That’s what’s in store for the South Bay. Why doesn’t SF seem to care?

How many more shuttles will we need to bring the next 16,000 Apple employees to work?
How many more shuttles will we need to bring the next 16,000 Apple employees to work?

By Tim Redmond

NOVEMBER 5, 2015 – A long, long time ago, when Berkeley was run by a very progressive City Council and mayor, the city planners from that town used to submit testimony to the San Francisco Planning Commission.

It was the early 1980s, and the SF agency was in the process of approving tens of millions of square feet of new office space, which was driving up housing demand as white-collar workers moved here to take jobs in finance, insurance, corporate management, and real-estate.

Sound familiar? It was the first phase of SF’s ongoing battles over housing, and lead to the first rent-control laws.

But Berkeley saw it as a problem on both sides of the Bay. See, the private sector had no interest in building housing in the region, since the money was all in office development. So when the housing crunch started to hit SF, and the rent started to go up, people fled to the East Bay. And that was causing a housing shortage for our neighbors across the bridge.

It was also causing traffic problems on the bridge, as more and more commuters tried to drive into SF each morning.

(That situation created one of my all-time favorite moments in local planning history. An environmental impact report on one of the new highrises acknowledged that a significant number of the 2,000 or so new workers the project would attract might live in the East Bay and drive to work, but it still stated that “rush hour traffic on the Bay Bridge will not be impacted.”

(How is that possible? Simple: The report defined “rush hour” as 6:30am-9am – and during those 2.5 hours, the bridge was already at full, maximum capacity. No more cars would fit – thus, no impact!)

At any rate, the leaders of Berkeley were not thrilled that SF was acting like an island, not a peninsula, and was making decisions that had a direct impact on nearby cities. So the Berkeley planners would regularly demand that the EIRs and commission decisions took into account impacts beyond the city borders.

Now the situation is reversed. Communities to our south are making planning decisions that lead to frightening rates of displacement in San Francisco. Peninsula cities approve huge new tech office complexes and build no housing, so a lot of the workers wind up in San Francisco, where, by the way, there are private shuttles to take them to work.

And here we go again.

Apple is going to build a huge new campus just north of San Jose, right along 101.  We’re talking 4.15 million square feet of space, bigger than the “spaceship” campus in Cupertino.

You think San Jose is going to build enough housing for about 15,000 new workers?

You think there will be shuttle buses to bring people there from San Francisco?

You think that’s too long a commute?

Maybe. But it’s going to have some impact on the local housing market, and nobody in SF City Hall seems to want to do anything about it.

Shouldn’t Mayor Lee at the very least communicate with San Jose officials and express concern? Shouldn’t the city attorney look at whether Peninsula cities have the legal right to create housing problems for the rest of us?

Shouldn’t the people of San Jose be asking: How much will my rent go up?

Just asking.

 

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Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
  • GoBlueInSF

    Turn about is fair play bub. The entire Bay Area – and that includes SF – has nobody but itself to blame for its 40 years of under development and anti-growth NIMBYism. Contrary to what the old and dying Left of SF, Berkeley et all believe, you can either oppose displacement or you can oppose development, but you cannot oppose both. Their is nothing progressive about being anti-growth. The only mantra a progressive should be chanting is: Build, build, build.

    • MKR

      That seems to be a common theme on this blog , that somehow Progressives in SF hindered development and stunted housing growth but it doesn’t make any sense. If there is money to be made developers are going to build. Twenty years ago most of the big money was still made on the East Coast. So there was not much incentive to build. It’s not like there were developers knocking on the door to build and any one political party could stop it.

      • RealFakeSanFranciscan

        We’re now in the _eighth_ year of the effort to build a complex at 1050 Valencia that was entirely in compliance with building codes in the first place.

        Yes, housing growth in SF gets stunted by politics. All over the place.

      • GoBlueInSF

        Bwahahahahhahahahaha. Give me an effing break. SF for last 40 year is positively LITTERED with anti-growth activists stopping projects, slowing down the pace of development to a crawl, and insisting on long, drawn out “community processes” in connection with modest proposals to up zone areas of SF to accommodate growth. Look at the Western SOMA Plan – there is so much under-zoning baked into that plan as a consequence of neighborhood activists. And even today, those self-same activists want to re-open the plan and argue over it all over again.

        Also too – the developers of 8 Washington would LOVE to hear how the anti-growth activists are just a figment of the imagination. I’ve never seen such insanity – where rich rich condo owners in the high rise next door convinced the SF Left that is was “progressive” to kill a high project in the Financial District and use the ballot box to protect the view of a bunch of millionaires.

        • hiker_sf

          Anti-growth activists are not just from the left. The movement started decades ago when Republican Caspar Weinberger, started an activist movement against the Fontana Towers. He later served various cabinet posts under Nixon, Ford and Reagan. He was also head of the Republican Party in California. There are many other ‘conservatives’ who are against building-out the city and it is rare when voters approve large projects on the first pass.

          8 Washington can be built – within the existing height limits. Conservatives, certainly those who live nearby, were also against allowing it to be exempt from height limits and so are voters city-wide and they have stated so on various blogs.

          Thinking that all conservatives support the Manhattanization of San Francisco is like thinking that all Republicans are Christian nutcases. They aren’t.

          Residents can and do decide what the future of SF is. It is up to city leaders to make the case, and they have failed to do so.

          • GoBlueInSF

            The fact that conservative homeowners are NIMBYs and anti-growth does not preclude the Left from being equally anti-growth. Its quite clear, that for the last 40 years, the opposition to development in SF has come as much – if not more – from the Left than the Right. There aren’t enough Republicans in San Francisco to make a fart, let alone stall out development in SF to the degree that it has. Its a product of an obscene alliance between reactionary NIMBY homeowners and the SF “progressives” that has resulted in the complete under-supply of housing in SF. I realize how butthurt the Left has gotten now that more and more people are pushing back on their nonsense, but it doesn’t change facts on the ground.

            As far as the Manhattanization of SF? That old canard? Jesus, the Left in SF is tired. And I got news for you – SF is ALREADY Manhattanized. Thanks to anti-growth activists (both NIMBY homeowners and self-proclaimed ‘progressives’), San Francisco now sports apartment rents that are more expensive than NYC. So congrats, you’ve now made San Francisco even more unaffordable than living in New York. Quite an accomplishment.

            The innumeracy, it burns, it burns.

          • Ragazzu

            If you have any financial stake in SF development, real estate, etc., then you should admit it outright. It’s hilarious to read disingenuous comments by developers and property owners who pretend to have tenants’ and workers’ best interests at heart (like troll Sam, who goes by many names) when it’s a personal pocketbook issue.

          • whateversville

            This implication that anyone who disagrees with you is a paid shill is fucking ridiculous.

            Sincerely,
            A renter, who cannot afford a house in San Francisco.

          • Ragazzu

            I didn’t say paid shill, I said someone with…oh reread my damn comment.

          • That’s why it was an implication, not a statement.

          • RealFakeSanFranciscan

            The insistence that everyone who wants more housing is necessarily a “paid developer shill” is the most obnoxious trope in SF politics, period.

            Let it be known: There are a whole lot of people around here in substandard, overpriced housing they don’t want to live in forever, and want more opportunity to settle here. And they’re not paid to want it! Honest!

          • GoBlueInSF

            i do not have any financial stake in SF development, real estate, etc. I don’t work for a real estate developer, or a real estate investor, etc. None, Zilch, Nada.

            Sorry bub, there are people who can do math and understand how housing market economics work, and who understand who misguides the anti-growthers are – and who are NOT tied to real estate developers. Regardless of the fantasies of Tim Redmond and his ilk.

          • Ragazzu

            That’s all I wanted to know. You’re wrong, but at least you sound sincere. Thanks.

          • GoBlueInSF

            Wrong because I can do math and understand how markets function….Interesting conclusion… Totally illogical, but interesting…

          • Izsak

            You can do math? Wow!

          • Izsak

            Don’t you get it – he understands ‘how things work’! Very smart man!

          • sffoghorn

            Growth for its own sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. Why do you want us to engage in politically carcinogenic activities?

          • wcw

            La Lengua para la Yelamu!

          • NoeValleyJim

            You are my hero GoBlue. I have been saying this for 15 years and pilloried by “the left” in San Francisco even though I am a Social Democrat. I warned them that their mindless and self-interested obsession with blocking housing development would lead to shortages but was ignored and mocked.

            Well now it has happened. At least I secured a house for myself and my family so that I can stay here no matter what. I am not happy to have been proven right but hey, maybe they can finally stop blaming “techies” and work on a real solution.

          • GoBlueInSF

            I feel ya. My personal politics would probably be social democracy as well, especially along the Nordic model.

            But the opposition to growth among the “left” in SF is essentially not progressive position but conservative one – reactionary, resistant to change, and proceeding from an emotional response rather than a reason-based one. Its not surprising that the SF left then finds common cause with conservative NIMBYs. Their opposition is cut from the exact same cloth.

          • Izsak

            How are we supposed to blame the left when you bring established fact into the conversation, hiker_sf?

          • Fishchum

            The original plans for 8 Washington WERE within the existing height limits – and guess what? They looked boxy, and Planning recommended that they adobt a more “terraced” design, with taller towers in the back and stepping down towards the street so it didn’t seem as imposing.

            The whole “outrage” over height limits was fueled by one couple who spent six figures getting the initiative to kill the project on the ballot.

          • hiker_sf

            Still, that couple was outspent by the developer and voters agreed with them.

            And those planning recommendations – why is it that boxy and worse architecture is sprouting all over the city but suddenly, and just this ONE time, Planning objected to it? Could it be that they used it as an excuse to increase the height limits for someone well connected?

            How often is it and why is it that Newsom got involved with a local code issue and the Port Commission too? Sorry, using a macro-level lens to view all of the players, this is nothing more than corruption.

          • Fishchum

            The voters were duped – there wasn’t one legitimate reason to oppose “a wall on the waterfront” (which it wasn’t).

            And sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, unless you’ve got some real proof of corruption you’re entering tin foil hat territory to make that assertion.

          • hiker_sf

            Voters have voted at least 4 times for initiatives that support height limits on the waterfront. That’s some lucky duping.

            Oh maybe you are in the minority on this.

          • Fishchum

            No one has given me one legitimate reason to oppose 8 Washington. Not one.

          • hiker_sf

            The majority of voters city-wide, like me, want to maintain strict height limits on the waterfront. Unlike many voters, I support raising the height limits in other parts of the city. And no, I don’t have a view of any part of the Embarcadero, so it isn’t me being selfish because of my view.

          • Fishchum

            Height limits in order to prevent a monstrosity like the Fontana Towers are one thing.

            Again – no one has given me one legitimate reason to oppose 8 Washington.

            Not. One.

        • Robotsrule

          So San Franciscans should sacrifice quality of life for tech companies? We don’t owe them anything. And they could be anywhere. There’s nothing about that industry that requires that its workers live in San Francisco.

