Dramatic vote could slow Mission development

Supes signal the end of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan -- and denounce Trumpist rhetoric from market-rate housing advocates

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A remarkable, stunning vote happened at the Board of Supes Tuesday: By a 9-0 margin, the members agreed that a big market-rate housing project in the Mission needs a full environmental review.

That spells the end of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, puts every other developer in the area on notice, and sends a signal to the Planning Department that displacement and gentrification have to be a central concern for all project approvals.

48hillsmissiondevelopmentmap
This map, presented at the board meeting, shows all of the new luxury housing projects planned for the Mission

And it happened in part because a representative of SFBARF made comments in favor of the project that the supes found so totally offensive that one of them wanted anything to do with it.

The project, at 1515 South Van Ness just off 26th, is on the edge of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. The appellants say that the project needs a full environmental impact report, because the general EIR on the Eastern Neighborhoods is way, way out of date.

This isn’t the first project that community activists have appealed on that basis. The Eastern Neighborhoods Plan dates back to 2008. By law, the EIR on the overall plan was supposed to take into account all possible development allowed under the new zoning rules, meaning no news EIRs would be needed on projects that met those rules.

But that was a long time ago: In 2008, there were no Google buses, there was no Uber and Lyft, the Tech Boom hadn’t decimated San Francisco, and the Mission wasn’t under a full-scale attack as it is today.

Oh, and by the way: There was no Calle 24 Latino Cultural District.

Scott Weaver, attorney for the appellants, noted that

Potential impacts [to Calle24] due to gentrification and displacement to businesses, residents, and nonprofits within the LCD, including impacts to cultural and historic resources, health and safety and increased traffic due to reverse commutes and shuttle buses have not been considered.

Nor have the cumulative impacts of a series of proposed market-rate housing developments that would greatly exceed anything that the planners imagined or analyzed eight years ago.

Several supervisors, including Aaron Peskin and Malia Cohen, have questioned whether the 2008 EIR makes any sense any more. But on every appeal so far, the board has sided with the Planning Department and the developers, saying that the legal grounds for demanding a full EIR haven’t been met.

This one was very different.

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For one thing, the board appears to have reached a breaking point when it comes to the Eastern Neighborhoods. Too much is happening, too fast, and the community is pretty united in demanding that the city slow down a bit and analyze whether the next wave of market-rate housing will cause more harm than good.

But the supporters of the project were also pretty horrible.

Sonja Trauss, who represents the SF Bay Area Renters Federation, also known as SFBARF, made a pretty stunning statement, which you can watch here at about 3:14. She followed a speaker who said that he was a wealthy person who moved to the Mission “because it’s a great neighborhood” and had “muscled” other tenants out of the apartment he wanted because he had more money.

Trauss then went on to compare the Latino community that is concerned about displacement to Donald Trump’s nativists.

She was followed by the owner of McMillan Electric, who sold the building to the developer, Lennar Corp., who complained about homeless people and said that Calle 24 wasn’t around in the past to deal with “the gangs and the drugs.”

Actually, many of the folks now involved with Calle 24 have a long history of working to prevent gang violence.

But between those speakers, the message was pretty clear: People who wanted the project had a dim view of a community that has been in the Mission for more than half a century and that is now under a tremendous threat.

Sup. David Campos, who represents the district, has always been careful with these EIR appeals. An experienced lawyer, he has often had to say that the appeal didn’t have enough facts to justify it.

This time, he was out of patience.

He said that he had arrived at the meeting planning to vote against the appeal, but “public comment does make a difference.” After listening to the arguments, he said, he was convinced that there were grounds to demand a full EIR.

But he also noted that “I want to thank the representative from BARF for helping to change my mind … and the man who talked about homeless Latinos and gang violence, thank you for shedding light on the issue.

“I want no part in the age of Donald Trump of the kind of hateful, ignorant, and divisive rhetoric represented by these individuals,” he said. “If there is ever a time to stand by what it’s right, that is now. I want to send a message to other projects – let that be a lesson to you.”

