The Agenda, Jan 2-9: The mayoral issues

The campaigns need to give us specific plans and proposals, starting today

Five months from Friday – that is, on June 5th – San Franciscans will choose a new mayor. The campaigns are already under way, and there’s only one week left to file.

I’ve been thinking, as we enter a new year, what the person’s top priorities ought to be.

Protesters note that the Twitter tax break cost the city millions. It also spurred evictions and displacement

A few New Year’s Resolutions for the candidates:

You have to tell us how you will be different from Ed Lee. The late mayor was a kind, friendly, caring person, but his policies have created the worst urban disaster of my 36 years in San Francisco. The evictions, the displacement, the wholesale destructions of communities … The voters want to know: How will you dramatically change the direction of the city?

Part of that discussion is acknowledging the mistakes city leaders have made (the Twitter tax break, the Google buses, Airbnb, Uber and Lyft). It means connecting the tech boom that Lee endorsed and encouraged to the housing crisis that has driven tens of thousands or more out of the city, and suggesting how we can fix this mess.

I don’t believe that any of the major candidates in the mayor’s race – the people who have an actual chance of winning – openly or actively opposed the Twitter tax break. Jane Kim voted for it. London Breed wasn’t on the board but I never saw her make a public statement of opposition. Mark Leno, if he had a position, kept it to himself. Kim was a lot tougher on the Google buses, although she initially voted against an environmental appeal for the tech shuttles. Leno was in Sacramento, and didn’t have to vote on the issue. Breed has never opposed the Google buses.

Six supervisors, including Breed, voted to legalize Airbnb pretty much on the company’s own terms. Kim pushed for a series of amendments, which would have made the law far more effective; all lost 6-5 with Breed in the majority. Then in the end, Kim voted for the flawed law.

So let’s take stock for the new year and say:

Encouraging companies that hired tens of thousands of high-paid tech workers, most of whom moved here from somewhere else, then making it say for Peninsula cities to create even more tech jobs without building housing by allowing luxury shuttle buses to take workers from SF (thereby further making this city take responsibility for a regional housing crisis) was a terrible idea.

Allowing Uber and Lyft to violate the city’s taxi laws and create unlimited, unregulated service that has clogged the streets was a terrible idea.

Allowing Airbnb to profit for more than two years off the illegal conversion of thousands of housing units to hotel rooms, with no consequences, then legalizing the practice with a toothless law that devastated the city’s rental housing stock and contributed immensely to the eviction and housing crisis was a terrible idea.

Everything the city is doing now to try to mitigate the damage is too late for thousands of San Franciscans, now scattered, too late for deeply damaged communities. Everything we are doing now is a patch, a fix on a badly broken set of policies that put tech companies first and local residents second, that accepted the widely discredited concept of supply-side economics, that assumed that importing jobs and workers was more effective than doing local economic development.

We have a housing crisis because City Hall created it, by accepting and encouraging too much growth, too fast – and so far, the main approach to trying to solve it still assumes that the private market can get us out of this mess. That’s demonstrably untrue.

I am waiting for someone who is running for mayor to say these things.

There is, by the way, nothing wrong with a politician saying they made a mistake. It’s actually a good quality that we hardly ever see. And everyone who wasn’t actively against the Lee agenda made a mistake.

San Francisco has done a rotten job with technology. I’m not talking about using tech; I’m talking about the fact that nobody at City Hall seemed to be willing to enforce the rules, or write effective new ones, when Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, and the Google buses came along and started breaking local laws.

It wasn’t hard to see what was happening. Chris Hayashi, the city’s chief taxi regulator, saw it the moment it started, and tried to block the illegal cabs. She was shown the door. Tenant activists saw it when Airbnb started; Mayor Lee told city officials not to interfere with a local company. A lot of us warned – and it turned out to be true – that the Google buses would drive displacement and evictions; the Mayor’s Office instead made a secret “handshake agreement” not to ticket the buses for illegally using Muni stops.

Now Sup. Norman Yee is worried about robot delivery vehicles – and he had a hard time getting six votes to limit them. The Mayor’s Office never did anything to stop this clear threat to pedestrian safety.

Here’s the deal: Tech companies like to “disrupt,” and they have always operated on the idea that it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. Break stuff now; worry later about how to fix what you have left behind.

That’s fine, I suppose; that’s what they do. But the city doesn’t have to tolerate it.

City officials are supposed to stop illegal activity and set regulations in advance when they see a new technology coming along. San Francisco has done the opposite.

The next mayor might want to appoint a director of technology regulation, to get ahead of the curve.