          • GoBlueInSF

            There is no quality of life that is being sacrificed with increased density. By adding 200,000 or more units of housing to SF, we’d bring down average rents, which would INCREASE the quality of life for the average renter because they wouldn’t have to fork over half their income to their landlord.

            As for other intangibles, SF has about 18,000 people per square mile. Paris has about 53,000 people per square mile. Nobody describes Paris as some un-livable wasteland. Quite the opposite in fact. It is entirely possible to have a high density city that is quite livable.

            The QOL argument is just a crock.

          • Robotsrule

            The city was fine before. It owes nothing to tech companies. I’ve been here for 40 years, my family for 100. If I say it’s effecting quality of life you can’t argue with my experience.

          • goingnative

            So tired of people pulling the “I’ve lived here for X years” card, what does that have to do with anything? This is the delusional select group of medieval chieftains Willie Brown talked about.

          • Robotsrule

            Sorry you’re so frustrated with people who have attachments to things they’re connected to. Take care.

          • goingnative

            You can be attached and connected to where you’re from, nothing’s wrong with that. I just don’t see what relevance it bears to the discussion except for your hope that SF remain frozen in time. Castro today isn’t Castro circa 1973. Time passes, things change. Be like the bamboo.

          • sffoghorn

            No, we are all “all in” on amber futures with which to seal the city in so that it never changes!

          • I had a bright future in Amber, until I got booted off a certain web site that sounds like a deviant sexual practice. Amber!!!

          • Izsak

            That’s very zen but change has been swift and dramatic over a short period of time. I don’t think one can be blamed for wishing for the past, because SF hummed along happily for about century before now. The body is trying to process its trauma.

          • wcw

            San Francisco has changed radically over the past half century or more. Any claims it ‘hummed along happily’ over the period since 1960, probably more accurately 1940, is controverted by history including urban renewal, flight to the suburbs, decline of the port and industry, and on and on.

          • I grew up on the Peninsula. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for over half my life. My ancestors moved here during the Gold Rush. Now I rent in San Francisco. And I don’t work in tech. I would love to see San Francisco and other cities on the Peninsula become more dense. I vote to support such policies and I contribute money to groups that represent the interests of renters in the area.
            Besides, living in dense areas and using transportation alternatives is one of the best things you can do to reduce your environmental impact. The Bay Area’s mild climate makes it especially energy efficient because our heating and cooling needs aren’t as great as in other areas of the country that have, you know, weather.
            It seems extremely selfish to keep people out of the area when you look at the environmental benefits of having them live here.

            The environment: something we’re all connected to. And need to take care of.

          • sffoghorn

            Where will their water come from?

            Where will their environmentally sensitive locally sourced heirloom shit created daily by artisans in small batches go?

          • 1) About 11% of the water in California is used for urban/residential purposes. Of that, a touch more than half is used in landscaping and outdoor uses. And when you live in high-density residential areas, you don’t get to have your own personal lawn sucking up our state’s liquid gold. So in addition to making energy usage more efficient, we can have a similar effect with water usage.

            2) I have no idea how that helps reduce energy usage and water usage. Why do you bring it up?

          • sffoghorn

            Where will their shit go, where will the effluent of the affluent newcomers flow? Off the edge of your artificially constrained model, that’s where.

          • San Francisco has just started working on a $2.7 billion dollar upgrade of our sewer system. It’s the first phase of $6.7 billion dollar plan. Our current system is over 100 years old and was first built when the population of the city was less than half of what we have now. Of course, along the way, new facilities and improvements have been added.

            To build more housing in the city, we’re going to have to figure out how to treat more poop. That’s true. Fortunately that is not an insurmountable problem. In fact, some very smart people have already been thinking about it, long before you posed the question without doing any of your own research into it.

            If you don’t like new people, just come right out and say it! We get it. You hate change, you hate sharing, you hate people who might work in tech, and you miss the old days of SF. You’ve got yours and everyone else can eff off.

            I’m surprised that you haven’t brought up one of the realistic downsides of increased density: the spread of pathogens. People in more isolated communities with lower density are going to have better protections against any untreatable super-bugs that develop. That is a risk I am willing to take in order to live more efficiently. (But seriously people need to stay up to date on their immunizations.)

          • sffoghorn

            If you oppose comprehensive urban planning in favor of housing at all costs, then just come out and say it.

            The fact is that there are no plans in place to scale the wastewater system up to service the populations you suggest.

            The fact is that there are no plans to scale the transit system up to service the populations you suggest.

            Unable to address substantive critiques of your juvenile effort at entering the urban planning discourse, you now resort to trying to change the subject by making assertions as to my motives and desires.

            Politics and urban planning are hard because the City is already 90% built out. They do not lend themselves to such simplistic solutions. Upzoning the BART and CalTrain ring to San Francisco’s 45′ would do more to relieve pressure on housing regionally than building luxury condos in SF will. But you don’t care about that.

          • Izsak

            It’s not relevant in itself, but it does give one perspective. It’s not an argument in itself.

          • Wagnerian_thrice

            You can’t possibly be defending Willie Brown. And you know what? Having lived here for 40 years actually does mean something.

          • NoeValleyJim

            Believe or not, the world does not revolve around you. You only get one vote, no matter how long you or your family has lived here. Thankfully, most San Franciscans agree with me: that keeping housing inexpensive and helping the environment are more important than your concerns about parking.

          • Robotsrule

            I’m not too concerned about parking. And I certainly want more housing. But I also don’t think incentivizing the changes that are happening culturally to the city are helping anything. The housing for companies in the South Bay should be built in the South Bay, not here, with private busses taking them to work while the rest of us have to pay for transportation.

          • NoeValleyJim

            We are in agreement here. We need more housing in South Bay for the jobs there as well

          • Ragazzu

            Just because you CAN increase the population of SF by 25% doesn’t mean you SHOULD. There’s a reason most film and literature about Los Angeles is apocalyptic in theme.

          • GoBlueInSF

            Bwahahahahaha.

            And for the record, LA is seriously less dense than SF. The total zoned capacity of LA is actually less today than it was 40 years ago. So to the degree SF is post-apocalyptic, its because of downzoning and lack of density. Not the opposite.

            Try to get your facts straight bub.

          • Ragazzu

            L.A. built out instead of up. But that traffic sure is dense. So are those smog particles. And water? Where will all the water come from once the Bay Area catches up with L.A in population?

            A tech monoculture, like any other, is completely vulnerable to the vagaries of the market.

            Problem is, your arguments are purely and only market-based. Your type can’t fathom the complexity of humanity and the nuances of city culture.

          • “L.A. built out instead of up” which is why “that traffic sure is dense. So are those smog particles.”
            The answers you seek are inside you.

          • Ragazzu

            We have smog alerts (“spare the air” days) regularly now–every warm spell. That’s new. People still insist on driving. Uber, Lyft, Taskrabbit, Postmates, Amazon Prime, Google Shopping and on and on all cater to techies and account for literally tens of thousands more cars on ours streets. So keep building?

            And what about water needs?

          • wcw

            San Francisco uses the least water per person of any county in the state. 80% of water use in the state is agricultural, and the bulk of agricultural products are exported.

            California has plenty of water for people and in particular for people in San Francisco. Bringing up water in opposition to growth in the city seems disingenuous, at best.

          • Ragazzu

            “California has plenty of water…”

            That’s novel! Love it! And what if the drought worsens?

            The “plenty of water” you mention will come as sea and bay levels rise. What then? Where’s Treasure Island? What happened to the Marina?

          • wcw

            Those numbers are not controversial. Ag (including lawns) uses the vast bulk of water in California. San Francisco uses by far the least per person. If you don’t support depopulation and are not scaremongering, then you support growth here.

          • Ragazzu

            Sure, slow growth. Sea level rise is not controversial either.

          • wcw

            Agreed. If you want to argue that the only answer to global warming is depopulation, do. If not, though, again you’ll want more people in San Francisco, and fewer sprawled in suburbs.

          • Ragazzu

            Why must San Francisco alone bear the brunt just because tech is based in the Bay Area? Why must we offer our beautiful city up for sacrifice in the name of “progress”?

          • wcw

            Who brunts what now?

            People have to live somewhere. The price of keeping San Francisco small is even more sprawl elsewhere and even more displacement of progressively more of ‘our beautiful city’ by the few, very rich who can still afford it.

            Seems an ugly alternative. What makes that the better idea?

          • Ragazzu

            Having lived through enough economic downturns, I’m not convinced of your scenario. Massive development benefits “the few, very rich” first and foremost. Were there no lessons to be learned after the first dot-com crash? Remember those holes that were dug but not developed for years? Why the rush, rush, rush? Expecting a bubble to pop?

          • wcw

            The lesson after dot-com was supply and demand: if 30,000 people leave and you add 15,000 units, asking rents drop.

            There is no reason, politics and competence aside, that the government could not build public housing. How does public housing primarily benefit the very rich?

          • ockysays

            But isn’t a big part of the issue that Apple is building near San Jose, but the housing for those workers is expected to be filled 60 miles away in SF? It would be one thing if Apple decided to move that campus into SF and then the expectation of housing workers here would make sense. I’m interested in your opinion, because you seem to take a more reasoned approach than most commenters.

          • Not everyone insists on driving. Funnily enough, millennials are driving less than previous generations AND getting blamed for our crumbling highway infrastructure. Old people who built suburbs are often the same ones who insist on driving. Younger people are turning their backs on that way of life, because it’s stupidly wasteful.

            If people live and work in dense communities, then deliveries of goods (Postmates, Amazon Prime, Google shopping) can be made more efficient. Simply because those delivery companies can reach more people in fewer trips. Workers aren’t reliant on inefficient private automobiles that carry 1 person wrapped in 3 tons of material to go 10+ miles down the road twice a day. So yes, keep building as densely as possible.

            As for water needs, I answered this question further up-thread, but urban/residential water needs makes up about 11% of the water used in CA. Half of that is used in landscaping/outdoor use. So yeah, if everyone new to California moved into high-density housing, their impact on water needs could be minimized.

            As for food “the vast majority of the energy associated with food production is in the production phase rather than the transportation phase” http://freakonomics.com/2012/06/07/you-eat-what-you-are-pt-2-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/ Even our crazily complex worldwide food distribution networks are quite energy efficient, partly because certain economies of scale can be realized.

            And finally, the type of food that we eat makes a huge difference in terms of resource management. Not saying we all have to switch to a vegetarian diet, but cutting back on red meat consumption (and production) would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

            tl;dr dense up, ditch your car, ditch your lawn, eat less red meat

          • whateversville

            Are you comfortable with the idea that only millionaires will live in San Francisco, except for a handful of affordable housing lottery winners?

          • Izsak

            I just want to go on record and say that I am comfortable with this.

          • Kyle Huey

            I applaud your honesty, if not your sentiments.

          • jhayes362

            Are you comfortable with the idea that we are moving in that direction right now?

          • “Will live?” There ain’t nothing future tense about it! It’s happening right now, except for those in rent-controlled units. As those units disappear, so does anyone who can’t shell out the cash.

