SF needs a mayor who will tax, spend, and regulate

With all the challenges facing the city, the next mayor has to be willing to challenge the corporate, growth, and tech agendas

Consider a short list of the realities facing our next mayor:

  • The social/economic/cultural transformation of the city through unchecked hyper-gentrification caused by a development policy that has, at its heart, maximizing speculative real-estate profit at the expense of existing residents and the businesses and activities that serve them.
  • A local-government public sector dominated by bureaucrats, policies and programs that see “facilitating the market” as the primary goal of government, by advancing expensive “private public partnerships” in which all of the costs are public and all of the profits are private, which leaves fewer and fewer services that benefit residents producing a sullen disregard (and electoral disengagement) for all government amongst our people;
  • An alarming under-investment in our urban public infrastructure — affordable housing, health and human services including effective programs for homeless San Franciscans, public transit, the timely maintenance and expansion of public facilities and the special investment needs of sea level rise/land subsidence — additionally burdened by the recent period of hyper development of dense market rate housing, commercial office expansion and conversion and the unregulated explosion of ride sharing making many of our streets unusable during ever lengthening “peak hours;”
  • A growing assault on local democratic government specifically aimed at San Francisco led by, at the state level, real estate speculators and their legislator allies seeking an end to “local control” to avoid increases in affordable housing requirements and rent control policies and at the national level, by Trumps’ increasingly frantic efforts to change the subject from his own failures by attacking “sanctuary cities” adopted at the local level;
  • The rapidly growing re-segregation of our civic life involving the toxic brew of race and income inequality, fueled by the Lee Administration’s favoring the tech sector and its systematic under employment of people of color and women, and the emergence of a tech and developer funded astro-turf movement of 30-something white people demanding housing polices aimed at displacing lower income residents and communities of color to house them.
The next mayor needs policies that are different from the past

Given these realities, the June 5th election for mayor has the unmistakable feeling of being a directional election defining San Francisco’s future. As an open race with no incumbent running for the first time since the Matt Gonzalez/ Gavin Newsom race of 2003, candidates (and voters) are free to address the impending challenges facing us, free of any necessity of addressing the record of an incumbent.

How that tactical freedom will be used, and what sets of policies and programs candidates will place before us, is yet to be fully seen. But what should be clear to us is that we need a major change of direction from that set by Ed Lee and his allies on the Board of Supervisors. We need a Tax and Spend Regulator in Room 200 — not only to repair the damage of the Lee administration, overcome the costs of its disastrous deferral of the public interest to private gain but also to create a local buffer to the massive deregulation of our public life now underway at both the state and federal levels.

Stop the Bleeding: Tax and Spend

It is established wisdom at City Hall that unlimited development, both commercial and market-rate residential, is essential to the economic well being of the city and that policies that either retard or limit it are both un-needed and wrong-headed.

There are two things very wrong with this view: First, San Francisco is uniquely ill suited for massive growth without massive social cost, namely the displacement of the existing population, and, second, real estate development simply cannot, under current tax policies, off-set the cost to local government it creates.

San Francisco is a physically mature city with all of its land area already developed. Of its 46.7 square miles, only about 23 square miles is available for all forms of development (and about 13 square miles is available for residential development). Mark Twain’s old advice — “buy land, they’re not making it anymore” — does not fully apply, as a recent study has shown that land in San Francisco is actually sinkingat the same time Bay water is rising as a result of weather change and we will actually have less land than we do now.

New development, especially large or dense projects, requires the demolition of existing structures to clear the land for the new uses.

At residentially zoned land with human densities over 60,000 folks per square mile, tens of thousands of San Franciscans have already faced, or face near-future displacement as a result of unchecked development. This is what gives land-use politics it edge in the city — rarely is there a “win/win” for residents in new development proposals, and more often it’s a zero-sum game with real winners and losers. And the losers leave town.