Related article  The Eastern Neighborhoods Plan is a bust

Added Sup. John Avalos: “I found the comments [in favor of the project] to be so offensive … to think we have a project defended with such arrogance. It’s beyond the pale.”

Then Sup. Eric Mar talked about how much he agreed with Campos and Avalos, and Cohen said that she wanted the Planning Department to take seriously the cumulative impacts of all the development in the area.

And when the vote was called, it was 9-0 against the project.

Sups. Scott Wiener and Norman Yee were absent.

So this is a new era, both in SF politics and in planning.

The project isn’t dead – it just needs a full environmental analysis, which has to look at the impacts of Calle 24. That could take a year or more. And all of the big projects that are in the pipeline for the Mission could face the same fate – unless Planning gets its act together and completely overhauls the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan and does a new EIR.

Which would take way more than a year.

And in the meantime, the folks who argued for a moratorium on market-rate housing in the Mission just got a boost – because if this decision stands up, the message to Planning will be: Slow down.

The politics were also clear: Nobody in San Francisco, even the conservatives on the Board of Supes, wants to be associated with Trumpist rhetoric or policies. Since there are quite a few decisions that the city has made that follow the GOP economic model of market-based economics, and since the next Board of Supes will include more corporate Democrats than progressive Democrats, it will be a fascinating period.

  • playland

    Re:
    “She followed a speaker who said that he was a wealthy person who moved to the Mission “because it’s a great neighborhood” and had “muscled” other tenants out of the apartment he wanted because he had more money.”

    Tim is being selective here.

    The speaker said that he had a good income and would be happy to live in one of these market rate apartments without displacing anyone. But when he couldn’t find one he competed on the open market.

    If you are against these market rate buildings you have no right no complain when the people who would have lived there instead compete for existing stock.

    • Don Sebastopol

      Good point. He will outbid others with lower incomes. This will not stop anyone from moving to the Mission.

      • I don’t think it will stop people, but it seems like it will slow them down. So instead of having several hundred residents driving up prices at the local markets while they utilize and overtax the resources of the neighborhood, there’ll only be a few as apartments become open.

        • Don Sebastopol

          It is true that no one will come in if no one leaves. People leaving because they were evicted is actually a very small number compared to the total housing. A small percent of people leave because they were displaced or move for cheaper housing. However, gentrification tends to slow mobility. The are becomes more desirable to stay. More money coming into the neighborhood creates jobs for people living in the neighborhood. I would guess they also drive up prices but my add more resources. I would also guess a local business would have no problem being overtaxed.

          • Here’s the scenario I see. Our local markets have lower prices that Safeway. Gentrifiers however, mostly shop at Safeway. Consequently, every timer we get a new one, our local markets get incrrametnally lower revenue. To compensate for this lost revenue, they have to raise prices. At some point, there will be an avalanche effect, and they’ll lose all their customers because they had to raise their prices above Safeway’s. That how we lose our local markets, and a part of our neighborhood character.

            At the same time, as they’re raising prices, we’re losing residents who are simply being priced out of the neighborhood because their living expenses go up. As these people leave, and are replaced by gentrifiers, I think it will contribute to the avalanche I hypothesized above

            My concern about overtaxing resources also comes form my Safeway hypothesis. From my personal experience, gentrifiers love to drive, which means they’ll clog our roads. Then, the issue in elections becomes not how to we create jobs for our neighborhood, or are our schools getting enough support, but how much money we can dedicate to improving roads or interchanges. We saw this a bit this election when the traffic around BART station, and the Persia, Ocean, Mission intersection became issues. I feel the issue we should have been looking at is how to setup the Art and Technical High School with SFCC to create an 8 year program that would supply tech workers to the local startups. If we supply them from within, the money comes back to our neighborhoods, and we don’t have housing pressures from tech workers moving in from other locations.