          • whateversville

            hell no. i find that idea repellant. we should build a ton of BMR housing, so that lottery becomes easier to win, but that can’t be the entire solution. we need more housing across the board. some tall buildings downtown and 4-6 stories along transit routes is a very modest way of growing the city, and it’s boggling to me that there’s such opposition to doing so.

          • wcw

            Los Angeles is the poster child for low density sprawl.

          • whateversville

            “It appears to me that you are in danger of making a very fundamental mistake concerning both your own identity and that of the young people who are coming to us. They are not some horde of invading foreigners. They are our children, yours and mine, exercising their right to move freely about a country which will soon be very much their own. You for your part are not some select group of medieval chieftains who can, at will, close up your town and withdraw behind the walls of your own closed society. The City of St. Francis deserves better from you. Whether we like or dislike, agree or disagree with the ‘Hip’ community is not the issue here. The issue is whether you can by fiat declare a minority unwelcome in our community. If you declare against these young people today, what minority is going to bear the brunt of your discrimination tomorrow?” — Willie Brown, 1967

          • goingnative

            Holy God yes thank you.

          • Y.

            He was talking about people rejected for their culture, and indeed some people didn’t like the hippies (and still don’t), but the hippies didn’t drive up housing prices. The problem with Apple employees and such is not their culture. It’s that they are paid twice as much as people working in most other fields, driving up prices beyond the reach of non-techies.

          • whateversville

            “The problem with Apple employees and such is not their culture.”

            And yet threads like this always suggest (or state outright) that new residents (all of whom are incorrectly presumed to be working in tech) are killing the soul of the city by driving out its culture.

            “It’s that they are paid twice as much as people working in most other fields”

            Is that the workers’ fault? Should they return the money to Apple, one of the most profitable companies on the planet, who earns $2M in revenue per employee, who was named in a class-action lawsuit (along with a dozen other tech companies) as part of a wage-fixing scheme negotiated amongst the CEOs of those companies?

            Or, should we consider tech to be an example of what happens when workers hold more cards than their employers, and advocate for better conditions and pay for everyone, and look at the fortunate and wealthier members of the working class as allies in that fight?

          • Y.

            The culture of SF is driven out by high prices. Along with the artists and the culture are many ordinary citizens. The culture is just the most visible part of that (to some).
            I’m not blaming the workers or their culture. It’s a fact that Apple, Google et al. need to hire and can hire tens of thousands of employees at six-figure salaries. The whole point of this article is that the Bay Area can’t economically handle that influx.

      • Izsak

        Thank you. I just wrote the same thing before reading this. The interest wasn’t here even six years ago.

    • Y.

      They are already build, build, building offices. 15,000 more people looking for housing is like removing 15,000 housing units from the market. How’s that for “anti-housing”?

      • p_chazz

        No, because people already living and working in the Bay Area will take some of those jobs. For them, the net effect will be zero.

        • Y.

          How many of those are there? And someone will have to replace these in the jobs they are currently working. And where will those people live?

          • wcw

            Having lots of jobs around seems a good thing. What is the suggestion, purposefully choke off job growth? To what end?

          • Y.

            To the end of stabilizing the population. To the end of ensuring good living conditions, same as when governments purposefully encourage job growth.

          • wcw

            How would that work, exactly? How do we distinguish this policy from one of depopulation?

          • Y.

            I don’t know, but people need to start thinking about it.

          • wcw

            People have been thinking about it since at least Malthus. China just scrapped a one-child policy that didn’t come out of nowhere.

            How many people should there be? And if the answer is ‘many fewer,’ how do we get there without immiserating billions?

          • Y.

            I’m not advocating depopulation as a whole. I just think that areas that are getting denser much quicker than the rest (like ours) should be able to make the point that the same population could have less of an impact elsewhere. Doing nothing is already shifting a lot of people from the Bay area to the Central Valley, except they happen to be poorer people than the techies.

          • wcw

            Interesting; the energy, water, emissions and other numbers suggest that developments in the Delta have more of an impact.

            How is it preferable for farmland to go from densities of 0 to 3.5k per square (another Antioch, as an example), rather than for San Francisco’s built up area to go from 22k to 25k?

          • Y.

            Build highrises in Stockton and the Sacramento suburbs, then, instead of insta-sprawl, and leave a lot of open space in between.

          • wcw

            Aside from keeping people the heck out out of San Francisco, what utility does that serve? Weather, landscape, transit, water use, all are still negatives. All that drops is paving farmland.

          • Y.

            It serves stabilizing housing prices in SF, which is what this all is about. Just as building up Silicon Valley kept the pressure off SF until the first dot-com boom (though I wish they’d built denser and kept some orchards).

          • wcw

            Pressure off? Measured how? Residential prices and rents certainly rose faster here than elsewhere then, too.

            The decision point is where people should live. Some think the benefits of cities should be shared widely; that’s certainly the more efficient, lower impact option. What’s the alternative goal: the policy that makes SF most like 1962?

          • Y.

            They are shared widely, until they can’t do so anymore. The decision point is where the benefits start going down. Or is your alternative the Lower East Side, circa 1900?

          • wcw

            Well, yes: unless you use a different method of rationing, wealth is going to win out in a North Atlantic economy. That is probably not a good thing, except that all the alternatives aren’t very good, either.

            20,000 refugees should be easy for the greater Bay Area. It will never happen, but it should.

          • Only if you build out Cal Train first to those cities.

          • Y.

            People already commute from there. there’s an Amtrak commuter to Sacto. Anyway, what I’m saying is if the big tech companies moved there, the commute would be local.

          • I think the city governments of Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Cupertino might have some issues with that. In fact, I think everyone would– if you’re going to move to Sacramento or Modesto, why not Las Vegas?

            I get the gist of your argument, though– why put jobs where there’s no housing. That’s just the way it is. Eventually, I believe there will be more housing once some of the big projects in the South Bay (like Centennial Gateway on Tasman and Diridon Station in San Jose) get going. It won’t be “affordable,” but that ship has sailed– to the Central Valley. Regionally, by failing to have a plan, that is the decision politicians have made.

          • FLOlmsted

            Simple – if there’s no office space available, then companies will have to locate elsewhere. As new companies do so, it’ll buy the bay area time to build more housing.

          • wcw

            So, depopulate the area by moving explicit displacement from residences to workplaces. As the most successful businesses bid up what little work space remains, all other businesses will have to move, and everyone working for them will have to move with them, or somehow survive unemployment.

            Is that desirable? Unemployment has terrible lifelong effects on people, and this exports the problem rather than solving it.

          • FLOlmsted

            Yeah, you started out right. See, the thing is, people need a home to survive. It’s a primary need. An office is not, so restrict the construction of offices.

          • wcw

            Most homeless people end up that way due to job loss.

          • FLOlmsted

            They’ll move back in with mommy and daddy. It’ll be ok.

          • wcw

            I suppose compared with suggesting mass murder to lower San Francisco rents, promoting job loss is enlightened.

          • FLOlmsted

            The latter would be fun!

          • MSS SF

            Hi – I can understand the intuition behind the concept you are trying to express. It would be helpful to explain why you think it can work. Is there any emperical global experience or research that lends weight to the view?
            For such a dramatic policy – balancing the equation by stopping demand as apposed to increasing supply, there should be IMO convincing analysis. Otherwise the risk that it is wrong is too high for can governing body to practically take on.
            You may as well be right in your view.

          • FLOlmsted

            To the end of not exceeding the carrying capacity of the region.

            It’s like how, back east, they would increase the take limit on deer when populations boomed, because otherwise you get inbreeding, starvation for lack of food, and deer running into streets more frequently causing accidents. Now I’m not saying we should hunt the tech employees to thin the herd, but…

          • wcw

            At least that’s honest. Who in this Logan’s Run world decides which populations are go to Carrousel, the architects?

            Bad jokes about ugly ideas aside, what is the evidence that San Francisco or the Bay Area are anywhere near capacity?

          • FLOlmsted

            It’s a good joke about an excellent idea, actually. That idea being that we shouldn’t create conditions that allow populations to exceed carrying capacity.

            You’re blind if you don’t see the evidence.

          • wcw

            Whew, punk rock: it takes real courage of conviction to advocate mass slaughter. Kudos for the honesty, if not for the sentiment.

          • FLOlmsted

            Reading comprehension is consistently weak in this one… Go back to first grade, WCW.

          • wcw

            ‘..Logan’s Run world..Carrousel’ == ‘Bad jokes about ugly ideas’

            “It’s a good joke about an excellent idea, actually.”

            Doesn’t that describe mass slaughter as an excellent idea?

          • FLOlmsted

            Ummm, take things out of context, much? You’re a regular Fox News, buddy.

          • NoeValleyJim

            Maybe we should hunt Progressive Boomers with part time jobs instead.

        • FLOlmsted

          Dude, math. Let’s be generous and say 10,000 of those employees are already living in the bay area, so it’s only 5k new bedrooms needed.

          Guess what!? That leave 10k jobs vacant… which will be filled by… new residents? HA!

    • Robotsrule

      Where are they going to build in SF? Golden Gate Park? This isn’t San Francisco’s problem. If Apple needs more employees they can build a tent city in Gilroy for them. There’s not very much room to build here.

      • GoBlueInSF

        There is no such thing as a city which has “run out of room”. San Francisco is notoriously under-zoned given its position as a major jobs centers and the primary CBD for the entire Bay Area. SF is half as dense as NYC, which in turns is about half as dense than Paris. At Parisian levels of density – that notorious hellhole of Europe – we’d likely have 400,000 more people (or more) able to live in SF.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/10/06/there-is-no-such-thing-as-a-city-that-has-run-out-of-room/

        • Robotsrule

          Well we just have a fundamental difference in what the purpose of the city is. I don’t see it as a job center as its primary role. That’s the way soulless middle management and hedge fund guys think. That’s why no one likes them. Because they know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. The city doesn’t need to be more like some other city. It needs to reflect the values of the people that live there, not to be squeezed for every dime it can generate.

          • GoBlueInSF

            You continually making vague, meaningless statements without actually saying anything.

            In fact, there is quite a strong argument to be made the principle purpose of a city is to facilitate economic exchange. That’s why cities formed in the first place – as geographically efficient locations for human being to engage in the exchange of goods and services (the market). That’s why in our major cities, the historical core of the city is centered old mercantile areas – often near a port (whose purpose is to facilitate trade), along with markets, warehouses, customs houses, and exchequers.

            Sorry bub, but you don’t even know urban history.

          • Robotsrule

            Great bub, let’s just build on Golden Gate Park and hang advertisements on the bridge. Because commerce and mercantilism is all that matters in life. The reason why my statements seem vague to you is because you don’t understand the value of anything outside of a capitalist model. Pity for you.

          • GoBlueInSF

            You continually ignore the facts I’ve laid out for you. I recognize you have difficulty with logical reasoning so I will lay this out for in a manner a 6 year old could understand.

