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Sunday, September 26, 2021

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News + PoliticsThe developers are nervous about the Mission Moratorium

The developers are nervous about the Mission Moratorium

A crazy letter from a leading local developer, and a poll showing Prop. I leading, demonstrates how worried the industry is about a possible slowdown in luxury condos

The Monster in the Mission is in trouble, and developers are worried about the Mission Moratorium
The Monster in the Mission is in trouble, and developers are worried about the Mission Moratorium

By Tim Redmond

AUGUST 25, 2015 – The real-estate developers of San Francisco are worried about the Mission Moratorium. And according to at least one recent poll I’ve heard about, they have grounds for concern.

How worried are they? Well, Joe Eskenazi got a copy of a letter sent by Oz Erickson, a longtime developer, and he’s so freaked out he’s talking about Nazi Germany:

“I am starting to feel a little like Pastor Niemoller in Nazi Germany,” Erickson wrote in an August 15 letter obtained exclusively by San Francisco. “You are all probably familiar with his famous words. ‘First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then, they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then, they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.’”

“Hyperbolic for me to bring up Niemoller,” Erickson acknowledges, “but if we let [Mission District developers] Maximus and Podell go down in flames even if they were in part responsible for the mess, we jeopardize development throughout the city. . . . The mood against construction is getting hysterical.”

Those poor, oppressed real-estate developers. (BTW, Erikson apparently isn’t pals with the Mission district developers, who he thinks are part of the problem. He tells his pals that they need to give money to “correct a mess they had no responsibility in creating.”)

His fear: If the Mission Moratorium passes, next thing you know other neighborhoods will also be asking for planning controls. The next thing you know, the people of San Francisco might start saying they don’t want more of the type of housing that creates more problems than it solves. The next thing you know, we might have another law like the original Prop. K, which would have forced developers to go through a more arduous planning process if the city didn’t hit a 30 percent affordability level.

The next thing you know, the ATM that is high-end residential development in San Francisco might start to close. And that would be just awful for these speculators and investors.

The next thing you know, sites that could be turned into million-dollar condos might be available for the city to buy and use for affordable housing.

So Erickson, who is already helping the mayor raise money for the housing bond, Prop. A (which, he says, developers promised to fund if Sup. Jane Kim would pull back on Prop. K), wants his friends also to pony up to defeat Prop. I, the Mission Moratorium.

He wants Maxiumus and Podell (developer of the Beast on Bryant) to kick in $500,000 each, and everyone else to give “$10 to $20K.”

Problem: Maximus doesn’t really have a project right now, since the land in question in tied up in litigation, and Podell is about to run into a buzz-saw of community opposition when the Bryant St. project comes before the Planning Commission Sept. 10.

So do those developers really want to put half a million dollars each into defeating an 18-month delay – when there’s a good chance neither of their projects will be shovel-ready in 18 months anyway?

Dunno. But here’s why Erickson is so manic about raising money for No on I:

A poll taken shortly before the campaign started shows the concept of a Mission Moratorium ahead, 52-38 – not just in the Mission but citywide, Gabriel Medina, policy director at MEDA and part of the Yes on I campaign, told me.

The poll, done by an eminently reputable local organization, suggests that Prop. I has support in almost every supervisorial district.

There will, of course, be a campaign against it, and the Board of Realtors is taking the lead in that effort. Erickson urges his pals to “get back to Mary Jung about Prop. I.” Jung is the chief lobbyist for the realtors – oh, and by the way, serves as chair of the local Democratic Party.

But the realtors are also involved in the campaign for Julie Christensen in D3, and Mayor Lee is hitting them up for Prop. A. So I don’t know how much money they are going to be able to kick in.

There’s no big money behind the Yes on I campaign; it’s entirely a grassroots effort. And it’s hard to win a citywide campaign when you have a million bucks or so against you.

But Medina told me he’s not seeing any signs of that kind of money flowing yet — and it’s almost September.

Erickson says he has no financial interest here – “my projects are all approved, and either fully leased or under construction with long term fixed-rate financing.” His fear: If Prop. A loses and Prop. I wins, “construction slows down, future development becomes extraordinarily risky, Richmond-style rent control appears on the scene and overall, the city, which I adore, gets unmercifully savaged.”

As if many of the long-term residents of neighborhoods like the Mission don’t think the city,  which they adore, is already getting unmercifully savaged. And many of them see Prop. I as a solution.

Tim Redmond
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.
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  1. Smart Balance Wheel

    I purchased all the quick types with respect to our little and she has already Smart Balance Wheel for about 4 or 5 yrs, but yet they can even now fit in! really fascinated!

  2. Yes be careful not to read any scientific research articles. They can contain the deadly virus that can infect your mind with a new idea.

  3. Most of those rent controlled units are not at risk of eviction because they are

    in buildings too large to convert from TIC to condo so they are not at as much risk of displacement and eviction.

    6 unit and below buildings are the prime concern for acquisition and conversion.

  4. In other words, my mind is made up, don’t bother me with the facts. I understand your point of view entirely.

  5. Don’t want viruses, don’t click on links from trolls… never know what corner of the internet you crawled out of.

  6. That makes no damned sense.

    You may find it emotionally repulsive to look upon the usurious, rapacious greed that is fueling the SF real estate economy, and that’s good. A light needs to be shone on this disgusting behaviour, so that people know the true face, the source, of our rising inequality.

  7. These inaccuracies and their emotional force bring us to confront our inner most motives. Unless stopping for a moment, thinking on our next steps and acting accordingly doesn’t do the job. And better.

    Did you have anything else to contribute?

  8. The city still can’t come up with that much money. There are something like 172,000 rent controlled units in the city. To purchase them at FMV from every owner if/when they decide to sell would amount to many billions of dollars.

  9. Ding ding, we have a winner! You get the ‘inappropriately reference Hitler’ internet award for today – you should be proud of scraping the bottom of the barrel of rhetorical strategies. How will you celebrate!?

    It’s not lying, it’s true. Developers and landlords in SF are usurious in their practices.

    Read up, stupid is not the new black:


  10. Exactly! So, shouldn’t building more housing for 40,000 households who move within the city and establish new tenancies every year be the priority?

    You knew the city doesn’t add 90,000 population a year, right?