          • Mrs.Phelan

            Don’t know which Safeway you shop at but my Safeway on Mission and France is predominately Hispanic and Asian shoppers. The hipsters/gentrifiers shop at Whole Foods on Ocean & Brighten. (which is where I shop as the organics at my Safeway leave a lot to be desired and Rainbow is too far away)

      • FunKing

        20 years ago I moved to SF and was earning 100K a year – a good salary then and easily enough to buy a home. I wanted to be in the Mission. And I liked the new live/work lofts that were going up then (the early ones were good; the later ones, not so much)

        Thing was, there were so few of them that they were expensive. For the same price I could buy a 3-unit building, so I did. And of course did an OMI on the tenants in one unit.

        The next year another of the three flats vacated naturally. At that point I paid off the third set of tenants and got a vacant building. I sold off the 2 other units as TIC’s and, together, the three owners condo converted the building.

        Result: 3 affordable units forever lost to the city.

        Reason: there was no decent choice of new units to buy

        Lesson: I’m sure Campos believes what he says but the law of uninended consequences is a bitch

        • Don Sebastopol

          Result: 3 additional more affordable owner occupied units. In general the higher the percent of owner occupied the nicer the neighborhood. Thank you for making SF a better place to live.

    • Foginacan

      Affordable has no meaning. He can go rent a deluxe apartment in the sky, and it’s not going to help the random Jane with competition for the budget apartments available.

  • curiousKulak

    Sonia didn’t specify “Latinos” as being the nativists, Tim. I took her comment to be ALL of SF, including the Supes, who are opposed to more housing and more housing in the Mission. And I think it a pretty accurate comment. We live in times where loyalty to ‘team’ trumps (pardon the verb) loyalty to the welfare of the commonweal.

    SF has increased population by at least 60,000, but has not provided the housing to match that increase — in fact it opposes increasing any housing just as they’re doing here.

    Examples of anti-gentrified neighborhoods would have to include the Tenderloin. Just try to move to that hood. Unless you are on a list and receive govmint subsidy, you’re SOL. But I guess that’s what our current crop of nativists want; as long as they don’t try to build in Forest Hill (or Telegraph Hill either).

  • Kraus

    Ms. Trauss’s comments were spot on and obviously struck a sore spot with the ideologically-driven Supervisors Campos, Avalos and Peskin.

    You can’t be pro-immigration and anti-migration.

    You can’t be pro-equity and anti-housing.

    You can’t be pro-environment and anti-density.

    The collective hypocrisy of these 3 Supervisors — and the pettiness of Campos, in particular — knows no bounds.

    Thankfully, Campos and Avalos — along with Mar — are termed out and the backward-looking, reactionary mind-set represented by Peskin will be in the minority when the new, post-election Board convenes.

    • Don Sebastopol

      If more density harms the current environment you can be anti-density. The others may be true.

      • disco_burrito

        No, increased urban density is associated with lower impact on the natural environment. I.e.

        -more density means less sprawl and more natural environment
        -more density means dramatically less energy used for transit (Google urban density and transport related energy consumption, we are neither dense or efficient)
        -more density means lower per capita water usage
        -more density means fewer cars
        -more density means smaller living spaces with less consumption of furnishing and fixtures
        Etc

        Anti-density is the selfish preservation of the built environment stemming from the desire to keep things as they are.

        • Don Sebastopol

          The problem is that most people don’t want to live in noisy rabbit hutches; noise pollution. With higher density also comes more heath problems and a lower quality of life. There is also a coloration between lower density and more families with children. Families want 3 bedrooms and a yard. I like my lower density single family neighborhood and would like to keep it as it is. It is a quality of life issue.

          There are areas that have been rezoned from agricultural to rural residential where there a many trees where there were none before. It looks more “natural.” And people who have more space a quiet are happier. Looking a grass and trees is much preferable to looking at pavement and concrete.

          • Heart

            Circle jerk.

          • whateversville

            If people want to live in large single family homes with yards, a major city might not be the best place for them…

          • Don Sebastopol

            That may mean a major city might not be the best place for children. However, they could design dense family friendly units; 3 and 4 bedrooms with a common play area. But not much of that is being built. It is mostly small one or two bedroom units. On the other hand the demand comes from young people without children who will occupy single family homes if they don’t have other options.