I am accused of wanting to stifle innovation – but seriously: Would the world (or the city) be a worse place if Airbnb had to operate within strict limits from the start? Would we all really be worse off if Uber had to get permits and accept a limit on the number of vehicles on the street? Will humankind lose life-saving advantages if robots can’t deliver pizza?

Or would all of us be better off if the world was disrupted a little more slowly – and the tech industry made money a little less slowly? Does anyone want to argue that the economic inequality created by a monopolistic, predatory, sexist industry (that’s Wired talking, not me) is entirely something to cheer about?

I don’t expect anyone running for mayor to say that – but it would be nice.

I am waiting for the campaigns to tell us more details about their agenda. So far, it’s all just basic political positioning; Mark Leno wants “a new direction.” Jane Kim talks about her record in the past:

I am proud to fight for the city I love– the highest % of affordable housing, a medically staffed 24/7 shelter for our homeless, strong protections against frivolous evictions + free City College. We did this together. Will you join me to fight for more?

We only have five months to hear their plans for the future; that’s a very short period of time. Campaigns often wait months to put out position papers and specifics. In 1987, Art Agnos even wrote an entire book laying out his plans in great detail, and distributed 40,000 copies to voters. That took month. There are often multiple candidate forums.

This time, we can’t wait. When you consider that absentee voters will be getting ballots in May — just four months away — and groups that are making endorsements will have to decide in a matter of weeks, time is short.

Mark Leno and Jane Kim both have impressive records and strong progressive credentials. Others with credible records may enter soon. But we need the specifics of their proposals for the future, starting today.

  • Watson Ladd

    California’s housing production has tumbled since the postwar era while the population has increased. A few extra tens of thousands of people isn’t the cause of the crisis.

    • Tony

      I disagree. Overpopulation is the cause of our problems, not the solution. 1 million residents will kill SF.

      • Porfirio666

        “Overpopulation”? When did SF become overpopulated? It was in 1849, according to the Muwekma-Ohlone tribe.

        • Zhoosh

          We need to limit births to one per family AND build a wall.

          • Porfirio666

            Yes, and abort female fetuses as necessary.

          • Kraus

            Along with selective self-liquidation.
            “Tony” can be the first and lead by example.

          • Benny B

            wow the right is advocating killing people they disagree with omg they’re as harsh as liberals

          • Don Sebastopol

            Without foreign immigration we would loss population due to low fertility.

        • SF Sunset Guy

          did you ask them?

          • Porfirio666

            How could I? They have all moved away. But our current NIMBY policies had been in place and enforceable at the time, they would still be here. And you would not. The world would be stuck in 1849 forever. And Don would not have come to San Francisco. Sad!

      • Kraus

        “Tony”,

        In 1945, San Francisco had a population of 825,000.

        In 2017, we have 880,000.

        SF is not “dying”.

        • Don Sebastopol

          I think Tony was referring to the potential 1 million that will kill SF.

          • Kraus

            Another 120,000 will not “kill” SF.
            In 1945 the population during the WWII effort was 825K.
            By 1979, it had dropped to 690K.
            Since then it has steadily grown by 190K to its present population.
            If we had just continued to do charming 4-story Victorian walk-ups into the westside we’d have 2 million by now.

          • Don Sebastopol

            Kill SF for him. Maybe more alive for you. Where did you get 825K? According to the census it was 634K in 1940 and 775K in 1950. More humane? How so? Doubling the density in my neighborhood would make it less desirable. And it would mean fewer school-age children.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Census separated ‘household’ and ‘group quarters’ population numbers in 1950. Plus, it would’ve been difficult to get firm numbers during events like the Great Depression and WWII. The year 1945 could’ve seen as much as 20% of our population in ‘group quarters’ as San Francisco was literally a fortress at the time.

            I remember what your story — it’s cool that you were born in SF right as America entered WWII. What a busy time that must have been.

          • Don Sebastopol

            Could be, I believe that is when many in-law units or basement rooms were rented out. At the war’s end I recall taking a train to Chicago where women and children were separated from soldiers.

          • Kraus

            825K per the Federal government’s “1945 Special Census”. Workers were packed into the City for the war effort.

          • Don Sebastopol

            Sounds likely. Also there were many more children and families settled for less space. A family of four or five accepted 1,500 square feet but to today they expect 3,000. And where there was a family of four you now find a family of two.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            She’s cherry-picking the numbers. She hadn’t even mentioned WWII until I brought it up.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            You are cherry picking your numbers. The population was pretty static 1950 – 1990. The uptick since the first dot-com is well documented statistically.

