. It’s the best ten minutes you’ll spend all day.
Video by Peter Menchini/Maya Media
Tomorrow: Why San Francisco can’t build itself out of this crisis. In ten minutes.