            1. San Francisco is not particularly dense. It has about 18,000 residents per square mile.

            2. There are plenty of examples of other cities with high quality of life that are much more dense.

            3. Paris is one example. Universally held up as one of the world’s great cities. It has density of 53,000 people per square mile. Over 3 times that of SF.

            4. The notable difference between the two is just how low density the average residential block in SF. SF can easily build taller.

            5. It is entirely possible to significantly increase SF’s density to Parisian levels without “building in Golden Gate Park”.

            6. As for advertising on the GG Bridge, whatever the eff that has to with advocating more density is something that only makes sense inside your thick skull.

          • Robotsrule

            if people want to build on empty lots that’s fine. No more evictions! And it’s still not our problem. There’s tons of room in the South Bay.

          • whateversville

            It is your problem. You can build housing, or you can watch the city become an even-less-affordable hellhole (albeit one with short, pretty buildings).

            People are more important than skylines.

          • sfister

            It is definitely your problem. The city is going to be shared with new residents, now and forever. It’s really as simple as that.

          • Izsak

            If I was convinced SF Planners would only approve buildings as aesthetically pleasing as those in Paris, I would be as crazy about development as you appear to be. They approve crap all the time ‘Richmond specials’ and then some that are a bit better. This really is the *main* issue to me, over everything (affordability, density, tax revenues, etc) – it’s almost the *only* issue for me. I wish someone in this city would take aesthetics more seriously. I would say build to the moon if we could have beautiful buildings. Literally build to the moon.

          • GoBlueInSF

            Your aesthetic sensibility is so far down the list of priorities. It is selfish outlooks like yours – where aesthetics trumps production – that is a reason people in SF are being displaced and why the City is so unaffordable.

            I spit on your aesthetic priorities. It’s selfish and amoral.

          • Izsak

            It’s not far down, it’s my number one priority. I don’t five a shit about affordability, sorry. Ta-ta!

          • NoeValleyJim

            Embrace the NIMBY then.

          • Izsak

            Aren’t NIMBYs supposed to be hypocrites, though (care about affordability, but don’t want affordable housing near them)? If I don’t care about affordability (or the whole set of assumptions about what must be done to facilitate it, that go along with it) in the first place, am I still a NIMBY?

          • Izsak

            Btw did you know that Paris is not “held up as one of the world’s great cities” (I’m assuming that is pasted out of Wikipedia or a Hertz tour guide) because of how many people it has? Does the ‘data’ tell you that? It’s because it is unparalleled in its beauty. But then you don’t care about aesthetics. You would have them build concrete skyscrapers in front of the Arc de Triomphe – valuable space!

          • Aesthetics are important to me and I do think that San Francisco could do a lot more to support an architectural vernacular that contributed to the feel of the city. I think it would be awesome if our style were something like the 7-story apartment building at 21st & Lexington.

            But it does seem selfish to make aesthetics the only issue, considering everything else that is at stake.

            [googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1446970544334!6m8!1m7!1sIMCK26lxQPfbsdUPWwfFsA!2m2!1d37.756949!2d-122.420338!3f322.42954455340794!4f16.22558628890519!5f0.7820865974627469&w=600&h=450%5D

          • Izsak

            I’m glad someone agrees with me, partially, though I don’t think it’s anymore selfish to care about aesthetics than about a lot of other things we do in our lives, and valuing aesthetics doesn’t abandoning other values necessary.

            Yeah, I looked up which apartment you were talking about and agree. I just hate when a building goes up in my neighborhood that looks like it was built for about $100,000 and we are all going to have to look at it for the rest of our lives. It’s not taken seriously enough – class-based arguments always drown out any other conversations that could be had.

          • Unfortunately the aesthetic argument has been used all over the US to maintain racial and class segregation of cities and neighborhoods. It’s a tainted argument. Hopefully when we tackle some of the bigger problems we’ll have a little more wiggle room to get some better looking buildings.

          • Izsak

            Yeah, I’m not worried about racial and class segregation – I just want the city to be pretty. We will never socially engineer a perfectly diverse city.

          • Izsak

            Be careful, man, he ‘can do math,’ too.

          • goingnative

            Maybe what you’re saying reflects the desires and values of those who *used* to live here, but the reality is that more and more SF residents (yes, the people that live here today) see it as both a job and a cultural center — the utopian all-in-one-place. And it’s not all about capitalism, either.

          • Robotsrule

            If you were part of the art community in this city like me you’d understand that the cultural center part of your utopia is in danger of disappearing. The best artists and musicians have left for greener pastures because the city doesn’t work for them
            anymore.

          • goingnative

            “If you were part of the art community in this city like me…”
            Whoa.

          • Robotsrule

            I’m not smug because I’m an arts professions with an advanced degree who shows and sells work all over the Bay Area. That’s my community. And we’ve lost tons of people and galleries to this tech miracle. If you were here twenty years ago you’d know the city was once full of artists and musicians. They’re mostly in Oakland and LA now. All the newbies who think they’ve moved to a cool cultural Mecca couldn’t be wrong. Most of that stuff is greatly diminished from what it once was. People in the art world are well aware of it and talking and writing about it constantly. Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble but when only rich people can afford to live in a city, the culture moves elsewhere.

          • sfister

            Newsflash: people don’t all move here to be near you, David. Don’t flatter yourself. They come for the rich history of the city (that, whether you like it or not, they will be a part of for generations going forward), the coastal climate, and the topography.

          • Robotsrule

            It’s so creepy that you always follow me around and use my name in comments. Don’t worry, I’ll be evicted soon enough and let this city destroy itself without me.

          • sfister

            Dude, it takes absolutely zero effort to collect facts about you considering that you say at least several of these things in every thread:

            1. That you’re an artist
            2. That you were born here and that your parents were born here
            3. That, if people don’t believe in your credibility as an artist, they should check out your website (this is where you usually drop your name)
            4. That you’re a bartender (but really an artist)

            Try to mention those facts less frequently and I’ll see if I can stop myself from involuntarily memorizing them.

          • Robotsrule

            Nah, I’ve mentioned my name exactly once and then deleted it thinking better of it. In any event, those details are germain to the discussion of what’s happening to the art community here, because anyone can talk about it but it helps if you have the bonafides….in any event I got an email from a real estate company saying they’re doing a valuation of my building donut will probably get sold, Ellised, and there goes some more locals. Only thing left to do is negotiate a payout and figure out how to rebuild my life.

          • sfister

            Once! Ha. Understandable that you lost track. Good luck negotiating your buyout. Try not to use words you can’t spell when making your case; detracts from credibility. For example, there is no “i” in “germane.”

          • Robotsrule

            There is, however, an “i” in dickhead. Enjoy your Saturday. God bless.

          • sfister

            Weak and sophomoric, as expected.

          • Wagnerian_thrice

            ewww

          • sfister

            He is the very definition of a smug prick.

        • jhayes362

          This needs to be teased out a bit. New York has one of the highest densities in the world.

          But that includes Manhattan and surrounding boroughs. Brooklyn, for example, is about 10K per square mile. https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=brooklyn+population+density

          In Manhattan the density is 71K per square mile. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan.

          In SF the density is about 18K per square mile. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco

          One could argue that SF should be the equivalent of Manhattan for the Bay Area. But is that what we want to be? Also, planners keep telling us that people should live closer to their jobs. So what’s with the Google buses?

          • wcw

            Most useful is density of built up areas. Hong Kong is dense, after all, but not if you include all the unbuilt parts of the island.

            San Francisco, for example, has roughly 9 square miles of parks and open space, New York around 60, both about 20%. New York further has significant airport and railyard acreage The density of San Francisco, ex all open space, is around 22k/sm, all boroughs of New York roughly 36k/sm.

            The notion that New York has ‘one of the highest densities in the world’ is not borne out by the numbers. The city of Paris, ex parkland and open space, is at 75k/sm, more than double; Manila, to pick a really dense city, is more than triple.

            How dense cities should be is a good question. Paris is very livable, but its open space is closer to 30% than to 20%. Say for San Francisco, something like 50k/sm with 20% could be as nice.

          • jhayes362

            I think overall density for NYC (including the boroughs) should be ignored. It’s too skewed by the Manhattan figures. You might as well treat Manhattan as a separate entity because it is an outlier, even within NYC.

            I don’t know that much about Paris or how the density figures are calculated. Is there a dense urban core (“Manhattan”) surrounded by much more sparsely populated areas (as in NYC)?

            Finally, none of this answers the question of what SF wants to be: the Manhattan of the Bay area? A bedroom community for Silicon Valley?

            NYC has an excellent subway system. We have BART (in no way as extensive as the NYC subway system), freeways, buses (limited service), and ferries. This is not a recipe for transportation success, thus the focus on housing closer to where the jobs are.

          • wcw

            The city of Paris is the core, but there are barely any highrises, just lots and lots of midrise wherever there is no open space.

            What San Francisco and for that matter the Bay Area want to and should be, right, that is the question. To the extent someone likes cities and believes their fruits should be shared widely, the usual answer is infill and more transit. Someone who really believes in postwar suburbia probably says, no way.

          • guest

            The southern peninsula burbs complain about their quality of life not giving a spit about San francisco or the near East Bay.. BTW what quality of life? I left in 1967 and never looked back. Level a few of those single family residence tracts and build denser! After all urban areas are having to put up with the demolition of perfectly good structures to build luxury apartments.

          • Kyle Huey

            That Google “factoid” in your search is just wrong. Brooklyn’s density is around 37k/sq mi, or essentially double San Francisco’s. The only borough of New York that is less dense than San Francisco is Staten Island.

          • jhayes362

            According to Wikipedia, you are correct Kyle. My error for not seeking a more authoritative source.

      • wcw

        If San Francisco’s built up area, excluding all parks and open space, were at the density of Paris, its population would almost double, without losing a single acre of parkland or green space.

        There is plenty of room in San Francisco.

        • Robotsrule

          They’ll have to put in European level mass transit.

          • You know what makes European (or New York) levels of mass transit feasible? Similar levels of density along the transit routes.

          • sffoghorn

            Most of the subways out to The Bronx and Queens went in before residential densities.

          • jhayes362

            Brooklyn too.

          • FLOlmsted

            And similar levels of taxation, which our boy-princes do everything in their power to avoid.

          • wcw

            Absolutely. The SFMTA is an embarrassment, and Metro, warts and all, works pretty well. Building out the city is not likely, alas, but lack of space is not why. Lack of political will, lack of competent administration? Now you’re talking.

          • NoeValleyJim

            Aaron Peskin does not want a subway in North Beach. We need to get rid of Aaron Peskin first.

          • Robotsrule

            The thing is going to let people out in Chinatown and the wharf. North Beach is five blocks from either. Doesn’t make much of a difference to me personally. I work in North Beach. It might boost business but It might also bring even more knuckleheads to the area.

        • Y.

          Paris is way expensive, and is surrounded by ever expanding suburbs. So if we get as dense as Paris, then what?