            To not recognize techs hand in our housing crunch is denying our history.

          • Kraus

            “Rosh HoshHosh”,

            Your comment that —

            “The population was pretty static 1950 – 1990”

            — is utter nonsense and, once again, betrays your ignorance of the actual facts.

            San Francisco postwar population history per the US Census:

            1945: 827,400 (Special WWII Census of August 1, 1945 — people were flooding into SF due to war-time employment opportunities)

            1950: 775,357 (decline)
            1960: 740,316 (decline)
            1970: 715,674 (decline)
            1980: 678,974 (decline – Post WWII low-point)
            1990: 723,959 (increase)
            2000: 776,733 (increase)
            2010: 808,235 (increase)
            2016: 870,887 (Census Bureau estimate — increase continuing)

            http://www.bayareacensus.ca
            https://www.census.gov/quic

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Household population was around 700k during the time. We still had 10% population in group quarters in 1950.

            It’s ironic to me that it’s at your stated population low-point — 40 years ago roughly — is when you think the building boom should have begun.

          • Don Sebastopol

            I am surprised by the decline from 1970 to 1980. Prices of singe family homes were skyrocketing during the 1970’s starting in 1974 I think. Baby boomers were starting to have children. Gays were gentrifying Eureka Valley. You could still find bargains in Noe Valley.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            1974 the U.S. was in heavy recession. The post WWII rose hue had finally faded completely. U.S. was hit again by recession in the early 80’s. Why be surprised? You could get deals in Noe all the way up to the first dot-com.

            It wasn’t just us. That’s when south central LA unraveled. I was in grade school in central IL and half of my friend’s dads were sitting at home watching the Price is Right — either laid off or on strike from Caterpillar.

          • Don Sebastopol

            I do recall the early 70’s when new college graduates and even those with graduate degrees could not find jobs during the stagflation. I got my job in 1971 only because I got veteran’s preference. As I recall SF was coming out of the recession by 1974 but the unemployment rate remained high. Home prices jumped by 20% or so from 1974 to 1975 and kept going up from there. I also recall the downturn in the 80’s. My home lost 20% of its value at it high, but it had increase by 300% or more since I bought it.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            It was a big time industrial downturn. I’d imagine a lot of factories south of Market were closing around then. Hamm’s closed in ’75. Unemployment was about 10%.

            Then there was a little respite before it slid out again. Two recessions within a decade. The second was 1980. That summer was brutal and farmers were hammered in the midwest and south. No crops.

            Of course there was only one answer for that stagflation you mention. Enter Ronald Reagan stage right.

          • Don Sebastopol

            I recall when SOMA was mainly industrial. Office workers north of market were mainly single woman looking for husbands. The married women worked south of Market. Women north of Market dressed up. Women south of Market dressed down. The pay was higher south of Market.

          • SF Sunset Guy

            HA! ….but it had increase by 300% or more since I bought it.

            And they say money doesn’t grow on trees!

          • Don Sebastopol

            It has increased over 2,000% since I bought it. But so has everyone else’s. The only way to take advantage of the increase is to leave SF and move to Ohio.

          • Kraus

            It’s not “ironic”, its exactly the point.
            Thanks to rising NIMBY political influence starting in the 70’s, we’ve been underproducing housing relative to consistently rising demand.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            I knew you’d say that. I believe it was more related economic and social conditions at the time than it was a ‘nimby’ rising. But you tend to think more black and white than I do.

            Did you study economics?

          • Kraus

            “Rosh HoshHosh”,

            “But you tend to think more black and white than I do.”

            Actually, I tend to understand the issue at hand by relying on the facts and not making things up.

            Kinda like “2+2=4”.

            That may be too “black and white” for your post-modern mindset, but it’s nevertheless the truth.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Yes, you’re a very concrete thinker and more black and white than me. You have trouble with complexities beyond 2+2=4 and economics 101. Abstract thinking is not your strong suit.

          • Kraus

            “Rosh HoshHosh”,

            Please share your sophisticated “abstract” thoughts on the precise causes of the present day housing crisis.

            In your above comments you reference “economic and social conditions” and “complexities” that have led to the crisis.

            Please elaborate on what exactly those “economic and social conditions” and “complexities” are that have led to the today’s crisis.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            It’s not that one way of thinking is more sophisticated than the other. People have different types of intelligence.

            I’m not trying to find the ‘precise cause.’ That is not my approach. Like I always tell you, it’s more complex than that.