  11. There was no public comment on this ballot measure. There was public comment on the legislative moratorium that failed.

    There is a general objection to the pace of market rate development in the Mission. When someone puts forth a potential solution to that and people support it, that does not mean that the proposal is the only thing that people would support nor does it mean that there are not other ways to get to the solution.

    The solutions chosen by Campos, to secure parcels, and by the measure, to charge the MOH/MOWED/Planning with working with nonprofits are but two of many means to address the problem via moratorium.

    One technique of the nonprofity types on the payroll of the City and dependent upon remaining in the good graces, as we see with CCHO and Cohen and Prop K/Prop A, is that they channel public outrage into only solutions that the nonprofits provide.

    Thus there is no evidence that what the nonprofits suggest would be the voters’ first choice. It is their only choice and we get nothing but a thumbs up or down on what they put in front of us.

    I went to those meetings on the ballot measure. They were a front, a waste of time, the choices had all been made behind closed doors on the community’s behalf by people who don’t live here but are dependent on city funding.

    I’m going to vote for Prop I because it is dangerous to the broader issue of contesting market rate development to pick a fight and lose. And that is what the nonprofits are counting on–bait and switch as usual.

    The nonprofits get paid and the gang rape of the Mission proceeds apace.

  12. I watched about 4-5 hours of public comment on the moratorium. Members of the neighborhood were unanimous in their support of it… You could even say they were desperately pleading for it. The only people that came out against it were developers, and libertarian types that had not lived here over 5 years., and both those groups were extremely outnumbered.

  13. And? The issues here are about economic diversity, and housing accessibility. Dismissing the issues as ‘cities change’ doesn’t contribute anything. The ‘changes’ of the last 20 years could have been prevented had the city not been bought and sold…starting with Willie Brown.

  14. The rental streams will not pencil out in the vast majority of purchases. Subsidies will be needed.

    Look at Pigeon Palace – in order for Khris to keep his cheap rent, the two vacant units will have to be let at market ($5000/). Thats not “affordable” now, and is not likely to be in the conceivable future.

    Yet you would risk more than the entirety of SFs bonding status to insure that current residents can gouge their roommates, make money on the side, and never have to say they’re sorry.

  15. Because if we stop building bicycles, then quads will not be able to hail the cabs occupied by techie droids.

  16. There are literally thousands of peer reviewed research papers on the topic of supply and demand. It is the most well understood principle in economics. Want me to point you to the body of literature? I suppose any complex poorly understood system appears to be magic to those who cannot comprehend it. Or your case, who willfully prefer to remain ignorant.

  17. The other take away is that developers are convinced that metering would pass the voters yet CCHO traded that winning hand for everyone for a giant cash prize for themselves.

  18. Nope, the City can impose right of first refusal on sales and leverage general obligation and mortgage revenue bonds plus rental income streams to make it pencil out over time.

  19. The problem is that the way the moratorium is written, it will be the nonprofits negotiating for their own narrow interests instead of for the residents of the neighborhood who not included as stakeholders in the initiative. This gives the same interests that brought us Eastern Neighborhoods a second bite at the apple. They will probably make matters much worse.

  20. I’d like a pony too.

    You should become a developer, the City will throw a stable full of ponies at you.

  21. So you a prejudicial prick who hates techies for no good reason and assumes that anyone who has characteristics that you don’t like is a techie.

    And you wonder why you keep losing elections???

  22. If you’re claiming demand is unlimited for SF housing, as you did upthread, how is a low income housing program not going to wind up a lottery?

  23. Because every new luxury condo is one less rich person outbidding a less rich person for existing housing stock? It’s not terribly complicated. I mean, it hasn’t made them cheaper than they were before, because we’re not adding enough housing to keep up with growth. But it sure as hell has made the existing stock cheaper than it would have been if we’d added even less housing stock.

  24. I don’t understand how this is supposed to work. Rich people want to live in San Francisco because it’s San Francisco, not because the specific house they buy. They’ll just outbid other people for current housing stock if there’s no new building, which creates more misery, sprawl, etc.

  25. To do that we’d have to use eminent domain to purchase all the privately owned rent-controlled housing in the city. It is legally and financially unfeasible.

  26. Shouldn’t building more housing for 40,000 households who establish new tenancies every year be the priority?

  27. No, there are way too many evictions and way to little stabilization of existing housing. The lead time to building is onerous in any event, marshaling funding and such. Nope, the shortest distance between here and more affordable housing is acquisition of RC units and conversion into CLT.

  28. So, since way too little market rate housing is under construction, shouldn’t the first order of business then be to build?

  29. There are fewer than 8,000 units under construction in San Francisco. There are over 20,000 units in rent controlled housing at high risk of Ellis, over 40,000 at risk.

    Socializing all development is significantly more practical.

  30. I could support something like that. However, most rent-controlled housing is “at risk” to some degree. It would be interesting to see how many properties have tenants paying less than 50% of market rate, were such data available.

    My concern with buying out “at risk” properties is that it helps relatively few people at enormous public cost. I believe we are better served by spending such large sums on infrastructure.

  31. Way to duck the question. Even if all new construction is blocked, what’s going to stop the wealthy from buying up the existing housing stock?

  32. Why is it San Francisco’s job to solve all the housing problems for the greater Bay Area region? Why is the failure to “build affordable housing” in San Mateo, Marin, Alameda, Contra Costa county our problem? Why do we have to solve it in a city of 49 square miles, much of which is taken up by a national park and a city park?

  33. The bottleneck is with developers and their timidity and conservative investment posture. The costs of removing those bottlenecks are way too high for the City. Tough shit.

  34. Socializing all development is not practical, especially when the nonprofit developers are so eager to cut crap deals with market rate developers so long as they get their protection money.

    Leveraging public resources to buy rent controlled housing at risk of Ellis is. Scaling it will be a challenge but less of a challenge than socializing all development.

  35. What taxes should we raise? What percentage? How much revenue will it generate? How do we spend that revenue?

    If we are 10,000 or more units short, and it costs the city $900k to build one unit, we need to raise $9B, or 110% of the city’s annual budget, to make up that shortfall.