          • wcw

            You can get a 500sf apartment in Paris for under $1,000.

            Yes, that is expensive, but compare it to San Francisco.

          • Y.

            Paris rents has gone up 40% in the last 10 years, and last summer they enacted rent caps for the first time.
            Buying in Paris is roughly the same as SF per sq. ft.

          • wcw

            Right: Paris is expensive, but compare it to San Francisco.

            The point is not that Peris is perfect. The point is that Paris as a whole, perks included, is much denser than the built-up areas of San Francisco, parks excluded. And yet Paris is so desirable as to be expensive. The argument that the city is out of room cannot be made with a straight face.

            Paris’s rent caps are pretty mild, as vacancy controls go, not that it matters.

          • Y.

            That is not a trivial point one way or the other. You can’t say “Paris is good, therefore high density is harmless” anymore than you can say “Soviet apartment blocks are bad, therefore high density is harmful.” Let me put it that way: (almost?) all high density projects of the past 50 years in the Bay Area are less successful from an urban design point of view than the older low-density parts of SF. There’s no new Paris coming to life in San Jose. Milpitas isn’t going to be the new Mission.
            If people think they can create a new Paris by demolishing the Sunset and building something else over it, they better be damn convincing about it.

          • wcw

            First, an important aside: Soviet apartment blocks are not bad, just ugly. Uglier was what they replaced: in 1950, per capita urban living area in the USSR was 50 square feet. Five. Zero.

            On topic: the argument is not that density is harmless, but that the argument that San Francisco is out of room is risible, because it not only can be done, but also has been done. That doesn’t mean any development is good. Brusselization is a thing; what kills there is not density (Brussels is less dense than SF), but untrammeled and thoughtless development.

            As for San Francisco, Dogpatch is an object lesson on how local development has had acceptable results. Sure, it could be nicer, but it’s turning into a pretty neat neighborhood. The more people focus on urban design, the more likely we do that again.

          • Y.

            IMHO, Dogpatch is turning into rows of Soviet apartment blocks (LEED certified, with elevators.)

          • RealFakeSanFranciscan

            You can’t complain that all the new development is “ugly” and simultaneously complain about affordability. Signature architecture won’t come cheap.

          • Y.

            Unaffordable new development is still ugly. The requirement is only 14% affordable units, but the architecture is still housing project quality.

          • FLOlmsted

            That’s patently false – take it from an architect. I am one.

          • wcw

            Could you get local developers to start hiring good ones? There are some pretty gross things going up these days.

          • RealFakeSanFranciscan

            Given your painful ignorance of multiple other subjects you’ve chimed in on (e.g. the laws regarding no-fault evictions), I will apply more than a few pounds of salt to that.

          • FLOlmsted

            Ignorance? Must be confusing my posts with your own. It’s OK, I know you struggle with even the simplest of concepts.

          • RealFakeSanFranciscan

            Tell us again about how an Ellis Act eviction requires the owner to move in.

          • FLOlmsted

            Bruh.

            Bruh.

            Bruh.

            I never said that.

          • wcw

            I think that’s accurate; the buildings are not especially pretty, but they do the trick. Whatever you call that north-of-UCSF neighborhood, now, that’s looking pretty weird.

            Does Dogpatch offend so much? It’s seems nice.

        • Y.

          wcw, do you know by any chance a source for the total residential square footage per area for SF and/or Paris?

          • wcw

            Square footage of the housing itself? Good question. Not offhand, no, but that would be an interesting datum. I’ll look.

          • wcw

            Floor space per person is a thing, but in a quick scan I haven’t found a source for San Francisco. A 1995 EU report had Paris at 300sf residential per person. I’d eyeball SF at 400sf per or above. Does the assessor publish a square footage total?

          • Y.

            Here’s something:
            http://www.paragon-re.com/Current_SF_Home_Value_Tables_by_Neighborhood

            It doesn’t have a city-wide average, but you can get a general idea: Oceanview/Ingleside 3br houses are 460 sqft/br, Potrero Hill 2br condos are 630 sqft/br, Outer Richmond 2br houses are 650 sqft/br.

          • wcw

            That’s a start; the ACS has bedrooms. Let’s make some assumptions: studios are 300sf, everything else 400 sf/br; that gives sf per capita of around 750. That seems high.

        • sffoghorn

          Paris is a national capital and has commensurate infrastructure. San Francisco, not so much.

          • wcw

            Isn’t that an argument for infrastructure, not against growth?

          • sffoghorn

            Show me the identified and programmed funding for infrastructure and we can talk density. We’re talking tens of billions, perhaps a hundred billion or more dollars.

          • wcw

            What is the alternative?

          • jhayes362

            It’s an argument for tying growth to infrastructure. That has not been done here. What SF has become is a gold mine for developers, who are putting up ugly condos (check out the one in the heart of the Mission) and not paying their way.

        • Izsak

          If SF would approve only buildings that approached the beauty of those in Paris, I would be fine with endless building in SF. As it is, every piece of shit condo or Richmond special that comes across the table is approved, and I’m tired of it. Aesthetics are #1, the key to my heart, the only thing I care about. Bring beautiful buildings or nothing at all.

          • RealFakeSanFranciscan

            “Aesthetics are #1, the key to my heart, the only thing I care about”

            Well, you vote the way you want to, and the thousands of San Franciscans unenthused about paying $2000 a month for a tiny bed with two roommates will vote their way.

          • Izsak

            Yeah, that’s the general idea. Thanks for the instructions.

        • FLOlmsted

          Wish in one hand…

          Are you advocating bulldozing thousands of homes? Because the land is already occupied.

          • wcw

            ‘Bulldozing’ smacks of urban renewal, and that didn’t work well the first time. Likely to work much better is organic infill. That does require existing structures come down for new ones.

          • FLOlmsted

            Yeah where are all these empty lots you’re going to organically fill in?

            Hint hint, the land is in the south bay.

          • wcw

            Neither teardown nor envelope expansion involve vacant lots.

      • Dogpatch, boss. Fill it it!

      • guest

        Gilroy! Great idea. Lots of room to build on top of the garlic fields and the commute via one of those atrocious behemoth buses is the same distance if not closer than SF

        • Robotsrule

          Maybe I don’t see much utility in wrecking the best city on the west coast for one company when there is tons of space all over the peninsula and South Bay to build.

    • sffoghorn

      The capital was not in place over the previous several decades to have built out to the level that would sate current bubblicious demand.

      Despite the simplistic interpretations of revisionists and boosters, nobody anticipated this level of demand and capital was not allocated over those decades towards new housing. The market worked and still you whine.

      • wcw

        Oh, Marc E. This is one hundred percent false.

        Does everyone from Highland Park bluster and lie like this?

        • sffoghorn

          You would not dox me were you not threatened with the truth.

          The east side was not upzoned until real estate finance capital was able to buy local government and coopt the opposition. That required resources. Had the resources been available earlier, real estate interests would have been able to buy the government and change the rules at that time.

          • wcw

            I deleted, I shouldn’t have posted that. While it is no excuse, repeatedly stating falsehood as fact is highly annoying.

            This note on zoning, in stark contrast, is not false. What was missing was not capital: there was so much available, it created a bit of a bubble. What was missing was permission to build.

            Rather shockingly, we agree. Perhaps we can get you on board with treating migrants as human beings someday, too.

          • sffoghorn

            Why should a democracy must prioritize the interests of potential migrants over the citizenry?

            Had there been the capital pooling for residential construction, then some of that capital would have been deployed to change the rules politically as it was recently when the level of capital was large enough.

            It is preposterous to suggest that anyone could have anticipated this level of demand decades previously. The capital markets would have reflected that. They did not.

          • wcw

            I guess that was asking too much. Still, let’s try.

            People who migrate are people, just like residents (you’re not suggesting we expel noncitizens, I hope). Allowing only those with E tickets to ride is fundamentally unfair.

            In 2005, the US invested 6.5% of GDP in housing. That capital was actually deployed and built actual dwellings. Even now, during significant underinvestment, we’re over 3% GDP. All that was or is needed in San Francisco is permission.

            What capital metrics should we use to test your hypothesis?

          • sffoghorn

            Why do support San Franciscans being relegated to a minority stake in the municipal corporation in which we are by definition the only democratically legitimate shareholders?

          • wcw

            It seems we can finally agree there is capital to build housing. Whew.

            That question might scan as poetry, but it does not parse otherwise. Nonresidents can’t vote.

          • sffoghorn

            The capital had not been there over the 40 years that revisionists claim that San Francisco should have been building units that would have remained empty in anticipation of this bubble.

            Nonresidents cannot vote yet you proclaim that it is xenophobic to have public policies that are not oriented primarily towards hypothetical future residents.

            You need to take a moment to organize your thoughts on this.

          • wcw

            C’mon, Marc, numbers and dwellings built don’t lie. If there is one thing that has not been an issue until the last five years, it is capital to finance residential construction.

            There is nothing to organize, old bean. People should be allowed to live where they want to live.

          • sffoghorn

            Listen, Tim, the capital to finance new residential construction had not been there over the 40 years that revisionists claim that San Francisco should have been building units that would have remained empty in anticipation of this bubble.

            At some point after the Wall Street crash, capital to finance housing began to come back as the banks were flush from ZIRP which stoked the venture capitalists along with the global demand for safe haven. Those are all recent stimulus to demand. Are you suggesting that the City could have rezoned since Wall Street got goosed with QE and that any significant construction could have happened in that four year interval?

            You’re on drugs, bad ones!

          • wcw

            Oud bruin is the worst.

            If this story is true, we’ll be able to measure it. How?

          • sffoghorn
          • wcw

            How do starts measure availability of capital?

          • sffoghorn

            They are an early trailing indicator available on the public record that capital has been deployed to build housing.

          • wcw

            Yeah.. no.

            You can’t start until you get a permit.

          • sffoghorn

            You can’t start until you get financed.

          • wcw

            Right: starts measure the product of permits and financing.

            Funny thing: permits are measured, too. I’ll let you go look those up. Now tell us: were permits in San Francisco high, but actual starts low, or were permits low in the first place?

          • sffoghorn

            The macroeconomic issue is whether there is capital available to be marshaled in the first instance. How the details play out after that is unimportant to this discussion.

          • wcw

            Right!

            Even in the current, Great Recession depressed environment, there is over 3% of GDP going into housing. In a normal period, 4.5%. In the housing bubble, over 6%.

      • NoeValleyJim

        NIMBYs have been blocking residential development for at least the last 26 years, which is the year I moved to the Bay Area. Your claim that the capital “was not allocated” is disingenuous because developers and builders wanted to do so, but were blocked by the Bruce Brugman’s and the Sue Hestor’s of the world. And you know it too.

    • Captain Bilge

      The blame goes to the large companies and Sand Hill Road investors (who often own rental real estate in the area so they have a vested interest in high rents) who have hired tens of thousands of employees even though the Bay Area housing was already full. If they had wanted to be good neighbors they would have helped build the housing to accommodate their new hires. Since they won’t, the region should be putting pressure on the largest companies to move away from the Bay Area and California altogether. They’re helping destroy a great state.