            What I find baffling is that you never seem to mention the tech boom as a factor in the housing crunch. You’d rather place personal blame on Tim Redmond, Calvin Welch, or whoever you label a fake progressive that day. It’s petty vendetta bullshit, and not based on ‘relying on the facts’ as you claim.

            Your nimby vs. yimby stance is very dividing. I don’t see it as a positive attribute for our city. Quite the contrary.

            You appear to be threatened by people who have been here longer than your few years, and who have a different perspective than you. You are very quick to go on the attack and make statements like ‘bring it on.’

            I just wonder if all this vitriol you spew is going to help or haunt you come campaign time. You are obviously Sonja K. Strauss, and you’ve said some whacked out shit on here.

            So there’s your ‘abstract’ thought for the day. Sorry, what were we talking about?

          • goodmaab

            influx of workers (tech-related) and overseas investors, and the money they throw at real estate… this coupled with the real estate and banking bubbles equals a serious economic and social condition as people were evicted, tossed, and lost jobs or any semblance of a safety net inclusive of government housing being built at an adequate clip/pace to meet demand…

            recall the waiting lists at the SFHA topped 18k….

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            I did elaborate. Earlier I commented with you about the WWII era and I also commented to Don regarding recessions the 70’s and early 80’s. I comment all the time about current complexities.

            We are having a population explosion in SF. It’s not a ‘steady climb.’ We haven’t seen a population rise to compare with these numbers since WWII. It’s a tech driven gilded age.

          • Don Sebastopol

            The population increased 8% from 2010 to 2016 or an average of 1.3% per year; hardly an explosion.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Over 8% – when considering SF density, availability, and average home price – is an explosion.

            When was the last time we saw a higher rate? WWII.

          • Don Sebastopol

            Yes, the population has increased in SF and the Bay Area. Hopefully it will stop or slow down. If we don’t build more housing it should help slow it down.

          • Don Sebastopol

            What crisis?

          • Don Sebastopol

            We NIMBY’s were active in the early to mid 70’s.

          • Don Sebastopol

            Families with children were moving out. I recall billboards advertising Westlake homes $10,000 to $15,000 no down with VA loan. Jefferson school district went on half day sessions because they could not build schools fast enough. Freeways were built to deal with traffic congestion from peninsula commuters.

          • goodmaab

            Kraus….. construction is 800-1000+ per s.f. currently,… that means that any “walk-ups” will be out-pricing any affordability of any basic earner… We have to solve this through replacing single family homes in all districts with infill – up zoned density 6-8 units per site….

          • SF Sunset Guy

            good luck buying those out and getting permits for demolitions and construction.

          • Don Sebastopol

            Replacing single family homes would ruin the quality of life in those neighborhoods and drive families with children out of SF. I am sorry you can’t afford to live in SF. There are many places I would like to live I can’t afford. There are many nice places to live outside of SF.

          • goodmaab

            Quality of life was ruined in rental areas… You cannot red-zone forever the city. When they decided to destroy Parkmerced all bets are off and home owner areas are next. It’s already occurring in many areas already. It’s about deciding how much density per sunset block or in st Francis woods or the pacific heights should be also allowed and or split up. You cannot believe that all homes in the “$” areas of SF are all full, there are many being held off market and or squatted by single people when larger families or groups could subdivide larger buildings… It’s about spreading the pain of redevelopment. No neighborhood should be excluded….

            Subdivisions and urban sprawl especially so, but they are mostly out of SF’s preview….

        • Benny B

          where will all the water come from?

          trump?

          • Sanchez Resident

            We can build desalination plants along the coast.

          • goodmaab

            should have thought of that when they were discussing the Balboa Reservoir Housing Project…. (plants and sewer plants on either side of the city are “at-risk”) we will need quite a few infrastructural changes soon…

          • SF Sunset Guy

            we can’t even pave streets or operate Muni efficiently, so I seriously doubt that.

          • goodmaab

            There is efforts underway on getting the SFMTA to focus on what they need to do… which is plan rail systems, and stop micro-managing all other systems….

          • SF Sunset Guy

            Be that as it may, seems a day late and a dollar short, given that The City has been “transit first” for nearly 50 years.