  36. Even the new affordable housing built in the Mission would be considered #LUXURY homes if the only criteria is the price to build it. The only difference is how much its rented for, becasue the rest of the amount is subsidized. Thats great and all, but if you try and scale this model up to actually fix the housing crisis, it wont work. It would take tens of billions of dollars. It would also require massive amounts of construction (50k-100k units), which none of the mission activists are willing to admit.

  37. You’re suggestions for solutions are mostly impractical or impossible.

    “Raise taxes on any individual making over $80k” -CA action req’d

    “on corporate gains,”

    again, CA-action req’d

    “on building permit fees for market-rate development”

    Ok, possible. But its effect (to compel “affordable” development over market-rate) is uncertain; in this market, TICs are selling at 95% price of full condos, so not sure a plus-bump in market-price will have deterrent effect.

    “Raise taxes on luxury cars.”
    again, CA-act req’d

    “Raise taxes on all financial transactions.”

    think that may req Fed action, but at any rate nothing of local action adheres.

    “Reinstate payroll taxes on Twitter et al”

    Possible. I think. But we just moved away from payroll taxes for all employers. Surely you must mean the IPO tax, of which SF is the only county in CA to have that one.

    “Expand taxes and fees on home sales of anything over $1M”

    defeated at the polls recently, and iirc, for $2m+. wanna try again?

    “Tax the ever-loving shit out of second homes, especially those owned by foreign nationals.”

    not sure that is even possible with CA-action, but maybe you’ve got the inside scoop.

    IOW, you have no real plan for bringing about change. You claim things (“any pro-development article written in the last year, they all claim that building market rate lowers cost across the board”) that you can’t support with evidence; and you like to make Biblical references (whats the matter with quoting good ole Carl Marx?)

    You seem to have good intentions (working w/ HfH), and you are angry at what you see as current injustices. But you puncture your posts with spittle-inflected attacks on those you consider “usurious” or “greedy”, instead of attacking greed itself. A 5-7% ROI is unrealistic, even for “affordable” housing developers (though I’ll admit the political risks are probably much lower – thus lower expected return).

  38. Once you regulate the market to eliminate usury, who gets housed, if not winners of a lottery of some sort?

  39. He wore the uniform / had all the proper semiotic details. …also: the bullshit coming out of his mouth.

  40. Wouldn’t that make the evil people those who support policies that ensure kids will crowd four and eight to a flat for $4,000?

  41. Let’s look at the data with an educated and critical eye.

    From 1988 to 1997, population change and permits in the metro area balanced. Rent hikes over that period averaged 3%.

    From 1997 to 2001, permits fell far short of population increases, to the tune of around 4,000 units per year. Rents? Up 8%.

    From 2002 to 2006, permits were far higher than needed. The five-year average rent increase in 2007? 1%.

    From 2010 to 2014, permits fell short of population growth by around 11,000 units per year, and here we are.

  42. I offer my place to rent for $1500/month. I get 30 applications. One prospective renter offers $2000/month.

    Who is setting the price? Who is evil?

  43. Nah, ‘usurious’ is completely appropriate. People need to be encouraged to feel guilt and shame when they shit on others.

  44. Listen dude, it’s called lag, in permitting, in prices moving, etc. If you look at that chart with an educated and critical eye, it supports my view.

  45. Sure, and building more bicycles with help quadriplegics get around the city. Your logic is flawless.

  46. In the last few years, San Francisco added around 15,000 too few units given its population growth. Total net units from all projects entitled and now under construction? Under 8,000.

    How is that ‘plenty’?

  47. The first order of business is to insulate existing communities from the ravages of the market.

    Plenty of market rate housing is entitled and under construction.

  48. What’s preventing public spending on housing?

    The purchase of government by developers who engage in rent seeking by rezoning for profit and limit public spending on housing to chump change on the dollar compared to market rate luxury condos.

    Next question?

  49. “I want The City to be economically diverse, and accessible. It is housing policy which will help make that happen.”

    Every opponent of Prop I that I know wants the same thing.

    It sounds like a lot of Pro-moratorium folks acknowledge that this is just a “pause”, while a real solution is developed. Why do they think that will happen? This housing shortage didn’t happen overnight. There were demands for a Mission Moratorium 15 years ago!

    The problem is that there isn’t enough housing. If we don’t build new homes, some of the people that would live in them will just buy existing places and evict.

    Prop I doesn’t make it any harder to evict people. It just makes it harder to build houses. It is not a victory or strategy against displacement.

  50. “Why ANY progressive thinks the moratorium is a good idea is baffling to me.”

    It’s REALLY not that hard to understand. The moratorium is our best shot at getting all parties to the table to force a solution, is how a friend put it to me, and that seemed like a good summary.

    I don’t think that filling the Mission with luxury condos is good housing policy. I think everyone knows that it isn’t. I think what there is a a giant cash grab, and that’s what the opposition is really worried about. Losing access to giant amounts of money. I don’t care about that.

    I want The City to be economically diverse, and accessible. It is housing policy which will help make that happen.

  51. How can you not see that the “affluent techies” are perfectly able to buy into the existing housing stock? Even if you were to stop all market-rate development, the wealthy would be free to continue buying up property–indeed, that’s exactly what they’ve been doing for the past twenty years.

    The only way to stop gentrification without adding supply is to bar newcomers from buying property in SF, and that is neither politically feasible nor constitutional. A development freeze will have not stop displacement in the slightest.

  52. Why must there be poison? If people need to housing, maybe the answer is to build housing, not create lotteries.

    Which part of ‘build housing’ says ‘make developers rich’? The city could hire builders at fair wages to build public housing.

  53. Pick your poison. I’ll pick the one that preserves affordability over time and keeps people in their homes. You’ll take the one that makes developers rich while doing nothing to lower price and stop displacement.

  54. Don’t you ever get tired of rephrasing the statements of others in terms easier to attack with a chart or graph?

  55. Yes, there will always be more people wanting housing here than can afford it. And for as much as we can, we’ll go for the lottery to ensure that the City helps pick up where the market leaves off.

  56. Exactly. Insulating housing from price increases demand for it. The city runs BMR lotteries because they are oversubscribed.

    How is increasing demand without increasing supply in a deeply undersupplied market the best policy?

  57. Doesn’t that just mean ‘real San Francisco housing’ is fake crap that is too old to describe as ‘new fake crap’ anymore?