      • Kyle Huey

        Let’s say they wanted to build housing for their workers. Where will the local government allow them to do it?

    • Izsak

      I really question this sentiment, which I see voiced a lot on this forum in particular, that the Bay Area and SF is getting what it asked for, or is somehow to blame, or whatever the angle is, for the ‘housing crisis,’ because they refused to build for decades. There’s a grain of truth to it, but it is largely disingenuous, I feel. To be honest, and…not to pull rank on you, it usually makes me wonder where the poster hails from, because before five years ago there was no problem, essentially, in the Bay Area. You could get an apartment if you could pay for it, and one could by getting together with friends working in retail or whatever it was, and there weren’t 40 people at the open house – there wasn’t an open house at all. You just e-mailed the landlord and you were actually more in a position of power than him. You could negotiate with him, etc. You could wait a week and get back to them. They would cut the lease period in half to accommodate you and credit checks never happened. This was 5 years ago, not 20. Growing up, there was no sense of a problem at all and so I really think hindsight is 20/20 (and btw the recession IMO had a *whole* lot to do with why everyone is headed for the city these days). But yeah I really call bullshit on the notion that if only SF had built built built. There literally was no reason to build or forsee the need for building before five years ago, and there wasn’t developer interest. Lots sat empty for my entire childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. The Twitter building was where my father parked his car for his job across the street, nothing more. Yet there was steady building throughout, just not on a grand scale. Don’t let people tell you there wasn’t development in the decades before…now.

      The other thing is the whole drumbeat about anti-rent control. This is an idea I never even heard before two years ago – that rent control was a bad thing. Rent control has made a lot of sense for a long long time. The people you hear bringing it up I usually assume are resentful people paying the market rates for apartments, but their case is anchored in self-interest; they are convinced that if there just wasn’t rent control, then they would be able to pay $1000 less for rent or whatever it is. It isn’t true. Rent control only looks crazy because of the contrast between the rent your paying and your neighbor, but your neighbor might have only moved in seven years ago – rents have risen that high in such a short period. And yeah, I never once heard anyone say anything bad about rent control before the libertarian techies showed up, tbh. Never even heard it said once, in my whole life.

      This is not to stoke the hate – it’s not like people haven’t disliked what they call NIMBYs (I really dislike this term) but it has taken on a whole new ferocity. Again, I really call BS on people who think it was a climate to build much at all before the app economy arrived.

      • GoBlueInSF

        5 years ago was 2010 and we were in the depths of the Great Recession. A condo in Oakland on the Jack London waterfront or downtown Oakkand could be bought for a third of what they are going for. There were condos in older buildings selling for under $200k in Oakland. And in SF, rents were soft and landlords were offering free first month’s.

        Roll the clock back to mid to late1990s, and you had similar to today – apartment open house with dozens of people, resumes for your PET, activists complaining about techies. Mission Anti Displacement Coalition anyone? Yuppie Eradication Project ring a bell?

        Roll back the clock to the 1980s and you had anti-growth lefties passing Prop M to cap “out of control” office development downtown. (Heaven forbid we should put office towers in the region’s primary CBD)

        This crap has been going on for a long time. And SF’s housing market has separated from underlying fundamentals for quite some time, slowly but surely as the under building cumulatively failed to keep up with household formation growth. Just because rents were cheaper during down cycles doesn’t change the long view.

        • Izsak

          SF has always felt livable in any walk of life, until five years ago. Neglecting the fact that monumental societal and technological change has created these conditions is an oversight, I think. There wasn’t the type of pressure on the market in the last dot com boom, like there is today. That was a trickle, a foreshadowing. There wasn’t enough pressure on the market to necessitate the type of building you claim was folly not to have been done, over the decades. In my opinion.

          • GoBlueInSF

            Your opinion is not borne out by the data. Or actual history. “Feeling” is irrelevant.

            What is relevant data. And last go round in Web 1.0, there were quite similar affordability and displacement crises brought on by an inability of a market to respond due to supply constraints imposed by the City. Affordability crises ackowledged by the City at the time and which the sane activists screamed about as well.

            See page 147: https://journals.law.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/stanford-law-policy-review/print/2014/01/rosen_sullivan_25_stan._l._poly_rev_121.pdf

          • Izsak

            Actually I don’t need to read about it, as I lived in ground zero of it at the time. It wasn’t like now. Thanks for ‘teaching’ me about it though. Lol.

          • GoBlueInSF

            Like all NIMBYs in SF, you are completely divorced from fact, history and empirical analysis. You are in short, an ignoramus. No different than a Tea Party but. And laughably so.

          • Izsak

            You talk like a villain out of a Batman movie.

          • Izsak

            Also, you need to put a comma between ‘are’ and ‘in’ (among infinite other mistakes). Signed, Ignoramus

          • GoBlueInSF

            Oooh, there’s a typo in someone’s comment on the Internet. Wow.

          • Izsak

            Just saying, it’s pretty bold to be all over the place calling people stupid and talking about how you ‘know math,’ when you can’t even string together a sentence using proper punctuation.

          • GoBlueInSF

            You’re not saying anything. Nitpicking over typos in a comment section on a blog is about the height of “I don’t really have any fact-based counter-arguments to make, so I’ll just complain about a typo”.

            Jesus. Get a clue.

          • Izsak

            Period goes inside the quotes.

          • GoBlueInSF

            The head goes outside of the ass.

          • Izsak

            Look who’s talking.

          • Izsak

            Look who’s talking.

          • Wagnerian_thrice

            What is your background in SF? How long have you been living in the city?

          • sffoghorn

            Concrete, glass and steel to add supply cannot respond with the speed that capital flows to augment demand.

            By the time that the capital had been marshaled to move concrete, glass and steel, the capital that had flowed to create demand had begun to recede.

            Your fallacy is in assuming a constant supply of capital to build housing to meet cyclical demand when the supply of capital for housing is predicated upon anticipated demand.

          • GoBlueInSF

            Do you really think you are fooling anyone with your word salad? Seriously. You just sound like an idiot.

            The lag time between initial project capitalization and project completion is completely irrelevant to the question of whether zoned capacity should be added to the City.

            This is how a City zones itself to unaffordability – https://www.cp-dr.com/node/3717

          • Wagnerian_thrice

            I think what sffoghorn said is very rational. People weren’t expecting dot.com 2. The housing that is being built now got started in response to the last dot.com boom.

          • NoeValleyJim

            Uh no. Go look at ABAG population projections from 2000. Go pick up a Wired Magazine from 2005. All of us who work in Tech knew there was going to be a boom. Housing “activists” ignored the obvious storm clouds on the horizon. I personally warned some of them that we needed more housing 20 years ago. You have reaped what you have sown.

          • Wagnerian_thrice

            You’re not following the conversation. We are talking about how the housing that’s being built now is what got started during the last boom. I don’t know how I have ‘reaped’ anything. I was 28 in 2000. I approved of the housing going up on 19th and Valencia in my neighborhood. Boy was that a bust! They ended being the most expensive condos in the city at the time they opened.

            I support building new housing, but I want housing for working class people.

          • NoeValleyJim

            Did you vote with the people restricting needed development or did you vote with those who wanted to increase density? I was not much older in 2000 but I had enough sense to see that we needed to build more housing. The housing being built now was planned and entitled 5-10 years ago, not 15 years ago, your timeline is out of whack I think.

            If we had been building housing all along, we would have more stuff like Fox Plaza would be available today. New construction is always more expensive, over time it loses its “new condo” smell and has deferred maintenance and becomes more affordable. We can build very small apartments that are affordable but Progressives moan about that too. They are not realistic.

          • Wagnerian_thrice

            If only people would vote for density in the South Bay!

          • whateversville
          • jhayes362

            How are no fault evictions defined?

          • whateversville

            The full list is: Ellis Act, owner move-in, demolition, capital improvement, substantial rehabilitation, sale of unit converted to a condo, lead paint abatement.

            I don’t know if that graphic includes all of those, but Ellis and OMI are by far the largest, for instance: 113 Ellis / 343 OMI evictions this year vs. 51 demolition / 37 capital improvement / 0 lead paint / 9 condo conversion evictions.

          • wcw

            29-year averages (through August): 480 OMI, 115 Ellis, 50 roommates, 50 improvement, 45 demos, 10 rehabs, 3 condos.

            No-fault pretty much means OMI, plus a little Ellis.

          • Izsak

            I’m not sure what this graph is in answer to – did you want to explain?

          • whateversville

            “There wasn’t the type of pressure on the market in the last dot com boom, like there is today. That was a trickle, a foreshadowing.”

            Reality disagrees.

          • JackBaker

            I’ve lived in SF for 27 years; was born in Berkeley in 1961, and have lived in the Bay Area my entire life. The anti-development culture has always been here – from Prop M in the 80’s, back to the the 60’s freeway revolt, even back to those who fought the Golden Gate Bridge (search and check that out). It’s always been a highly desirable place that people don’t want to change once they settle here. It’s that simple, and creates bad results when mixed with simple supply and demand…and those who don’t believe in supply and demand are fooling themselves.

          • Izsak

            Have lived in SF my entire life (30 years), I’m aware of the anti-development movements, but I’m not sure there was ever as much demand as now (may be wrong). Re: the GG Bridge, I know some old-timers who still argue the Bay would look better without the bridge!

      • wcw

        ‘[T]here weren’t 40 people at the open house?’

        I remember walking through an open house with probably 140 people.

        In Berkeley.

        In 1989.

        • Izsak

          Wow – not my experience at all, in SF, pre-Twitter, but I won’t argue with you.

          • wcw

            ‘Pre-Twitter’, meaning roughly 2005, was the single best time to rent in the area in the last decade and a half, or more.

      • whateversville

        “There literally was no reason to build or forsee the need for building before five years ago, and there wasn’t developer interest.”

        You have no idea what you’re talking about.

        “and there weren’t 40 people at the open house – there wasn’t an open house at all.”

        I went to open houses with 100+ people in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

        “Growing up, there was no sense of a problem at all”

        I’m glad you had a happy childhood. Kids shouldn’t have to care about housing policy.

        “The other thing is the whole drumbeat about anti-rent control. This is an idea I never even heard before two years ago – that rent control was a bad thing.”

        Here’s Krugman in 2000: http://www.nytimes.com/2000/06/07/opinion/reckonings-a-rent-affair.html

        Notice he refers to a housing crisis in San Francisco that existed before 5 years ago.

        “The people you hear bringing it up I usually assume are resentful people paying the market rates for apartments, but their case is anchored in self-interest;”

        You are the first person to mention rent control in this thread, for what it’s worth. I think rent control helped create many of the problems we have now, but that getting rid of it now would be disastrous. It’s the main thing keeping lower-income residents in the city, but it’s also subsidizing the rents of people making high six-figures.