          • Mrs.Phelan

            You obviously don’t know San Francisco. 60% of the housing in SF is composed of 3 bedroom (2 up, 1 down) attached stucco homes with a yard. I grew up in one in the Parkside. I raised my daughter in one in Mission Terrace. I now living in one in Vis Valley. It is a great place to raise kids – public transit = freedom!

          • voltairesmistress

            Modern construction technology can, when properly employed, mitigate dense living arrangements. Double panel glass, insulation, properly supported floors, thicker walls, etc. all dampen noise and increase environmental savings. No reason to equate density with rabbit hutches.

    • Do Something Nice

      You CAN be pro-density and anti-displacement.

      You CAN be pro-density and anti-economic-injustice.

      Thanks to Trump, it looks like you will not see the BOS you want for quite some time.

  • Heart

    Please do go to the SFGOV link listed within the article and watch the comments. You will see a parade of union workers in fluorescent safety vests (they might well have worn their hard hats too) insisting that the project will provide work and that those opposed should be sacrificed to make way for these short lived construction specific jobs. That’s a call to sacrifice existing residents for temporary jobs–so that young prosperous tech workers can further colonize the neighborhood. SFBARF’s arrogant darling Sonja Trauss’ comments (at 3:14) speak for themselves. The same may be said of SFHAC’s employee and Community Organizer Corey Smith who follows at about 3:20; he compares the young, new prosperous but “homeless” arrivals/workers to refugees and immigrants and in revolting imagery says that “San Francisco needs to open our arms to them.” Smith is also a member of the AstroTurf (and unfortunately named) RFKennedy Dem Club; he does their videotaped “news” propaganda pieces. He also is the Treasurer for another “democratic club” the D5 Dems. To summarize: the Trauses and Smiths of the world have been trying to incite ageist, racist, classist warfare in their march to displace and build at whatever cost. We can only hope that the Board of Supervisors will continue to oppose these ghoulish tactics to displace families, elders and residents.

    • Corey Smith

      Hey there! Ya mentioned me, figured I’d respond (I’m Corey).

      My point was actually that I believe we need to make room for everyone in San Francisco (and the entire Bay Area tbh), regardless of age, race, or class. Having participated in the MAP2020 discussions, I’m very aware of the pain and fear felt by residents in the Mission. It’s not to be disregarded in ANY way. But I also believe that if we stop building homes for people, the problem will be exacerbated.

      Also, who on earth would want to displace ANYONE? That’s awful and I’m frankly offended that you think it’s a GOAL of mine :-(.

      As far as the “newcomers” I want to welcome, it’s not only refugees and immigrants. I’d also like to welcome Americans who feel like they’ve been priced out of the Bay Area.

      As far as Busy People, I’d love to hear ways you think we could improve. It’s critical to me that we maintain a neutral tone when letting folks know what’s going on in our City. I’m happy to chat more if you’d like, feel free to email me at cwsmith17@gmail.com if you want to grab coffee sometime soon.

      Corey

      • Heart

        Oh hey there Corey. I just reviewed the hearing comments. You stated “I do kinda wanna hop on Sonya’s comment a little bit. Our city did make statements about our city being a sanctuary city and about welcoming others and I think that one of the ways we can make sure that we open our arms and hearts to newcomers is by putting shovels in the ground.” So I’m wondering: are you ok with Trauss’ nativist comments, and where she refers to opponents of this project as “exaclty the same as people that don’t want immigrants.” And do you stand by your own comments comparing immigrants seeking sanctuary from federal agents and law enforcement here in SF with “newcomers” and new arrivals looking for places to buy or rent? Just curious.

        • Corey Smith

          I believe the general nature of divisive comments is problematic. Creating an “us” vs. “them” mentality means we’re fighting each other instead of working together towards a solution we all work to achieve. Looking back, I really wish I had emphasized the need to understand the concerns of the community (something I did this afternoon at the Planning Commission by the way, with many of the same folks in the room). I’ve been involved with the MAP2020 meetings with community members and I hope (and honestly believe) they know I’m doing what I can to help.