  58. And in Austria between the wars there was not the unregulated speculative capital coursing around the planet chasing corporate profits and real estate as there is now.

  59. Buildings are regularly operated long past their useful lives and in the absence of routine maintenance.

  60. Insulating housing from speculation makes it permanently affordable. You are drinking from the same soporific cup as Sam aren’t you?

  61. Insulating housing from speculation increases demand and does nothing for supply. How does that address a problem that ‘will continue so long as demand out strips supply’?

  62. There were 30,000 units built in the ’60s. If ‘the fake crap is engineered to last 50 years,’ we would see 3,000 demos a year.

    Instead, we see maybe 100.

  63. Wegen der extremen Wohnungsnot wurde die Schaffung von neuen Wohnungen das wichtigste Ziel der Sozialdemokraten.. Von 1925 bis 1934 entstanden.. über 60.000 Wohnungen in Gemeindebauten.

    ..or if your German is rusty:

    Because of the extreme shortage of housing, the creation of new housing became the main objective of the Social Democrats.. Between 1925 and 1934.. more than 60,000 apartments were built in public housing.


  64. No, because the fake crap is engineered to last 50 years. Real San Francisco housing is into its second century.

  65. Let’s adopt a European legal and tax framework so that the investment frameworks are similar to Austria, and see what we can do, okay?

  66. In the current market, that is exactly what people are saying.

    Are kids crowding four and eight to a flat for $4,000 also evil?

  67. ‘[Converting] existing RC housing to CLT’ does not add supply.

    Why is a policy that adds zero supply the ‘best thing we can do’ when housing is in very short supply?

  68. When does ‘new fake crap’ turn into ‘real San Francisco housing’? Is it like wine that needs to age?

    How did instability in the finance system and tech investment that led up to the 2008 crash make rents go down in 2002?

  69. Why do you insist on jousting at straw persons of your own creation?

    Have you been drinking Kool-Aid with Sam?

  70. You know full well what “real San Francisco housing is,” it is the stuff that you tell us people are going to purchase and displace people unless we build the new fake crap for them to sate their demand.

    San Francisco lives in a vacuum, so that you get to isolate one variable and declare causality, ignoring the instability in the finance system and tech investment that led up to the 2008 crash.

  71. Why is a policy that add zero supply the ‘best thing we can do’ to ease the results of demand for housing outstripping supply?

  72. What the heck is ‘real San Francisco housing’?

    In the five years ending around 2006, over 10,000 units of ‘new crap’ got built right after the first tech bubble burst and a bunch of people left town. Asking rents went down, not up.

  73. Thank you for proving my point. Maybe I made it up? Maybe Tim made it up? Maybe we’re both telling the truth. Except, I don’t pretend to be a journalist.

  74. There is no evidence that new construction competes with real San Francisco housing. The markets are segmeneted. The more new crap gets built, the more evictions and displacement we see.

    Is there a chart for that?

  75. Displacement will continue so long as demand out strips supply and housing is at risk of Ellis eviction and conversion. The best thing we can do is to convert existing RC housing to CLT via a mass program of purchase leveraging mortgage revenue bonds and general obligation bond proceeds with rental income streams.

  76. ” Do people want to buy homes, or park money in an investment? ”

    Anyone who’s bought in the last … 30? yrs has bought on a hedge. A hedge that, buying now, the price will not increase. So in that sense, these buyers – even if they live there – are buying as an investment. Its not really been possible for the vast majority of homes to pencil out as a competitive alt to renting. (Now, if you talk about buying small props to OMI, or as a group, then that alt has been available – up until v recently).

    A million $ home does not pencil out in terms of an alt to rent. The buyers costs would be somewhere north of $6500/, whereas you can rent (1 BR) for $2500-3900. Is that home ovepriced? In one sense. Is the seller exacting a “usurious” asking? What would be the DIY cost of such a unit? I doubt it would come in much cheaper than list.

    So, besides having a place to live, the buyer hopes that when they sell, they will recoup that $1m (roughly, $0.5m for housing; $0.5 for investment) and at least make back the transaction costs. Otherwise, its money down the drain. You know, like RENT. Or, a bad investment.

    Trouble is, its the only game in town – without subsidies. And even if the City were the builder/seller/ and they could somehow build and transfer for $0.5, that $0.5 is, like rent, money down the drain. Who can afford $3000/ for rent anyway? So, even if SF built it, WHO CAN AFFORD IT? Only the top 10%, thats who.

  77. If there are lux units for others to purchase, there’s less likelihood that existing units will be bought up and ‘removed’.

    If there’s nothing new, there will be plenty of contractors willing to do the work of upgrades, and then, yes, “us poors” will be movin on.

  78. I don’t think anyone is building “basic human (shelter)” in SF these days. Concrete monoliths like the Pink Palace went out of fashion in the last century. And anything other than ‘basic’ is gonna cost money (and in SF LOTS of money).

  79. “Usurious” is inaccurate in these examples, and has a biblical connotation. Why don’t you just use a word like ‘exobitant’ or ‘excessive’. People will get your drift. Unless, your intention is to spark quilt of some sort.

  80. Why is someone who makes less than another an “under achiever? ” You’re 22 aren’t you?

  81. But only about 21 cents of every property tax dollars go to cities. The Einstein crew who wrote Prop 13 thought it would be a better idea if all property tax money was sent to Sacramento. Sacramento is doing fine–cities are getting stiffed. So, no ‘see how I am helping you city by paying property taxes’ as your banter.

  82. Who said that market rate housing would stop? We are a city with different income groups and the city itself can’t discriminate between groups. And seeing as developers don’t meet the affordable housing requirement of the city then there has to be some time taken to make sure that these units are built.That is what is happening. City Housing Element docs say that market rate housing is currently “over built”. Market rate housing is never a problem to get. If you could let go of your hostility for a minute maybe you would see how this all works.

  83. You could provided more units than you suggest at a full range of prices if the zoning code was tweaked to give large density bonuses for affordable housing along with a relaxation of parking standards to lower unit costs.

  84. Basically, this is about 10 monster sites. Other size projects are unaffected, so your statement isn’t accurate. Suppose the people of the Mission get their moratorium and suppose then there is a new zoning ordinance amendment passed that gives more units per project, but they are affordable units. The net result would be more units at a lower price. Using your “failed” logic if the moratorium doesn’t pass then people will have a chance at fewer units with higher prices. Besides, nothing will be built within 18 months anyway.