Far too often, unchecked development is also a bad deal economically for the residents who remain, as the demand for public services increases but funds needed to meet the needs of the new office workers or luxury condo owners are simply not generated by the development themselves.

A decline in the quality of public life — parks, schools, Muni service — is more and more noticeable for the simple fact that costs outpace income when property tax increases are restricted by Proposition 13 but growth (and its attendant demand on public infrastructure) is unlimited.

San Francisco is currently undergoing it biggest real-estate driven boom in modern history. New office space is being built at rates equal to the boom of the late 1970s and market-rate housing — unaffordable to all but a handful of current residents — has reached historic levels. For the market lovers, paradise is within view. Yet, in the midst of this development boom, the City Controller’s office, by law required to keep a running tab on our civic balance sheet, reports that we are currently running a deficit of some $200 millionby the fiscal year 2019-20.

In a report issued just after Ed Lee’s death and ignored by the media, a task force on the future funding needs of Muni found that there was a “$22 billion funding gap for San Francisco’s transportation system through 2045” if the current amount of market rate housing and commercial office growth was to continue. That works out to a need of an additional $785 million a year each year (in constant dollars) for the next 28 years to be added to the city’s general fund.

That does not count the recent news that the new Warriors stadium will cost an additional $62million to provide both an expanded platform and the needed new Metro cars to serve it. The Warriors, in a deal negotiated by Mayor Lee, will pay $19 million with public funds picking up the balance.

A study done by an upper division political science/urban studies class I teach at San Francisco State last fall looked at some of the public cost of accommodating some 220,000 new San Franciscans in 100,000 new housing units — the number asserted by SPUR and others that would be needed before any measurable costs reductions would occur – and the results are sobering.

(Students participating in the studies cited above were Kiley Wyart, Claye Fowler, Adian Finn, Julian Patino, Christian Michel, Brandy Gonzalez, Gerardo Gomez, Andres Cortez, Julio Flores, Connor Hochleutner, Luis Lopez, Ivonne Ruiz-Garcia, Sia Tehrani, and Francisco Vega.)

The cost to the San Francisco Unified school district would be an additional $130 million a year, assuming that only 60% of the new school age population — 12,750 of the 21,250 projected new kids in the new housing — would go to public schools.

Using the current department budgets and the current population to determine a resident-per-department cost, the students found the following additional costs per year to the City and County of San Francisco:

Parks: at the current 254 persons per acre of public parks and additional 1,300 acres of parks would have to be added at an additional cost of $50 million a year in operational budgets for Rec and Park;

Health Department: at the current budget of $2,600 per resident an additional $572 million a year would be required;

Police Department: at $668 per resident, the police budget would have to increase by $147 million a year to accommodate the population growth;

Fire Department: at its current budget of $282 per resident, an additional $62 million a year would be needed.

The bottom line of these annual additional costs to the City and County of San Francisco, including Muni, parks, public health, police and fire (but excluding the SFUSD public education costs) is $1.62 billion a year.

To give some context to an otherwise mind-numbing number, it exceeds by more than 40% the $926 million total operating revenue of SF International Airport in 2017, the biggest money maker in city government.

But, wait there is more.

As we all know, Mother Nature bats last. Sea-level rise in the Bay is increasing at an accelerating rate, now that the additional phenomenon of filled land settling has been discovered. There is a ballot measure already being prepared to make a $500 million “down payment” on as much as a final $5 billion bill due to rebuild the three-mile-long “Great Seawall” along the eastern edge of San Francisco.

But the sea wall is merely part of the problem. Far more of the city’s key infrastructure than the sea wall would have to be relocated, not simply rebuilt. For example, Muni’s brand new 8.4-acre Islas Creek Motor Coach Facility, the primary fueling and dispatch center for the Eastern Neighborhoods area, would have to entirely relocated.  While it’s possible to build a floating fire boat station along the Bay (which the city is doing), it’s not possible to have a floating Muni bus yard. Finding a spare eight acres of dry land, and coming up with the funding for a new facility just after the old one was built, will surely add to the $785 million-a-year funding deficit for Muni.