          If you understood my comment as comparing Mission residents currently living in their homes as a equal situation to immigrants refugees seeking safety, I apologize for the misunderstanding. I do believe San Francisco should be a City for everyone who wants to live here and we need to figure out a way to make that happen without kicking people out of their homes.

          I was bothered by some of the comments made by project opponents, including referring to Supervisors as Klansmens. Overall, I was really sad that the anger felt between different groups in San Francisco matches the unfortunate anger we’re feeling as a country. We all love our City and love our country, even with imperfections.

      • Do Something Nice

        Shame on you for comparing newcomers to refugees. Your values suck. As do you.

        Want to actually improve things? Work to have large companies relocate to economic depressed areas of the country. They need help. They need jobs. They probably have affordable housing.

        • Corey Smith

          I won’t participate in a name calling contest but relocating employers means we lose MASSIVE revenue sources from both the companies and their employees.

          That’s less money for roads, schools, MUNI, and fire department. Considering our City may be losing $1 BILLION from the federal government, I don’t think it’s the time (now or ever) to send the jobs away.

      • Foginacan

        “I’m sad that we lost the opporunity to build homes for these people.”

        You should be. You, along with an influx of astroturf, contributed to the current climate which deserves much blame.

  • Kraus

    The Eastern Neighborhoods Plan took a decade to implement; going into effect in 2008.

    The Western SOMA Plan took 12 years and went into effect just a couple of years ago.

    To now insist on putting housing development on hold until these Plans are revisited yet again is nonsensical.

    Ultimately, the reason that people are finding it increasingly difficult to “afford their own homes” is that for the past 40 years we have made it increasingly difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to create housing.

    Because of poor/anti-housing policy, we are now at the point of crisis where large portions of the population are having to spend a disproportionate amount of their income on housing and are experiencing real housing anxiety. This excessive burden is being placed unfairly on the backs of the young, newly-arrived and those of modest means.

    The attitudes of backward-looking politicians such as Campos, Avalos, Peskin, Kim, Mar & Yee, et al, have been — and continue to be — instrumental in continuing and even doubling-down on this failed approach.

    The irony and hypocrisy of their ideology — its craven/self-righteous/pandering bluster — is staggering.

    We should be encouraging and incentivizing the creation of housing — all types of housing — not discouraging and penalizing it. This is the only way out of this morass.

    • Don Sebastopol

      I have no doubt there is anxiety, but what data are there regarding other factors such as disproportionate amount of income on housing. From what I have read SF is not in the top 10 counties in that regard. Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties have a greater “crisis.” Maybe those counties should build more housing.

      • disco_burrito

        Or maybe we should build housing where the jobs are so we don’t have more commuters clogging our freeways and polluting the air

        • Don Sebastopol

          Over 80% of the jobs in the Bay Area are not in SF. Employers have located where they can find workers. I agree Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa county should build more housing. But that is no guarantee people will live in the same city where they work. There are examples where as many people leave their city for work as there are people coming into the city for work.

    • disco_burrito

      This is the voice of reason

    • voltairesmistress

      Great comment. So true.

  • Don Sebastopol

    It won’t be enough to keep White people from moving to the Mission to preserve its ethnic purity. Those bad White people will move there anyway. And it may not be possible to prevent Latinos from moving out to other SF neighborhoods.

  • SnapsMcKenzie

    I think Campos was more upset by the fact that an initiative crafted specifically to continue to provide him with city employment was defeated this election – meaning he has to get a j-o-b.

  • whateversville

    1515 South Van Ness would have offered 25% BMR housing without any upzoning or government funding—the only project to do so in San Francisco history. No existing housing would be demolished, and no residents displaced. Mcmillan electric relocated a few blocks away and was able to hire more workers. In response to community concerns about PDR space, the developer set aside half of the ground-floor retail for local artists and trade shops, and committed to working with Calle24 to find local tenants that would benefit the LCD.

    This was a good project, and it got delayed because David Campos got so offended by public comment? Sounds like it must have been a bad comment.