          • goodmaab

            GG bridge has not fallen down either, does not mean we should not prepare for the future of having no bridge there… Just because the politicians think the “i-lean” wont collapse, or that there is no need to be concerned about density and lacking infrastructure does not mean we sit and twiddle our collective thumbs… We have to apply pressure, and solve for the future. (Ex: L-Taraval up sloat, vs. just becoming a dead end loop when they have the 2800 project on Sloat, and dead-end of the great highway with the ocean beach masterplan…) seems we can get the SFMTA to “see-the-light” at the end of the tunnel if we can get them to ignore statistics only and focus on the vision enough… 🙂

          • SF Sunset Guy

            “GG bridge has not fallen down either, does not mean we should not prepare for the future of having no bridge there…”

            what?

          • goodmaab

            Plan for the population growth and add a factor increase for a domino effect of additional population increase….

          • Sanchez Resident

            I agree that the City has issues with planning and executing projects. The state of California may be required to oversee desalination plant construction.

          • SF Sunset Guy

            “issues” is putting it politely.

            https://archives.sfweekly.com/sanfrancisco/the-worst-run-big-city-in-the-us/Content?oid=2175354

            This expose may date from 2009 but its insights are telling.

          • Sanchez Resident

            Thank you. I strive to be polite and kind to others.

          • SF Sunset Guy

            While I have always experienced that from your comments and demeanor, to be more precise with respect to using the word “issues” to describe the City’s efficacy, in reference to planning and executing projects, is a master of understatement.

        • Rosh HoshHosh

          When Pearl Harbor was hit in 1941 it was go time for SF. The population would increase by 200,000 military and civilian personnel from the start of the war in 1939 to the end of the war in 1945.

          If you look at San Francisco populations through the decades of the 20th century it is easy to see historically what forces influenced the migrations. This early stage of the 21st century will obviously be viewed as a tech driven gilded age — something you seem blind to.

          • Kraus

            No, it’ll be known as the “End of the NIMBY Age” — something you seem blind to.

          • goodmaab

            must mean we all have to leave the city for Kraus to enjoy it with the Yimby buyouts of every square inch left…. I prefer to think we will stay a while longer if we are to be labeled NIMBY’s and make others bend to meet us halfway so the city is not ruined in a day…

        • goodmaab

          wait till the big-one…. we will see some exodus occuring….

  • Kraus

    “We have a housing crisis because City Hall created it, by accepting and encouraging too much growth, too fast.”

    No, we have a housing shortage and runaway housing costs because of 4 decades of NIMBY-led anti-housing policies that have led inexorably to the present housing crisis.
    Failed policies that you continue to espouse.
    Time for the YIMBYs to take over.

    “…most of whom moved here from somewhere else…”

    Where did you come from Tim?

    Tim is just the latest to fall into the long line of SF nativists — a grand old San Francisco tradition of demonizing the migrant.

    • Don Sebastopol

      How do you define housing crisis? That more people want to live here than is possible?

    • Don Sebastopol

      I believe Tim moved here from LA. He is a gentrifier as are most who moved here as a young adult. If you moved here from someplace else, you are the “problem.”

      • Porfirio666

        Tim’s from upstate New York. He moved here of his own free will during an era when NIMBYism had not yet created the acute housing shortages seen throughout coastal California today.

        • Don Sebastopol

          As I recall housing prices were skyrocketing during the 70’s and early 80’s when Tim would have arrived. I think there was a downturn sometime in the 80’s, however, when prices dropped. People were still moving to the suburbs where there were many new housing developments. We NIMBYs were alive and well in the 1970’s and 80’s.

          • Porfirio666

            More great analysis from Don, who was born here, lives in a home with a nice Prop 13 tax rate, and loves the status quo.

          • Don Sebastopol

            Not the status quo but to keep it a nice place to live. I accept the change which has been both good and bad. I am sad I can no longer leave my front door unlocked but there are benefits. I really don’t oppose all development but would like to slow it down and give everyone time to adapt. I support development on the eastside as it takes pressure off the single-family neighborhoods west of the peaks.

            Tim came of his free will and so did most everyone else. If already here they are free to stay or go. No one was forced to come to SF. No one is forced to stay. The price of admission is going up, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. Gentrifiers have improved my neighborhood and provided jobs for the less educated.

          • Porfirio666

            Gosh. One would think that the west side, with its low population density, would be ideal for high-rise housing. In any case, I’m full-on in favor of multilevel housing development throughout San Francisco and California.

          • Don Sebastopol

            There may be some locations where multi-unit buildings could go and not have a negative impact; and perhaps provide some benefits such as more services close by. But I would not want to change the single-family zoning as it would decrease the supply of single-family homes making them less affordable for families with school-age children, and would reduce the number and percent of families with school-age children in the City. Part of the quality of life in my neighborhood is greater stability (less turnover) and multi generations. Children and the elderly add to the overall quality of life.