  85. It’s not about getting others to pay your way, it’s about market controls to eliminate usury and gouging.

    Have the courage of your convictions, just come out and say you think human life doesn’t matter if the people in question don’t earn as much as you.

  86. Because they don’t have as much to give. The Bible says from each, according to their ability. $80K gets you a reasonably comfortable life in SF, as such, the first $80k should not be subject to extra taxation, because you can’t afford to live without 10% of it as much as someone making $200k can give up a portion of the extra.

    Is the idea of progressive taxation really that foreign to you?

    Besides, we already have regressive taxation (your proposal) in the form of payroll taxes and sales taxes.

  87. If Prop I passes, then there will be a moratorium during which the Mayor’s Offices of Housing and Economic and Workforce Development will work with recognized stakeholder nonprofits to plan for Mission 2020. No requirement for public process, no scope to fix Eastern Neighborhoods. Just the same interests that got us into this mess with Eastern Neighborhoods given another bite at the apple. Even if developers lose on Prop I they win on the process.

  88. Progressive politics is the art of screwing your base to further your own particular business interest, idiot.

  89. Property taxes will remain the same if this bond passes. There are more queued up behind it, not to worry.

    You are on thin ice with reality, idiot. Check your confirmation bias.

  90. Parts of the Mission are definitely ghetto, some parts are nicer. The problem is they want the nicer parts to get worse so rents magically come down.

  91. Why don’t we just tax those making LESS than 80k? After all, they’re the people the bond is supposed to help.

  92. Haha, yeah right. Let’s spend a billion dollars to house a few lottery winners. Sorry, bud, not gonna happen.

  93. Yeah yeah and NK and blah blah blah, scare tactics. Again, our friendly neighbors to the north, the UK, the Nordic countries, hell the majority of the EU, and Japan all have strong government intervention in their housing markets. You people just looooooooove to trot out Chavez and NK every time someone has the audacity to suggest you care about the well-being of others.

  94. I have contributed to affordable housing funds, every year of my adult life. I’ve also volunteered building homes for Habitat for Humanity, and donated architectural services to worthy causes.

    Why do you assume things about me that you can’t possibly know?

  95. As a Jew I would politely request that Erikson not use the Holocaust as an analogy for the housing, gentrification, and development battles going on in the city right now. The only thing he has to lose is the opportunity to be a mega billionaire instead of a poor downtrodden regular millionaire. Boo f*cking hoo.

  96. No one’s asking for subsidized homes in Pac Heights, just a home relatively near work that allows a dignified existence.

    I’m not advocating handouts, and I actually make more than enough to afford rent and a comfortable life in SF. Is it so hard to believe that someone with livable (though modest in comparison to some) means actually has compassion for people with less and for the city they call home?

    Try again, the specter of the welfare queen is a really dated scare tactic.

  97. Your tortured logic is really sad. At least my beliefs actually make sense. Basic economics, seller sets the price, buyer decides if it’s fair or not.

    The problem comes when the thing being sold is a necessity, that’s when the buyer is captive and the seller has the opportunity to gouge. Simple economics.

  98. Nah I was born here and am working to change it. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

  99. I never said that. You claimed it was built by a speculator. Thanks to my love for architecture and history, I happen to know it wasn’t. One of us is trying to attack the other’s character, the other is simply responding with facts.

    OH! That means you’re speculating about my home. Ironic.

  100. At that rate, the city’s $310M bond, measure A, only $100M of which is slated for construction and rehab will produce only 111 affordable units. Not a wise use of city funds.

  101. You claimed that your home was magically transported to you without any capitalists being involved.

    I find that claim to be dubious and self-serving, and you have offered no evidence to support your wild claim

  102. I’m not making any personal claims. If you feel like I’m asking for ‘holy’ economic policies, perhaps that feeing is a symptom of guilt stemming from inherently immoral economic beliefs that you yourself hold?

  103. Yeah and how are all of these countries doing currently with what you would describe in scare-quotes as ‘confiscatory policy’? Oh, right, lower levels of inequality and crime, and many have higher upward mobility.

  104. Wrong, the customer always sets the price.

    The seller can ask but the buyer makes the deal.

    I can never get more in rent that my customer is willing and able to pay. Basic economics.

  105. That’s a BS, backwards logic used by free-marketers to sleep at night. Sellers set prices, and to say otherwise is a tortured logic at best, self-deception at least.

  106. Many people need a car to get to work etc.

    And nobody needs a subsidized home in Pacific Heights to feel “dignified”

    You’re just making up stuff to justify the fact tat you live off handouts

  107. A car is not a home, in terms of basic needs for dignified life. False equivalency, irrelevant question.

  108. So you can’t read? Because my last line said I would gladly pay into any and all programs I mentioned.

  109. It is more diverse now than 20 years ago.

    But thanks for admitting that you need subsidies from others to survive here. At least you understand who butters your bread.

  110. Whatever dude. I lived in the Mission 20 years ago, and still do. It was very diverse. Your attempt to flip the narrative is just you troll’n.

    Thank god for rent control.

  111. So if you were selling a car, you would not seek the highest price you could get? but rather you would set the price so that it was “affordable” by the average person?

  112. wcw, is right. As a landlord it is true that I can ask any rent I want. But i only collect that rent if there is a tenant willing to pay it.

    If I get no takers at the high rent, I then have to lower my asking rent until it reaches a level where tenants are willing and able to pay it.

    The customer always has the ultimate pricing power.

  113. Austria is a fine example. Remind us, how did Vienna do it in the old Rotes Wien, by ceasing to build, or by building a lot?

  114. You were claiming some kind of holiness based on your unverifiable claim that somehow magically your housing was provided totally without capitalism.

  115. Not true. Look at any chart of rents / home values as compared to units constructed. Facts are against you, and you’re not a Jedi, can’t just wave your hand and make lies look like facts.

  116. That’s total idiocy. Landlords set rents. No one is going around saying, ‘please, would you let me pay you $4k for your studio?’.

  117. Nah, I base gouging on average salaries in the region, not on my wallet. Some of us thing of more than just our own well-being…

  118. Not a diatribe. You incredulously asked well where could we *possibly* find the money. I told you. Now, whether you care about ordinary people, or just the wealthy’s wallets, that’s a different question.