    Was it when a speaker yelled that Campos’ colleagues are alt-right neo-fascist bigots in Klan robes? Was it when he said they are “nasty, vile humans” and “self-centered, self-seeking whores”?

    No. It turns out that Campos is delaying 40 units of affordable housing because someone said this:

    “Earlier, a commenter said, “You’re bringing a stranger into our neighborhood,” as if it was self-evident that that was bad.
    As if everyone here could obviously see that that’s bad.
    And that disturbed me a lot. I’ve actually always been disturbed by nativism in San Francisco. In San Francisco of all places, we should not take for granted that bringing strangers into our neighborhood is gonna be a bad thing. The opponents of this project seem to know a lot about who’s gonna live there, which I think is mysterious. I don’t know how they would know that.
    The Mission Moratorium report that the controller’s office prepared last year said that in new buildings, 84% of residents are people that already lived in San Francisco, so the idea that– If this building was filled with newcomers, first of all, so what, right? In Trump’s America we’re already disturbed by nativism everywhere. We don’t like it. And when you come here to the Board of Supervisors and say that you don’t want new, different people in your neighborhood, you’re exactly the same as Americans all over the country that don’t want immigrants. It is the same attitude. It is the exact same attitude.
    So basically, you can be the kind of person that’s ready to have new people come into your neighborhood or you can be the kind of person that wants to keep people different than you out of your neighborhood. I know what kind of person I am: I want to build more housing, I want more people to be able to live here, and I want a wide diversity of people to be able to live here. And I’m not going to pretend to know who’s going to live in that building. Thanks.”

    Some people don’t like Sonja Trauss. Fine. That’s not a horrifying statement by any stretch. She didn’t “compare the Latino community that is concerned about displacement to Donald Trump’s nativists,” Tim. She pointed out one particular comment that vilified strangers, not displacement.

    This shouldn’t be controversial.

    • Do Something Nice

      “This was a good project, and it got delayed because David Campos got so
      offended by public comment? Sounds like it must have been a bad comment.”

      The vote was 9-0 against the project. It wasn’t just one supervisor.

      • whateversville

        You think it would have gone 8-1 if Campos hadn’t flipped? Come on.

        • Heart

          What’s the point of engaging in hypotheticals? Each and every single supervisor voted against the project. Let that sink in whateversville.

          • FunKing

            There is something of a “quid pro quo” arrangement between the supervisors such that if an issue is solely within one supervisorial district, then the other Supes will generally defer to the supervisor of that district.

            So for instance when Wiener wanted special zoning rules for Corona Heights, the other Supes all voted for that even though some probably did not like it.

          • curiousKulak

            And these are instances where the good of the City gets trumped by the ‘good’ of a small part of the City.

            There are too many unanimous decisions in a City that is far from unanimous.

          • Victoria Fierce

            You seem to think that the other supervisors would want to pick a fight with Campos by voting in favor of something he opposes. Its called horse trading, and not every vote indicates the true position of a supervisor.

    • Foginacan

      “She didn’t “compare the Latino community that is concerned about displacement to Donald Trump’s nativists,” Tim”

      She absolutely did.

      • Mrs.Phelan

        Watched the video. I’m not a fan of “build baby build” Sonja Trauss, but she was comparing the the precious white college graduates (hipsters and “artist” if you prefer) who live in the Mission and are at the forefront of Mission NIMBYISM. I lived in the Mission in the early ’80s and again in ’91 when the invasion of hipsters was just beginning. Back then no one cared about white hipsters displacing Lations because the “disruptors” were artist – they were cool progressives and they knew how to scam. Hipsters being displaced by techies is no loss to the city of St Francis. A majority of the property in the Mission is owned by immigrants. This “nativism,” done in their name, is really privileged white people depriving these immigrants of the opportunity to see their investments come to fruition.

        • Foginacan

          Sorry, but when we talk about displacement in the Mission, we’re not talking solely about displacement of the 90’s era wave of hipsters, and SFBARF aren’t defending immigrant property owners, they’re defending a developer that’s in 40 regions, that owns mortgage and title companies.