At this writing, there is no official local estimate of how much San Francisco firms will get in the Trump tax cuts, but it will be tens if not hundreds of millions in federal tax savings. The next mayor must present plans and programs to recapture as much of that as possible and apply it to the unmet public needs of the city.

In a late move to get key Senate support, an additional sweetener was added that benefits the developer boom here in San Francisco. Aimed at developers of offices, housing complexes, and apartment buildings, the tax law granted an additional 20% deduction to development firms with few employees. Taxing that windfall tax cut should be a primary objective of the new mayor.

Also high on any list of tax increases is figuring out a way to add additional payments to car-sharing rides in San Francisco. New York just passed a $2.50 a ride tax on ride share trips and we should seek to do so as well.

We are facing enormous public infrastructural costs from unchecked development, which does not pay its own way and which forces out existing residents and businesses that serve them.

Regulate or Die

The only reason San Francisco has a chance to elect a true left/liberal mayor is because of the regulation of its housing market.

Between 1978 and now, some 242,000 units have had some sort of price controls, limiting, at least partially, residents from the harsh blast of the market. At San Francisco’s average of 2.2 persons per household, that’s 532,000 San Franciscans who are protected by local price regulations. The largest number, some 175,000 units, are covered by rent control. But each year, hundreds of rent-controlled units are converted to condos or TICs — and all rent controlled units are “vacancy decontrolled” and revert to market rents when they are vacated.

The next largest number of units, about 31,000, are non-profit developed and publically owned “permanently affordable” housing. These units do not revert to market rate when vacant. Another 20,000 or so units that are regulated can be found in residential hotels and about 25% of them are run by non-profits and have means-tested affordable rents.

The other 15,000 residential hotel units are privately owned — but conversions to tourist hotel rooms are regulated, keeping their rents lower than would be the case if they were not. Finally, there are some 15,000 public housing units and Section 8 rental subsidies

The protection and, with the repeal of Costa Hawkins (to be on the state November ballot), the expansion of rent control is the center piece of housing price regulation in San Francisco. State legislation (Costa Hawkins) prohibits local governments’ ability to expand the pool of rent controlled units. Every unit built since 1978 is exempt from rent control. We lose, through Tenants in Common (TIC) conversions, owner move-ins, and demolitions about 450 rent controlled units a year.

Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer has proposed a critically important amendment to the local law that would limit the costs of re-financing and local property taxes from being passed on to tenants. With the Republican tax cut barring rental property owners from deducting their local property tax from their federal taxes, pass-throughs of those costs to tenants would be expected to spike, driving rents up.

Proposition F on the June ballot is another example of regulation aimed at keeping folks in their homes by having the city pay for lawyers to represent any tenant facing an eviction.

Local efforts by a labor/ community coalition and progressive elected officials to limit and regulate short term rentals done by Airbnb and other web based corporations have had an immediate and real impact on both reducing evictions and actually increasing the supply of rental housing. These local regulations resulted in an increase, on one apartment listing web site, 680 percent in long-term rental listings in San Francisco in the month the new equations took effect. As many as 4,500 apartments may have gone back on the market as a result of these regulatory efforts. This is one “supply side” increase unmentioned by the usual cast of “pro-market” cheerleaders.

Trump (and lame-duck Paul Ryan) are pushing the deregulation agenda at breakneck speed at the national level (with far too little push back from national Democrats, even if only rhetorical), requiring a local capacity to backfill gaps created in national regulations from the environment to voting and civil rights. Any mayor seeking left/liberal support should be required to lay out a creative and doable local “re-regulation” agenda given the national situation.

But it isn’t only the national Republican deregulation agenda that is alarming. It is also the state-level, Democratic-party driven mania to de-regulate real-estate speculation and land use that requires strong and creative local response.