        “And yeah, I never once heard anyone say anything bad about rent control before the libertarian techies showed up, tbh. Never even heard it said once, in my whole life.”

        The vast majority of tech workers are democrats, not libertarians.

        • Izsak

          I’m not going to go tit for tat with you but thanks for the response.

      • NoeValleyJim

        You are obviously too young to remember the whole tech boom in 1999, which was very similar to today.

        • Izsak

          I remember it clearly, since I worked in the Mission at the time (remember those flyers and everything), but it doesn’t seem like that alone lends too much to the ‘we should have built more’ crowd, since it was over (the ‘boom’) in, what, two years?

      • AWildLiberalAppeared

        “…because before five years ago there was no problem, essentially, in the Bay Area.”

        Are you joking?

        Gentrification of the Mission goes back at least 20 years.

        Ridiculously overpriced homes goes back at least to the dot com boom of the late 90s/early 2000s.

        And in the summer of 2007, I remember the homeless shelter I was volunteering at was FULL of people, many of whom had jobs and just weren’t making enough to afford anything in the area and get back on their feet.

        Anyone who believes this problem was only 5 years in the making is delusional.

        • Izsak

          There’s no need to be calling people ‘delusional’ – that is a bit extreme. The homeless are not really on my radar – yeah we’ve had a big homeless problem for at ~30 years, but I’m talking about regular folks who are not in extreme circumstances. Anyway, I assure you I’m not joking – I’m just speaking from my experience – hard to really argue with that. We’re talking about the need for large scale development, and my argument was that the impetus for this wasn’t really there until very recently – not sure if you understood that was what I was arguing. I think you are probably arguing from the standpoint that there needs to be enough housing for absolutely everyone, and you’re observations make sense in that context. This would never be on the agenda for me, as far as SF is concerned, since it would require lots and lots and lots of government built housing – the tax rate would be 100% because everybody wants to live here and so the rich and professional classes would move out and you’d just have an unsupported city full of unfunded housing projects.

    • My man… Build it up, build it out, just build it. Now.

    • sffoghorn

      There is no evidence that new housing in San Francisco under these demand conditions and structural supply constraints (financing, planning, construction) has any bearing on displacement. If anything, new upscale housing in moderate to lower income communities exacerbates displacement.

      • GoBlueInSF

        There is no evidence that adding market rate housing exacerbates displacement. There is however a lot of evidence that NOT adding market rate housing exacerbates displacement. Academic, peer-reviewed evidence. Calvin Welch’s farts don’t count.

        The myth that SF has “unlimited” demand is just that…a myth. The problem is that SF has imposed supply artificial constraints such that the demand cannot be met, and thus prices rise.

        But you already demonstrated your a moron with that insane word salad of your below.

      • I found this model to be pretty convincing that new housing would reduce displacement http://sfbarf.tumblr.com/post/123336484965/how-does-adding-expensive-housing-help-the-little

        • sffoghorn

          This model fails because it presumes steady state of current conditions projected over time rather than longitudinal projections of demand stoked by evolving patterns of population and job growth.

          It also fails because it presumes an infinite supply of capital to finance construction and because it does not take into account the infrastructural constraints of transportation and water/wastewater/sewage.

          Nor does the model contemplate the point at which developers and their backers will decline to commit capital to construct units that will be less valuable at sales time than at permitting time.

          • You don’t think there is enough capital or demand to build 2000 luxury units, profitably, right now? I see that as being very far from infinite.

            Yes, urban planning is difficult. No, we’re not going to figure everything out in the comments section of a 48 Hills article. But you’re asking the wrong questions.

          • sffoghorn

            The market is more segmented than your model accounts for. The same error was made in trying to justify building denser as TOD would prevent sprawl. Those are functionally two different markets. Demand for new luxury construction is in a completely different market than demand for real San Francisco old growth constructed housing.

            The capital to fill the pipeline for these tens of thousands of units will eventually dry up should the unthinkable happen and added supply (combined with a more dominant collapse in demand) drives prices below a point. Real estate venture capital is not going to throw capital at any construction spree that devalues their assets over time.

          • Kyle Huey

            If those markets are truly segmented them what’s up with all the people gutting and renovating old Victorians to have modern interiors? I’ve read more than a couple horror stories about that.

          • sffoghorn

            People seeking Victorian/Edwardian housing are, wait for it, looking for a different housing “product” than those who are seeking luxury condos.

          • Kyle Huey

            If that were true people would not be ripping out the interiors of old Victorians and replacing them with modern interiors. And yet they are.

            http://sfist.com/2015/06/08/so_many_sf_victorian_houses_have_be.php

          • sffoghorn

            Right, the people moving into Victorians and Edwardians are not the ones moving into new construction luxury. Why does this confuse you so?

  • RealFakeSanFranciscan

    “Shouldn’t the city attorney look at whether Peninsula cities have the legal right to create housing problems for the rest of us?”

    Presumably, those Peninsula cities will respond by pointing out that SF is also creating more jobs than housing units today, entirely on its own.

    • GoBlueInSF

      Agreed. The Peninsula cities have drastically under built housing. But so has SF. Just because one has failed to live up to its responsibilities doesn’t mean the other gets to avoid theirs.

  • sanfranchristo

    It’s not just that they approve new office buildings without housing, they actively prevent the large companies from building housing. Much of the populations, and certainly their elected representatives, in Mountain View, Cupertino, etc. do not want more housing to maintain their “quality of life” (and most importantly, astronomical housing values due to artificially low supply). It’s unconscionable that they prevent these companies from even attempting to alleviate the pressure on SF and SJ by building more housing in the towns they operate in. I wish more of the ire of SF activists (rightly) concerned about gentrification and evictions would focus on the relatively few people making these decisions in these towns. It’s arguable that they are the single biggest obstacle to more housing that could actually be overcome.

    • hiker_sf

      I have advocated for halting all office space development in SF until we get a handle on the housing crisis. But it should be a regional moratorium. If we don’t have decent rain this year, the drought is going to be an issue for those who think we can increase the population in the Bay Area.

      • Earl D.

        That’s chem-trail/prepper talk. SF primarily gets its water from Hetch Hetchy which is practically at full capacity.

        http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/06/09/despite-record-drought-hetch-hetchy-reservoir-levels-at-92-percent/

        (in spite of that SF is has been one of the most effective communities in reducing water usage. )

        In general dense urban centres are more resource efficient then less dense areas. But in California the giants share of water consumption comes from agriculture which has nothing to do with the residential load of the bay area or even California.

        • sffoghorn

          So where will these hundreds of thousands of arriviste assholes shit?

          • RealFakeSanFranciscan

            The Mission found room for you when you moved here as an arriviste asshole, marcos. It’ll find room for a few more.

          • sffoghorn

            But our shit system was not nearing capacity then as population was at a lull, colen blow.

          • Izsak

            colon

          • sffoghorn

            Colen. Tim Colen.

          • Izsak

            colon

          • sffoghorn

            All of the shit from the newcomers, the effluent of the affluent, where will it go?

          • Izsak

            Hanford

          • sffoghorn

            You can’t poo-poo concerns about poo.

    • wcw

      From 2010 to 2014, San Jose metro issued building permits at roughly twice the rate vs population as either SF/Oakland metro or the state of California as a whole. Santa Clara is doing better at permitting development, not worse.

      Residential investment has been way too low nationally as well. Normally that averages around 4.5% GDP. The last five years it’s closer to 3%. Given rates on Treasuries, it would be a perfect time for the government to borrow a ton of money and build a lot of public housing. Won’t happen, sadly.

      Sources:
      https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=2qOG
      https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/A011RE1Q156NBEA

      • Just chiming in– new housing is going up in San Jose. Just drive down the Southwest Expressway, for example.

      • FLOlmsted

        I don’t think the issue is how much peninsula towns are building as compared to SF. I think the more important consideration is how much housing each is building as a ratio to buildable land and to office space added.

  • redbeardsf

    Boy, these headlines!
    Does every single Apple employee who currently works at the Cupertino HQ live here in San Francisco?
    No.
    Will every singe new employee that might work at the new site live in San Francisco?
    No.

    • Y.

      Of course not. Say a third? That’s a shortage of 5,000 housing units in SF.

      • Jon Kozone

        If you read the article there is no mention of the number of employees involved.

        Tim made up the 16,000 figure in the headline. Here is an excerpt from the article:

        “Also unclear: Exactly what types of buildings Apple might build on the land. Some real estate observers believe Apple might be interested in doing manufacturing there, perhaps for its emerging automotive interests. The agreement gives little away, describing “industrial development, including office, research and development, manufacturing and other related and supporting uses” consistent with the city’s land-use plans.”

      • whateversville

        I mention in another comment above, but a previous report had the number at 14%.

  • Cryo

    The majority of the 16,000 employees already live and work in Silicon Valley. So, it’s not like 16,000 people are going to relocate. Apple’s new campus is just a consolidation of the employees that are scattered around the Valley.

    • Y.

      Do you have a source for that?

      • Cryo

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtuz5OmOh_M
        Watch this video of Steve Jobs explaining to the Cupertino City Council about the new Apple campus. The beginning of the video gives you an understanding of how Steve wants to turn the old Hewitt-Packard office complex into a MUCH MORE efficient working environment. He mentions that he wants to consolidate many of the existing Apple buildings in the region into one building. At 16:25 in the video Steve mentions that he will not be “increasing the employment by much” for the new campus. Meaning the majority of people working on the new campus will already be Apple employees who live in the Bay Area. In any case, this video certainly implies that the headline of this article is misleading and plain wrong.

    • whateversville

      In 2011, 14% of Apple employees lived in San Francisco, according to this: https://www.apple.com/pr/pdf/apple_economic_impact_on_cupertino.pdf

  • Captain Bilge

    I’d like to see the SF Supervisors hold hearings with the HR Directors and CEO’s of the 30 largest private Bay Area companies. They need to get recorded testimony about their hiring plans over the next 10 years and find out how many housing units these companies are building for these new hires. The hearings would have already happened, or city-initiated lawsuits would have already been filed against other cities who are causing the high SF rents and evictions, if not for the unstated local government motivation to help facilitate the economic cleansing in parts of SF and other middle- and lower-income neighborhoods in the Bay Area.

    Mayor Lee, the Board of Supervisors, and local governments throughout the region can sit back and passively upscale their cities as higher income professionals in the finance, legal, medical and technology companies displace existing families. The government reasoning seems simple. The new higher-income migrants contribute more spending to local businesses, property taxes go up, and sales tax receipts jump as well. There’s nothing like fresh lucre to keep everyone in the government family happy. I’m sure most would say they’re “truly sorry” about all the evictions and small business displacements that come form the sometimes messy economic cleansing process. But what can you do – it’s the invisible market at work, as long as they ignore the explosion of high-income job creation over the last 35 years.