            As for high-rise buildings, that would be an expensive proposition for an area that is more sand than rock. The foundation work would be very expensive.

          • whateversville

            “But I would not want to change the single-family zoning as it would decrease the supply of single-family homes making them less affordable for families with school-age children, and would reduce the number and percent of families with school-age children in the City”

            1. Do you have any idea what a single-family home costs, these days?

            2. Families and children live in apartments, too.

          • Don Sebastopol

            Yes, I know the price, and the price would go higher if the supply were reduced. Despite the price, the number and percent of “school-age” children has increased in my single-family owner-occupied neighborhood. Most were born in apartments. In general, SF families start out in apartments but then move has their incomes and families grow. If they can’t afford SF they leave for the suburbs. You do find school-age children in large condo or apartment buildings but the number and percent is small. Most prefer more space and less density if they can afford it.

          • Porfirio666

            Large Metros with the Smallest Shares of Children Under 18 Years of Age:

            SF is third lowest among 189 municipalities:

            Note to Don: Read the facts, and weep NIMBY tears:

            https://www.citylab.com/equity/2015/04/where-kids-live-now-in-the-us/390243/

          • Don Sebastopol

            The low percent of children is the result of the high percent of young adults. SF has the highest percent of young adults: you can only have 100 percent. SF also has a high percent of old folks.

            In single-family neighborhoods the percent of families with children is similar to many Bay Area suburban cities. Actually SF had a comparably high percent of preschool-age children that drooped off for school-age children. Regarding children related to housing price, Seacliff has comparable percents to the Bayview. You find a high percent of children in singe-family neighborhoods, and larger homes.

          • Don Sebastopol

            That study has interesting findings. Correlations using the metro area as the level of analysis, are similar to using census tracts as the level of analysis but there are differences. As the article points out, large metros also have varied neighborhoods where families with kids can settle.

            For example, at the metro level there is only a weak correlation between lower density and children. But if you look within the metro there is a strong correlation with density. At the census tract level there are strong correlations with percent single family homes, percent owner-occupied, and number of bedrooms. There is also no correlation either at the metro or census tract level, between the median housing cost and children.

            As the article points out, re-urbanizing cities, which are often made up of young singles and marrieds who have yet to have children and
            older empty-nesters whose kids are gone. In SF young people are having children in SF, but they move out to find single family homes as their families grow. It has not happened yet in SF, but in other metro areas, there is reverse a trend of millennial’s leaving the city for the suburbs. They are aging and having children.

            If we believe that maintaining families with children in SF is desirable, then we should support preserving single-family, owner-occupied, lower
            density neighborhoods.

          • Kraus

            And increasingly, “families with school age children” cannot afford to live in SF because the cost of housing is too high — and average single-family home is now $1.4 million.

            Accordingly, San Francisco has the smallest percentage of children of any city in the State and its getting even smaller due to this fact.

          • goodmaab

            Parkmerced was the backbone, alongside Stonestown Apartments on the west-side, predatory equity investment ruined that alongside the SFSU-CSU masterplan.. and Parkmerced “vision” [predatory equity as well] so many families were displaced by the vision of “green-$-greed” and we will only see this run-amok in the city in different areas, unless steps are taken by the city to buy land and ear-mark it for essential housing and needed ammenities.

          • Don Sebastopol

            High housing prices do not cause fewer children. There is no correlation between housing prices and families with children. SF is not losing families with children. There was an increase between 2000 and 2010. The percent remained the same while at the same time the remainder of the Bay Area saw a lower percent of families with children.

            The low percent of children is the result of the high percent of young adults; you can have only 100 percent. There are around 20 or more California cities with a lower percent, but of the larger cities, only Berkeley has a lower percent than SF. Also Emeryville, the Standford area of Palo Alto, and I believe Santa Cruz have lower percents.

            In the Bay Area and San Francisco where there are single-family homes you will find high percent of families with children and percent of children. There is a correlation between children and the percent of single-family homes, owner-occupied, number of bedrooms, and lower density. In my single-family owner-occupied neighborhood where homes sell for $1.4 million there has been an increase in the number and percent of school age children since 2010.

          • goodmaab

            Post parkmerced, the only other location IS the single story homes… Unfortunately the neighborhood organizations only realized this too late. To balance and distribute the density across the board is the proper and equal resolution. This has to be tempered with transit, open-space, schools, public pools, and all the needed ammenities in planning. Problem is the planners cannot dictate the plans, and currently banks and private interests dictate.