        • passager_clandestin

          That is exactly wrong. The appreciation of their property is allowing existing residents to benefit from their investments.

  • danimalssf

    Newsflash: Tim isn’t exactly being honest about what Campos said.

    “I’m not happy [with] what was presented by the appellants,” he (Campos) said. “I don’t think they did a good enough job in many respects.”
    He didn’t buy their arguments, he just threw a temper tantrum because his feelings were hurt by what Trauss said.
    It is humorous that folks are bent out of shape about false articles on Facebook effecting the election, while sites like 48 Hills do pretty much the same damn thing. Not telling the whole truth is the same as lying in my book

  • Sadly, the new board of supes will include Safari who is bought and paid for by tech company funding. It’s awesome that Avalos helped to slow this down before he left though. Hopefully the slow downs can turn into stops before this nonsense gets to Excelsior

    • Heart

      Ahh yes Tokyo. Hong Kong. Not San Francisoc and thankfully never will be.

      • David Vargas

        You forgot to mention Paris, which is slightly smaller than San Francisco but holds about 1.5 million more people. Gaw that place is just awful isn’t it?

        • Corey Smith

          It’s so awful and crowded that no one goes there anymore.

          • David Vargas

            yeah it’s a total ghost town

  • As someone who has given much public comment, I had often wondered about its impact. Now I can think a little differently about it. This story is heartening in its outcome.

    • disco_burrito

      So you’re heartened by the restriction of the housing supply?

  • disco_burrito

    Progressive housing policy got us into this pickle and it’s not going to get us out.

    The city of Tokyo builds 75% more housing annually than the entire state of California, despite having just 1/3rd the population. See “Why Tokyo is the land of rising home construction but not prices.”

    Yes we can build our way out of this crisis.

    • Heart

      No. Actually. Trickle down building does not work.

      • Kraus

        No. Actually, your tired, old, “dog-whistle” slogans from the Reagan era, and worn-out ideologies from times past, are what’s no longer working.

        “disco_burrito” is absolutely correct.

        Tokyo, a world-class city, has housing costs that are 1/4 that of San Francisco.

        This is due to sensible housing policy that is driven by the general/national interest, not petty, local, self-interest as it is in SF/the Bay Area.

        • Heart

          Newsflash: San Francisco ain’t Tokyo.

          • Kraus

            That’s right; Tokyo has sensible/equitable housing policies that result in significantly lower housing costs — while San Francisco, under the influence of so-called “progressives”, has nonsensical (anti) housing policies that has resulted in runaway housing costs.

          • curiousKulak

            Its my understanding that in Japan, there is little emphasis on retaining the old – at least for residential housing. So, someone buys a house, and immediately plans a tear-down with new construction — even if the old bldg is entirely sound and aesthetically pleasing. That might explain the pace of new building.

            San Francisco of course is branded by 150 yo Victorians like the Painted Ladies.

            San Frnacisco also, for better or worse, cherishes a 50 year old funeral homes, chicken shacks or tire shops over building for all the new jobs they also cherish.

          • disco_burrito

            Japan preserves temples and shrines, and also has about 100 clusters of historical buildings that are protected (villages/neigborhoods). Otherwise they view buildings as temporary and disposable. Additionally, the replacement of old buildings is seen as desirable for earthquake safety.

            Japan’s ability to build housing stems from the 2002 urban renaissance law that hands zoning control to the central government, combined with by right zoning. So no local control, environmental review, neighbors suing, etc.

            There’s a good article about this on FT called “Why Tokyo is the land of rising home construction but not prices.”

      • disco_burrito

        I agree with you in part, but I also think the trickle down concept is a flawed way of looking at the problem.

        If we had unconstrained land use it would be profitable to build housing for most income levels, with the exception of the poorest segments of the population. There will always be people that need assistance, the issue right now is that segment has grown to more than half the population (myself included).

        Developers focus on luxury housing because it is the most profitable segment and the demand is still in unmet.