    The largest Bay Area companies have profits in the hundreds of billions just sitting overseas making a measly 1-3% invested in Japanese, US or Euro bonds. Making those companies bring this money back to the US and use it to build housing near their office empires should be part of the development toolbox if the region ever wants to stop the on-going displacement of tens of thousands of families from the core Bay Area. At least 200,000 housing units with heights ranging from 6-12 stories (at corners) could be built rather easily along El Camino Real between Colma and Santa Clara, with wide bike paths, 24-hour transit and walkable retail areas up and down that 40-mile stretch. That project alone would help alleviate some of the housing pressure while the region figures out how much population they want to accommodate and then calibrating the job numbers accordingly, including forcing some of these large companies to re-locate to TX, SC, IN or overseas. These large companies are effectively bullying the current residents with their constant onslaught of new hires that displace current residents and harm existing local businesses.

    • Interesting. Google has been trying to increase the density the area around their Mountain View campus but they keep getting blocked by the MV city council.

      Also, while the city might not be initiating any lawsuits, there is this: http://www.suethesuburbs.org/

    • Kyle Huey

      You do realize that the thing preventing the development of market rate housing in the bay area is not lack of capital but lack of permission from local governments to build, right?

    • That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.

      You also might want to ask the burrowing owls of Mountain how company-built housing proposals have worked.

      Finally, “forcing some of these large companies to re-locate to TX, SC, IN or overseas.” Really?

    • NoeValleyJim

      You think that letting people live where they like is “bullying”? Interesting. How do you think housing allocation should be determined? Should the government decide where people should be allowed to live? Maybe we should all wear ankle bracelets, so ensure that we don’t wander outside of our assigned zone.

  • Foginacan

    SF doesn’t care what’s in store for the South Bay, until the situation filters from the South Bay back into SF. Has there been a moratorium on building in the South Bay that hasn’t made the headlines yet, or something? Aren’t they building too?

    As much as I believe hiring out of state employees and relocating them is one culprit here, let’s also remember that a lot of these startups will fold, and companies like Twitter will keep cutting. Great if Apple can pick up the slack and keep us from the bubble bursting. The bubble bursting will not make this city any more affordable, hate to um, burst some bubbles here, for those hoping and praying.

    But yeah, commuting for hours, living with roommates, living in the city to begin with… that’s not everyone’s dream.

    • Y.

      The city did become more affordable after dot com bust 1.0.

      • Foginacan

        Rents stayed the same, it just got more competitive to fill the vacancy, but nobody should remember the any time during the last 15 years as the good ol’ days of affordable SF.

        • wcw

          2005 was an absolutely fabulous time to be a prospective renter. It was madness. Dot com was dead, and everyone else (not to mention everyone else’s cat) had a loan and bought.

          • Foginacan

            All relative though, it’s not like rents dropped way down unless you’re comparing prices to NYC or something. There was just a lot of inventory, and you’re right, a lot of people were buying. In-laws and bottom of the barrel inventory took the real hit, but it’s not like you could go from a 1bedroom to a whole house in a comparable neighborhood, for the same price.

  • Earl D.

    I suppose it can be considered progress for SF progressives to ask quantitative questions such as how many new jobs are we expecting to add? And where are the people taking these jobs going to live?

    Though, for the record, Apples new campus is not about adding new jobs but simply about consolidating existing jobs. And even so hardly represents all the Apple employees working in the Bay Area — in fact Apple is expanding into SF as well http://www.macrumors.com/2015/07/30/apple-e.xpands-to-san-francisco/

    However, that’s quibbling. The most important aspect to the story is that that SF is BY FAR the largest outsourcer of residential housing in the Bay Area, which is to say that many more people commute into the city than out. That is so obvious to anyone who’s ever step onto a Bart train or ventured onto the free-way during rush hour that it shouldn’t be necessary to point that out. Not only do more people in-commute to SF than out-commute, but the ratio has been growing, and it’s been growing faster than any other metro in the Bay Area.

    https://www.sccgov.org/sites/dpd/DocsForms/Documents/Census_2000_05b.pdf

    So, really? Lee is going to get on his high horse and gallop down to Marin and tell them to buck up and start building their share of housing? At least those communities have the excuse of having been purposely built as low rise residential neighbourhoods, and their residents had a legitimate expectation that they were moving into sleepy bedroom communities of back-yards and cul-de-sacs. SF progressives, on the other hand, by and large, have taken it upon themselves to decide that a few months after they happened to move into the city, that it’s has permanently filled up and irrespective of fact that it is the central mass transit hub of the region, with the only grid layout and municipal organization to support high density, it simply can not take any more residents.

  • Andrew Huerta

    Tech Companies have a strange obsession with California. While its nice that theyre creating more jobs, they are ruining local communities and hurting all the people who can’t afford the rising cost of living. Would it hurt to move some of these companies and facilities to the other 49 states?

    • Foginacan

      It actually might hurt them. The Bay Area tech communities grew organically starting back in the 50’s, if not earlier, so there is a reason they’re here. Tech companies outside California are at a disadvantage. Some of them do have offices world wide, but there’s also the memory of what happened with expansions in the 90’s.

  • Amy Farah Weiss

    Tim, I spoke about this exact issue by name multiple times during my campaign for Mayor. I wish you would have linked arms with us to participate in grassroots democracy as I repeatedly invited/implored you to do over the last 10 months. If you had, we could have actually replaced the Mayor … in my eyes, you really don’t have grounds to complain over the next four years, Tim.

    • Y.

      I agree that Tim should have given more voice and support to you and the other candidates. Even the SFBG didn’t shy away from supporting long-shots, like the Green Party. All the same, if you want to stay in politics for the long haul, you’re going to face a lot worse and have to not show a thin skin.

  • Iang

    Wow, Tim finally admits that SF should be part of a broader Bay Area urban area!

    Merge the nine counties and dozens of cities into one urban council and problems like this go away

    • reaalistx

      Of course, Tim’s precious progressive San Francisco politicians couldn’t get elected to Bay Area-wide offices.

      They can barely get elected in the progressive hothouse of San Francisco.

    • reaalistx

      It’s amusing to envision a 9-county single Bay Area city, with 7.5 million people (still a million less than New York).

      Assume a nine-member city council, elected by districts, and trying to preserve county boundaries as much as possible – so about 800,000 people per city council seat.

      Santa Clara (1.8 million) A bit more than two seats.
      Alameda (1.7 million) A little bit more than two seats.
      Contra Costa (1.1 million) One seat, plus a seat shared with Solano (0.4 million)
      San Francisco (0.9 million) A little bit more than one seat
      San Mateo (0.8 million) One seat
      Sonoma/Marin/Napa (0.8 million) One seat

      It would take some rejiggering of districts, but the bottom line is that San Francisco would get one seat on the Bay Area city council. The San Mateo and Santa Clara suburbanites that Tim hates so much would get three seats.

      If you count San Francisco and Alameda as the “urban, progressive” districts, and the rest of the counties as the “suburban, less progressive” districts, the urban districts get outvoted 6-3.

      Tim will love it!

      • Foginacan

        The New York comparison is a funny one, because Queens or Brooklyn would be the 4th most populated city in the nation if they were their own city.

        Aside from Staten Island, NYC is interconnected by a single transportation system, easily accessible, and there’s more of a shared identity and commingling of culture that we just don’t have in the Bay Area. There’s a reason they never included Long Island.

  • Erik Walker

    Regional cooperation has always been poor in the Bay Area. Perhaps it is poor everywhere. But our populations and businesses continue to expand, and we need a larger regional oversight. That’s hard to do when we really don’t have that kind of multi-county collaboration. But we really do need it. I am sure there would be a great deal of arguing, at first, over why anybody in SF should be asking the people of Mountain View to build housing for their workers, but we need to be having the conversation- and doing something about it. People should be able to get to their jobs in less than 30 minutes, if they want to. It is also GOOD for a community when people with jobs at all economic levels live closer to each other. It creates an environment of cooperation and caring, whereas separation by income tends to do the opposite.

  • reaalistx

    “Shouldn’t the city attorney look at whether Peninsula cities have the legal right to create housing problems for the rest of us?”

    I think San Jose’s city attorney should look at whether San Francisco has the legal right to create housing problems for the rest of us through its dumb rent control laws, which distort the housing market both in San Francisco and in the Bay Area generally.

    • It’s that whole 9-county, 3 major city, 70+ separate community government thing. It was designed on purpose to do nefarious things. Now it’s collapsing in on itself.

  • MissionBernal

    “Peninsula cities approve huge new tech office complexes and build no housing, so a lot of the workers wind up in San Francisco…”

    That’s not a 1 to 1 relationship. People could have easily ended up in Pacifica or Fremont or Gilroy. People ended up in SF because SF is an awesome city that people want to live in. They didn’t end up here because there was so much more housing in SF that they had no other option. That’s proven by the housing crisis SF is currently in. If people ended up in SF because that’s where the housing was we wouldn’t be in this situation. Your logic is flawed.

  • sfister

    The whole notion of a company building housing for its employees is ridiculous and would never work beyond what is already done today (temporary housing in the form of blocks of leased apartments for out-of-town transplants). Believe it or not, it’s not that companies don’t want to do it. Both Google and Facebook have seriously explored this idea but ultimately rejected it for the same reasons: almost no employee, especially in tech, wants their housing tied to their employment status with a given company. Young people have no particular desire for it but older employees, especially those with families, definitely wouldn’t go for it. Tim’s dream of tech employees living in an dormitory-style tenement is never going to happen.

    Oh, and, maybe more importantly: a reality in which you tell people where they can and cannot live based on what they do for a living is never, ever going to happen. Sorry, Tim.

    • reaalistx

      Oh come on – if you combine company housing with indentured servitude, everything works!

    • Actually Google tried this a couple years ago. Mountain View refused to allow Google housing in order to protect the habitat of burrowing owls. So now their employees are living in panel trucks.

      • UPDATE– recent straw poll shows a willingness for up to 9,000 new units in MV thanks to new pro growth council.

  • Just for the record, San Jose is ALREADY a bedroom community for Silicon Valley– just look at 85 and 101.

    Down here, everyone is screaming that there’s nothing besides new condos and no jobs (within the city limits).

  • Hobo Catsuit

    I’m glad you’re concerned about this. This is the kind of problem the ABAG-MTC merger will solve. Make sure you write a letter to MTC supportive of MTC defunding the ABAG planning department.

    Also, send us $$ at http://www.suethesuburbs.org. We can look into suing Cupertino.

  • Tim Redbone

    Everyone should read this great piece on SF: http://abeastinajungle.com/sf-election-results/

  • AWildLiberalAppeared

    “Shouldn’t the city attorney look at whether Peninsula cities have the legal right to create housing problems for the rest of us?”

    This is true and a very important point. But frankly, it’s dishonest of Tim to act as though SF isn’t a part of the problem. The West Side of San Francisco has not seen an increase in housing stock above 1% in decades. Literally. Meanwhile, SoMa and Mission get built up the wazoo.

    If we want to get serious about addressing the housing crisis, we need to build up public transit and housing on the West Side of San Francisco, as well as in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County suburbs. But don’t expect Tim to do a report on that anytime soon…

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