          • Porfirio666

            I see. NIMBY excuse for no new construction #144: Sand!

            My favorite NIMBY excuse so far is #88: The new high rise at [email protected] Ness cannot be built–wind will affect bicycle riders!

          • Don Sebastopol

            You can have it (high rises). But it will cost a lot.

          • goodmaab

            Stepping stones towards home ownership… You need variety of cost and types and not just single family homes… Real estate and the banking industry prefer it that way to have their preferred model, but cities were not built only on that premise… I agree and hope we can continue to bring stability and mixed generational housing into the mix through ADU’s and well prescribed infill spread on blocks not every house but systematic and with good ideas towards streets and dead areas being re-thought and replanted… It may not happen overnight but take a standard sunset block and use 6-8 home sites even 2-4 initially to make some basic moves towards infill and density vertically….

          • goodmaab

            just tack in a west-side rail system that works and you can build whatever you want… currently the 19th Ave Subway and any semblance of rail transit adequate and equitable planning is currently zilch….

          • SF Sunset Guy

            Actually I would beg to differ. Given the absurd cost of moving, and living in a similar city, if one has rent control and a middle or low paying job, they pretty much are not free to go. Your take on Gentrifiers sounds like trickle-down economics Don.

          • Don Sebastopol

            What are you differing on? What take in gentrifiers? Most everyone who moved here as a young adult from someplace else is a gentifier. People move all the time for a variety of reasons.

          • Don Sebastopol

            It is true I was born here and would like to keep it the way it was. Why do people move to SF and then want to change it? Why move here in the first place if you did not like it the way is was? If you want high-density living you can find it in the City. You can also find lower-density living. The diversity of lifestyles the nice thing abut the City. It is different neighborhoods that give the City its character. Why do some want to make the City cookie cutter neighborhoods.

  • Kyle Huey

    Perhaps instead of the “clear threat to pedestrian safety” posed by robot delivery vehicles the supes could focus on the automobile-caused carnage that happens on our streets every day, like http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/01/01/injuries-vehicle-san-francisco-richmond-district/

  • Don Sebastopol

    Worst disaster in 36 Years? Wholesale destruction of communities? What destruction? How do you measure that destruction?

    Tens of thousands of high-paid tech workers? Exaggerate much? The impact of Tech workers is exaggerated. There are a lot of highly paid professionals living in SF that are not part of the Information Industry. As of 2015 there were 27,771 information industry workers living in SF but that is only 6.7% of the total. There are more Heath care workers 47,703 11.5%; And even more Education Service industry workers 33,543. Food service and Retail Trade workers account for 72,228 living in SF.

    How is the Mayor going to get the peninsula cities to build more housing?

    • Benny B

      the mayor does not run the cities on the peninsula despite your dearest wishes they did

      try and read a book once in a while or look out a window and see reality

      • Don Sebastopol

        The question, how is the Mayor going to get the peninsula cities to build more housing, suggests I know that he does not. I don’t wish that the SF Mayor run those cities.

    • Zhoosh

      The number of 21st century technology jobs is much higher than it was 20 years ago.

      We need a mayor who will reverse this trend!

      • Don Sebastopol

        By technology jobs I assume you mean information industry jobs. There were fewer information jobs 20 years ago nationwide. The trend is nationwide and worldwide. It has nothing to do with who is Mayor. Employers are free to move and so are employees. In any case, why reverse the trend? What we can do is try to limit office building growth, but that would not prevent those who work outside of SF from living in SF.

        • Zhoosh

          We know that limiting office building growth won’t help because of things like Google buses and Bart. That’s why we need to build a wall and to have forced inspections of all vehicles entering and leaving the city during commuting hours.

          • Don Sebastopol

            I can understand entering but why leaving?

          • Zhoosh

            That would be in the morning. Establish checkpoints on 280 and 101 south (and probably Skyline Drive also). Stop the cars, if the inhabitants cannot prove that they have a job that existed in 1970 they will be detained.

            I know it sounds harsh but remember that these people do not have the right to live in San Francisco like we do.

          • Don Sebastopol

            Everyone who can afford it has a right to live in SF. Maybe they could show their bank statement at the border.

  • Benny B

    voting for progressives ensures you’re voting for a loser who will run a losing campaign and have no support outside of the Mission.

    voting for the downtown/williebrown types ensures the city continues to spend and spend on goodies for donors and raise taxes on regular taxpayers.

    progressives are basically done in this town anyway so it’s just about getting concessions from Ron Conway, the Viceroy for the Trump Administration in town and patron of London Greed.