        Say you’re a baker and there’s a shortage of wheat (eg you live in Venezuela) and you only have enough for 20 loaves of bread a day. Assuming you’re not interested in charity, you’re going to bake what’s most profitable. That means baking olive batard for $10 a loaf, not wonder bread for $2.

        Would you try to “fix” this problem by mandating the Baker make 25% of their bread affordable through a lottery? Or would you try to fix the problem from the supply side?

        Let’s say we mandate 25% affordable bread for $3 a loaf. Now we have a lottery for a few loaves of bread that meets a tiny percentage of the demand. Additionally, we have reduced the supply of market rate bread, driving the price up further.

        If we don’t attack the supply side of the problem we will always have too many people chasing too few housing units. That means more people being priced out of the market and more crowding.

        • sebra leaves

          The results of a unanimous vote in favor of the appeal speak for themselves. Regardless of who said what and what was meant, there is a new realization on the part of many San Francisco residents that the attitudes of people who are moving here are not pleasant and friendly attitudes. There is a flavor of “winner take all” Vegas mentality that brings a bitter taste. Given the choice, who do you choose to support? In this instance, the Board of Supervisors supported the residents who want to stay. They also redrew some lines. By the way, there have been a number of recent higher court cases that have sided with the arguments the appellants were making, so we are not so far off in our reasoning with regard to relevance of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan.

          • disco_burrito

            You’re confusing consensus with facts. Just because the board unanimously supports something or a court sides with someone doesn’t mean that support will achieve the desired outcome. We like to think of ourselves as rational creatures, but that is often not the case.

            How is blocking 1515 South Van Ness the same as supporting residents who want to stay? We’re not preserving existing housing and we’re missing out on 40 BMR housing units. Additionally we’re losing another 100+ market rate units that can house “unfriendly” tech people, many of whom will just shop for existing housing instead.

  • passager_clandestin

    What Strauss says was right on. And the reporting in this article is misleading. I encourage everyone to actually listen to the video.

    • Heart

      Trauss’ racist, ageist classist comments were rejected.

      • curiousKulak

        I reject your interpretation. Unless you want to ID exactly where she was ageist & racist. She was decribing NIMBYism in the fly-over and in the Golden Gate.

  • francis_t

    Having watched this housing circus go on for 30+ years since I became politically aware, San Francisco is digging itself deeper into a housing crisis, not solving it. A building with 25% below market rate and NO displacement–that’s about as good as it gets. If you want your position to be “the city should stay the same forever and no new housing should be built ever” that’s fine, but then you can’t complain that the existing housing stock gets more expensive as the population increases. Either new housing is built, or it isn’t.

  • sebra leaves

    Sanctuary City has taken on a new meaning that may shift the political
    climate in a surprising way. We have sensed a negativity that is finally
    being exposed for what it is. Now city hall has chosen to close ranks
    to protect its own. For that we are grateful.

  • 4th Gen SF

    I see both sides of the issue here. OTOH there’s helping SF be less dense, which is a good thing. However, if that heppens, the people who are renters will be out of SF quickly. And if that happens, SF gets gentrified even faster. OTOH, even building more housing will create more lux places for people and people will get gentrified out & it will take all the rental units with it. So, OTOH, SF is totally desireable to live in…CURRENTLY. Change has always happened with SF. Always. Got to go with the flow.

  • Mrs.Phelan

    Watched the video. I’m not a fan of “build baby build” Sonja Trauss, but she did not compare Latinos to Trump nativism. She was comparing the the precious white college graduates (hipsters and “artist” if you prefer) who live in the Mission and are at the forefront of Mission NIMBYISM. I lived in the Mission in the early ’80s and again in ’91 when the invasion of hipsters was just beginning. Back then no one cared about white hipsters displacing Lations because the “disruptors” were artist – they were cool progressives and they knew how to scam. Hipsters being displaced by techies is no loss to the city of St Francis. A majority of the property in the Mission is owned by people who came here as immigrants. This “nativism,” done in their name, is really privileged white people depriving these immigrants of the opportunity to see their investment come to fruition.

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