    I’d recommend you look at Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, France, England, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, Australia, Japan… Eh, fuck it, you get the idea. Your type loves to throw out NK any time someone has the audacity to suggest human life has worth below $100k salary / year.

    Confiscatory is a word conservatives use to scare low-information voters.

    I’m willing to pay into all of the programs I mentioned.

  119. OK, so you’re basically on a “tax the rich” diatribe. I figured as much but thought I’d give you an opportunity to prove me wrong.

    I’d recommend Cuba, Venezuela or North Korea as a place more suited to your confiscatory ideology.

  120. “Gouge” being defined as anything that you personally cannot afford.

    Do you not try and get the highest pay you can from an employer? Isn’t that “gouging”?

  121. So you consume no products or services that have been tainted by capitalism?

    Good for you. You will surely go to progressive heaven.

  122. – Prove it.

    – Not if they gouge.

    – Actually, no, my home was not built by a speculator (I know the history, I’ve searched through the Assessor-Recorder’s records and permit history).

    Nice try, though. It’s tough to get things right when you’re under the spell of The Market.

  123. – Look at pretty much any pro-development article written in the last year, they all claim that building market rate lowers cost across the board, because MAGIC.

    – Do people want to buy homes, or park money in an investment? There’s a difference.

    – Raise taxes on any individual making over $80k, on corporate gains, on building permit fees for market-rate development. Raise taxes on luxury cars. Raise taxes on all financial transactions. Reinstate payroll taxes on Twitter et al. Expand taxes and fees on home sales of anything over $1M, funds to go directly to publicly-lead not-for-profit housing development. Tax the ever-loving shit out of second homes, especially those owned by foreign nationals.

    Reduce the amount of office space permitted per year, expand fees on it, and watch residential development increase. We’re adding too much office space to be built without thinking of where these workers will live.

    While we’re at it – high taxes on private school tuition that goes directly to public schools. Force Uber and other on-demand companies to take in all these hilariously defined ‘contractors’ as employees, and remember we’re taxing their payrolls now…

    That’s 5 minutes of thought. Once you start to prioritize ordinary people instead of The Market and #LUXURY, the possibilities are basically limitless.

  124. Every new market rate home in the city means one fewer household seeing tenanted properties as a rehab opportunity.

  125. Vacancies dropped 14,000+ units from 2010 to 2013.

    Is a person who buys a condo and rents it out also evil?

  126. 1, Fulton’s article asserts that ‘under some market conditions, more supply.. creates its own demand’ because ‘uber-rich from around the world drive up home prices by paying premium prices, often for houses they don’t actually occupy very often.’ Fulton does not present any data, perhaps because what data there are suggest this dynamic is not significant here, in New York or in Santa Barbara: vacancies are low and dropping. If the uber-rich were buying and not occupying housing, vacancies would go up.

    2, the Housing Balance Report was a political creation, and is poor analysis. Deed restricted affordable units are up. Section 8 funding is HUD. Controlled units are rarely lost; only condo conversions, demolitions and rehab exemptions.

    What is common, however, is vacancy decontrol whenever someone moves.

    By far the best affordable housing policy is abundance. Logical, sensible, data-driven solutions point to much, much more housing, period.

  127. I am not aware of anyone who has seriously claimed that building expensive homes will make all SF homes magically cheap.

    But if people want to buy those homes, why do you want to stop them?

  128. I lived in the Mission 20 years ago and it wasn’t very diverse. There were few white children there (now there are many). Almost everyone was poor. And it was about 60% Hispanic.

    Now there is a more even mix of races and economic status, and crime and blight has gone down, while the quality of stores and restaurants has gone up.

    What’s not to like?

  129. Most people buying real estate in SF are doing so to live in.

    Some people buy to rent to tenants and that helps house people too.

    You live in a home that was built by a speculator and that was either rented to you or sold to you by a speculator.

  130. But people keep on telling me if we build more #LUXURY homes it will help all us poors stay in our homes!

    And yes, the City can build at cost.

  131. We don’t build market-rate homes to make all homes cheap. That is a ridiculous premise.

    We build them because people want them.

    The city cannot “take over” from developers unless it has a huge new source of funding.

    Shelter may be a basic human need, but a cheap home in a desirable affluent neighborhood in the nation’s most expensive city most certainly is not.

  132. The idea that building market rate will lower average rents is a myth. Fine, the City can take over for developers. After all, basic human needs (shelter among them) should not be a source of usurious profit.

  133. I didn’t say it was “good” or “bad”. In general I think diversity is good and that the Mission is becoming more diverse. But I don’t think every neighborhood has to have the same mix, and I certainly don’t want race quotas.

    I’m not trying to socially engineer any area. I just think that the Mission is improving because it used to have no affluent people and now it does.

  134. How would this policy work? Would we need a Third Committee of Vigilance to hunt down and expel affluent techies?

  135. You said earlier you thought it was a good thing that the Latin population of the Mission was being replaced by “affluent winners” in the name of diversity. So do you also think the Marina, or Pac Heights, or Russian Hill, or Nob Hill, or St. Francis Wood, or 1 Rincon place should also diversify by including a larger mix of economic backgrounds?

  136. You used “white and irritating” in the same breathe, giving away your prejudice.

    I do not want to socially engineer any neighborhood. I think that people should move wherever they want to. If that means being with their own people, so be it. Do you criticize the Castro for being too gay? The Castro is more white than the Marina.

    Maybe you should worry less about who lives where, and worry less about which races are more desirable than which other races, and just let people do what they want?

  137. Never said I hate white people. Irritating == racist.

    I just wanna know why you advocate for the Latin population of the Mission to move out in the name of diversity, but do not advocate for the White population of the Marina to do the same?

  138. Given that it can easily take seven years to complete a project, a 7% return would mean a return of 1% a year, and for a high-risk investment. No developer would do it – they’d just build elsewhere.

    The idea that we can endlessly ratchet up the affordable percentage and the developers will just pay up is a myth. They will walk away, and we need their money more than they need us.

  139. So you hate the Marina because you perceive it to be homogeneous, but at the same time you want the Mission to stay Hispanic?