  • Sar Wash

    We have a housing shortage because ‘low income housing’ mandates push up the cost of housing for everyone, rent control restricts the supply and quality of housing, and excessive regulation and anti-homeowner laws limit the volume of fair market rate housing. If we abolish rent control, we can save our City.

    • Don Sebastopol

      Housing shortage and housing crisis may be two different concepts. The State defines crisis as the percent of income spent on housing. By that measure SF has less of a crisis than other Bay Area counties. It is true that inclusionary housing requirements slow the supply and make the market rate housing less affordable for the middle-class on the margins. However, rent control may help lower the percent of income for housing, thereby helping to solve the crisis.

      • goodmaab

        Daly City seems to have quite a few lots available if only they could build an at grade line linkage from Colma up to top of the hill and back down John Daly Blvd. to the other strip mall development we could see a lot more housing go in around there as well. Brisbane is the other culprit, unless they activate Geneva Harney as an LRV and link to SSF vs. waiting 20 years to build anything…

    • goodmaab

      We can start by abolishing costa-hawkins…… sign the petition…. its time for change

  • LKR1

    Tim, great article and you raise key questions that are on the minds of average everyday SF residents. Mayor Ed Lee’s legacy is a mixed one in which he did oversee wholesale displacement within the city. The mayoral candidates will have to address these issues going forward.

    1 positive legacy that the Mayor does leave is his commitment to providing housing and services for the city’s veteran population. Being and advocate for veteran causes he and I had many encounters where we bumped heads, but I respected his efforts and commitment to these causes. Going forward questions regarding how these mayoral candidates will carrying on this legacy to higher goals is crucial for me, you , our many SF vets, and the general population. This issue crosses most division lines that exist in SF today.

    1 love

    • Don Sebastopol

      What wholesale displacement? I am not so sure the average voter will base his vote for Mayor on housing policies. Out in my area crime, car windows being smashed, would be a bigger issue. Voters care about jobs, the efficient operation of government and maintaining the economic recovery.

      • LKR1

        Don, in your reply you excluded 49% of the population when u referenced the average voter- remember there are women in this city too. You also did not address there main point of my comment which was Ed Lee’s commitment to veterans in SF. Difficult to read much further into your comments when you are not addressing my main points, and excluded have of the population in your words.

        • Don Sebastopol

          I didn’t say anything about women or exclude them. As a vet I appreciate the effort. There was a commitment before Lee. Most of the funds for vets are federal. Homeless vets are a small part of the population. It should not be a problem helping all those who will accept it.

          • LKR1

            Actually the commitment was almost non-existent. Remember Obama’s mayor’s challenge to end homelessness amongst veterans? Ed Lee took it…we, the city of San Francisco failed. Homeless veterans make up a large percentage of the un-housed population in SF. We have federal funds to help them which relieves the burden on the local coffers but no place to help house them. They do want help, but do we want to go out in the streets to find them, guide them and help them secure the help that is there for them? We just can’t build “Vet only housing”, but landlords need to accept them as they have plenty of funds via HUD to pay. When you stated that “his” vote you forgot to mention women…his/her vote would work. What will you do as a “vet” to help with this problem facing other veterans in SF?

          • Don Sebastopol

            In the past, it was often standard practice to use a singular male pronoun to follow indefinite pronouns. This “generic he” was supposed to refer to males and females generally. I agree that is old school and has changed. We no longer have policemen or firemen. I should have said his/her.

            I go back to veterans programs during the Carter administration. I recall Swords to Plowshares as an effective agency. I have not kept up recently.

            The number of chronically homeless veterans is down to 137. With federal funds, it should be possible to help all that are willing to accept help.

          • LKR1

            That is the point in time count that the city does with HUD every year. We all know that those numbers are low-ball numbers and do not represent the un-housed population of the city….just take a look outside and you will see the reality vs. the “numbers.”

            Seems like u were once involved, albeit, during the 1970’s. So much as has changed over the past 40 years and implore you to seek current information from organizations and advocates who are presently at ground zero to gain truthful, honest and relevant statistics regarding this. Heck, you can meet up with me and I can give u a tour!

            1 love,

            amos

  • Allen Jones

    With all due respect, you’re all wrong. The next mayor must state how they feel on stealing from our neighbor. San Francisco has a annual tourism industry of $14 billion. Compare that to Oakland’s $800 million annual tourism industry. So if we have so much why are we taking from our neighbor? All candidates should review my ballot measure “Thou shall not covet.”
    And you should to. It will be on the June 5 ballot. See you at the poles.