    Why do you find white people to be “irritating”? Are you a racist? Are you really that intolerant?

  140. It’s called taxes and fees, and less usurious profits.

    Trust me, if the City enacts policies that result in only projects with 5-7% margins being built, contractors will suck it up and build them on the smaller profits.

  141. Why does the mission need to diversify? The Marina hasn’t become any less white and irritating. Do you advocate for the Hispanicization of the Marina like you do the bleachifacation of the Mission, all in the name of diversity?

  142. Again, how is the Mission becoming less diverse. It used to be 60% Hispanic. That isn’t diverse.

    You appear to think that “diversity” means only poor non-white people. You don’t want diversity – you want ONLY people that you personally approve of.

  143. How does it harm a poor person if we build a home for a rich person?

    The rich person’s home does not require a subsidy. A poor person’s “affordable” home does require a subsidy.

    The biggest source of funding for those subsidies is market-rate housing. Why do you want to stop that source of funding? Because you dislike successful people?

  144. So the solution to us not having built enough homes is to instead build none?

    And to hope that someone throws money at us so we can build 100% affordable?

    I’d like a pony too.

  145. How arrogant. Middle and lower class people – many of whom were already here before both booms – should wait for a reasonable place to live until after the tech elite get there luxury units first? Market rate apologists are on the border of being just plain cruel.

  146. Two important points:

    1. The recent report in which city planner William Fulton says trickle-down market rate building doesn’t lower rents citywide, and that the true solution is developing in every strata.

    2. Semi-recent SF Business Times story in which it’s stated there’s been a net loss of affordable units in the past 10 yrs.

    This data suggests that since SF is already behind on affordable and mid tier units – which Fulton says is part of the mix needed to fix our city’s housing crisis – logical, sensible, data-driven solutions point to much, much more 100% affordable housing development. Hence, the moratorium is smart and should be advocated for.

  147. Hahahaha! No. The Mission was quite diverse 20 years ago, and achievement has nothing to do with income. What a hot-mess of an argument you are trying to pull!

  148. But that requires money and subsidies that new market rates homes do not require.

    Asking for more affordable homes without identifying who is going to pay for it is an empty hope.

  149. There’s that extreme hysteria again. I hardly expect to see a mass exodus of taxpayers from San Francisco and, though you won’t admit it, neither do you.

  150. I never said that the average SF resident can afford to buy the average home. But what is clear is that there are ENOUGH people who can afford the average home.

    As far as I know, every building in SF has an owner, which rather implies that every home is affordable to someone. The fact that there are also a lot of people who cannot afford to buy a property doesn’t change that.

  151. Even here, only one in six households makes over $200k.

    That the marginal buyer can afford current prices is a tautology.

  152. You don’t solve a housing crisis by not building housing. Period.

    Why ANY progressive thinks the moratorium is a good idea is baffling to me. There isn’t enough money for affordable housing alone–even after the bond passes. The harsh truth is that we need market rate as well.

    There are so many things progressives in SF could do to stop displacement and improve affordability–better inclusionary ordinance to force developers to include more Low-income affordable units, for one. And the AirBnB measure on the ballot is good. But until progressives start advocating for more market rate housing throughout SF, displacement will continue.

  153. The gentrification of the Mission is actually making it more diverse, not less. A decade or two ago, it was mostly Hispanic. Now there is a much better mix of people, races and economic classes.

    When affluent winners live side-by-side with economic under-achievers, we have real diversity and not the faux diversity of an all-poor “ghetto”

  154. Though usually the competition is for commercial or retail development which doesn’t include a concommitment demand for more schools, parks and less city services

    Still this development provides places for people to live, who would otherwise be competing for existing housing stock.

  155. Yes, another way that new market-rate homes more than pay their own way is through the perpetual stream of property taxes that flow to the city.

    As you note, the property taxes on a million dollar home starts out at around a grand a month, and increases each year.

    Cities compete for development dollars for very good reasons.

  156. Just remember that even $1 million that new homeowner will be paying $1000 a month just in real estate taxes alone (not including mortgage, insurance and HOA/maintenance)!

    Many who look at that will be disconnected entirely from this new class

  157. Exactly, that is what I intend to do. They usually fail even in SF because of the 2/3 requirement (thank you, Prop 13).

  158. I never said this bond measure exceeds the limit. I said it will increase property taxes, which it will.

    Please stop calling people names here. You are already on thin ice with the moderators.

  159. Politics is the art of the compromise. Those whose job it is to negotiate development do not have the luxury of being an ideological extremist sitting on the outside looking in. They have to get things done and that involves sitting down with ideological opponents and forging compromises.

    Nobody gets everything they want and those who hold out for everything usually end up getting nothing.

    The biggest source of funds for affordable housing is new market-rate housing. Stop that supply chain and you kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

  160. But the SF average income is WAY above the national average income, and we are talking about affordability of SF RE here.

    A million is clearly an achievable price point for many because that is what the average home sells for, and they do sell, and quickly, usually with multiple offers

  161. Joe makes a good point. At least some of those who oppose new developments oppose ANY market-rate homes. They are happy to lose BMR funding just to satisfy their pathological hatred of the successful.

    Sadly some of those who advocate against market-rate homes are driven by envy, a regressive desire to freeze the city in time, and a dislike of people who aren’t like them.

    Others have motive that is no more noble – they want to rig the demographics of the city to increase the probability of their policies and politicians winning at elections.

  162. I was walking down Mission the other day, and I overheard a tech bro, who was passing in front of me down 22nd, talking to his lady-friend. Apparently they were discussing gentrification, and he goes “…what they are fighting for is to save the ghetto! THIS (waving his hands at beautiful Mission) is the GHETTO!!!”

    If San Francisco is ‘the ghetto’, then yes, save the ghetto.

  163. Bonds do not increase property taxes because Prop 13 limits the amount of debt that can be pass through in property taxes. The City has a bond threshold and only puts measures on the ballot that do not clip that limit. As older bonds are retired, new bonds take their place and the tax take is constant.


  164. why do you think I want less prosperity in the City; you assume too much – and, my happiness level is currently overflowing;

  165. Hyperbole aside, it is good news, though 48H really buried the lede:

    Erickson tells San Francisco [Magazine] that.. ‘[an affordable housing bond is] the right thing to do. It provides a huge amount of affordable housing: perhaps as many as 3,000 or 4,000 units.’

  166. Building more housing provides places for folks to live.

    What is the mooted alternative to building homes for people?

  167. So building more “affordable” housing will make “existing Home prices and rent cheaper”?

    It might make new homes and apartments “cheaper”; but shouldn’t the cost of the subsidies be revealed to the voters who ultimately will have to pay for them?

  168. You want to stop building for the middle and upper classes and only build ‘affordable’ and public housing. What do you think will happen? Who will pay for your utopia if all the taxpayers leave?

  169. Of course Tim focuses on the crazy developer part but ignores the quid pro quo from CCHO to the developers that basically says “CCHO will let you redevelop the Mission with luxury condos so long as CCHO gets paid.”

    This is what corruption looks like and this is how Tim’s friends over at the CCHO housing mafia look out for their “business interests” via an extortion ring, forcing developers to pay protection for “the progressives” to stand down.

    His position is reiterated in another strongly worded letter to fellow developers, this one sent on July 31, in which Erickson solicits $50,000 donations to help pass the bond, also known as Proposition A, in the coming November election: “When all of us support the passage of Prop. A,” Erickson writes, “we are on the side of the angels.” As framed within the letter, however, it’s a transactional siding with the angels. He details an arrangement made with organizers of last year’s Proposition K, in which developers agreed to donate $1 million or more to help pass a future housing bond in exchange for the removal of elements in Prop K that were seen as unfavorable to developers.

    As originally proposed, Supervisor Jane Kim’s Prop. K would have mandated that developers of market-rate housing obtain conditional use permits from the Planning Commission for their individual projects if the goal of 30 percent affordable units was unmet. This would have been a time-consuming and onerous requirement for housing creators, which is why developers and Mayor Ed Lee detested it. So: “As part of the agreement, our side agreed to raise cash to make sure that a major affordable housing bond was enacted by the city,” Erickson wrote in the July 31 letter. “Jane’s side agreed to eliminate the ‘metering’ and C.U. requirements which they did.” The revised Prop. K, which was described by the Chronicle as “a watered-down compromise of a much more aggressive and controversial proposal,” was approved by voters.

    Erickson emphasized that he supported a housing bond long before the specter of Prop. K crossed his horizon, and would have been aggressively fund-raising for it regardless of whether the elements of Prop. K he described as “just terrible” were stripped out (he and others sent this letter to Kim in June 2014). “There was absolutely no quid pro quo,” he told us. “There was no formal arrangement.”

    That, however, doesn’t exactly synch with this passage from his August 15 letter: “That bond money truly provides homes for those that need it most, and we in the real estate community made a formal commitment to get the bond passed to avoid the horrors of Prop. K as originally designed.”

    So what, exactly, was the nature of this “formal commitment”? Had it involved pledging a hefty pile of cash to an individual politician—or his/her individual campaign—in exchange for altering legislation, that would be illegal. But, according to legal experts, it is not a crime to promise a donation to a future ballot-proposition campaign in exchange for alterations to pending legislation. That, while possibly discomfiting, is 100 percent legal (you can see the relevant laws here).

    Erickson claims that plural terms in his letters—“our side,” “we in the real estate community”—are actually singular. “That is me saying that I would do my very best to raise the funds to pass the bond,” he says. Peter Cohen of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, one of the supporters of Prop K, adds that the allegation that he and others agreed to strip elements of Prop. K in exchange for a pledge to fund a housing bond campaign is “too narrow.” Kim, who is on a trip to New York, could not be reached for comment.

    – See more at:

  170. Everyone is free to define success how they wish. But money is the way society shows consensus about your level of success and worth.

    Why do you want to see less prosperity in the city? How will collective poverty make our lives better? And why don’t you move to a less affluent city – surely you would be happier there?

  171. The average SF home is worth a million, not a billion. A couple on 100K a year each can afford to buy the average home. Do you really think that 100K a year is an outrageously generous salary?

  172. I cannot imagine why anyone outside the Mission would care either way, so I personally cannot see where the support for “doing nothing” comes from.

  173. Your property tax does not increase because other properties go up in value. Prop 13 is your friend.

    However you should vote against the housing bond in November, which will increase your property taxes without giving you any benefit.

  174. Whatever makes you think that we build more expensive homes because we believe that will make all homes cheap? That is a ludicrous assumption.

    We build them because people want them, and because we can satisfy that demand without taxpayer subsidies.

  175. What good is increased property value unless you plan to sell or become a landlord?

    As a property owner who isn’t a landlord and who isn’t planning to sell, I don’t appreciate having my property tax rising so much.

  176. Explain to me how building more luxury condos and shoebox-sized apartments has made existing home prices and rents cheaper.

  177. What does the polling look like on Prop A? What happens to the Mission if Prop I passes but Prop A fails?

  178. Why, because we don’t want the city to be a billionaires-only club? Is that our only option besides a ghetto? The regressive mindset only thinks in extremes, tinged with hysteria. No wonder they’re so often dismissed as kooks.

  179. “…there are also several polls out there that show the moratorium losing badly.”

    What polls? Notice there are no links, or even named sources.

  180. This is some impressive BS from Tim, and that’s saying something. He says “one recent poll I’ve heard about” shows the Moratorium ahead. What poll? Notice there’s no link, or even a named source. It’s just some stuff Tim heard somewhere from someone. For what its worth, there are also several polls out there that show the moratorium losing badly. One fact that’s easy to check: It has received very few endorsements around town

    Who knows which prediction is right? One reason progressives keep being so shocked by the results of SF elections is because they suffer from the same kind of epistemic closure that bit Mitt Romney in the ass. When you’re fed a steady diet of propaganda, surprised reality will intrude. See you on election day!

  181. Explain to me again how building no new homes makes existing homes cheaper?

    As an existing SF property owner, I naturally am interested in this passing because it makes my properties worth more by taking away potential competition. But I fail to see how it helps anyone currently looking for a home.

  182. Yes, they want SF to be like Detroit, and yet of course would not be seen dead there.

    The paradox at the heart of being a SF progressive is that you long for financial crises and recessionary environments, even though they hurt the poor the most, simply because it reduces the profits and income of the successful.

    And being a progressive is all about hating success and prosperity.

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