For the last two years, Democrats in Sacramento have used their super-majority to limit, and now they want to actually eliminate, local control over basic land use regulation.  While failing to repeal Costa-Hawkins, itself an attack on local government’s ability to regulate its housing market by imposing rent control on recently built housing developments, state Democrats have rushed to pass a series of bills aimed at taking land use decision making power away from local governments seeking protections for low and fixed income residents.

In April 2015, The Economist, the Old Testament of market based neo-liberal propaganda, published a cover story that may put what we are going through into some sort of context and point the way to even more destructive follow on policy.  In the piece , the “Paradox of Soil,”the editors argue that “land, the center of the pre-industrial economy, has returned as a constraint on growth.”

They lay out a two steps to address this “constraint”:

               “First, city -planning decisions [should be] made from the top down. When decisions are    taken at the local level, land-use rules tend to be stricter.

                  Second, government should impose higher taxes on the value of land…Whereas a high tax on property can discourage investment, a high tax on land creates an     incentive to develop unused sites” (emphasis added).

There can be no question that “by right” proposals of Gov. Brown and the “stream lined ” approval process in Wieners SB35 have the effect of making planning decisions “from the top down. (See this and this for details of each).

But both measures pale before Wiener’s proposed SB 827 in creating top-down control; that law would simply gut all local planning powers and establish the right at any time of a state department to declare “invalid” a local law that, for example, makes meaningful changes to affordable housing requirements for new development if those changes are deemed “inconsistent” with SB 827.

It must be remembered that urban renewal – redevelopment — was a legal edifice built on state laws that allowed the creation of a state mandated entity that had limited local control. But SB 827 has even less local control than did redevelopment. Moreover, redevelopment was a state function had had required public hearing and mandated citizen review. SB 827 has neither and its operations are controlled by the “invisible hand” of the private market.

Wall Street investors, developers and banks never have public hearings or mandated citizen review. Hell, they have damn little government review and oversight. But they read The Economist religiously. So can we expect next year a measure that establishes a state land tax on local parcels that only have a ten-unit apartment building on it when state density bonus laws allow 50 units on it until that 50-unit apartment building is built? Given the power of real estate and developer interest on Democrats in Sacramento this is not an impossibility. And while SB 827 is now stalled in committee, Wiener has made it clear he will push it again next year.

It may well be that the only recourse folks will have to massive, community busting development is local government. And we should pin down what candidates for mayor will do to counter act the pressure from the state top pre-empt local land use policies aimed at protecting residents and their communities.

But balanced development is only part of the problem that needs to be addressed at the local level in the face of both national and state regulatory indifference.

We see, before our very eyes, the rise of gentrification of urban transit — yet our city seems powerless to address it.  Uber, Lyft and Chariot are simply the leading edge of this new pheromone. Studies show ( 2017 UC Davis Study) that these private modes of transit are popular with upper income folks — the new “urbanites” that really aren’t all that urban in the sense that they really don’t want to get too close to folks unlike themselves, draining ridership and funding from public transit. “Disruptive transportation” must be integrated into our urban transit system, and its for-profit manifestations taxed, and that revenue used to grow public transit and safer streets. New York has just imposed a tax specifically on ride hailing services. We must figure out how to do that given the increasable influence at the state level theses service have.

Tax, Spend and Regulate

Democrats, if they have a chance at meaningful political power, must come home to their true base: working and lower income folks. They are not the party that Bill Clinton tried to create: a party of “win win” Wall Street millionaires “doing good” for the less fortunate by offering a “hand -up and not a hand out” while quietly saving all the handouts for themselves . That old game is over.

Democrats are uniquely dependent on an urban vote. They cannot win without it — but they can’t win with it alone. In addressing the needs of the urban working class — men and women, families, the elderly, immigrants and people of color — they can devise programs and policies that appeal to non-urbanites in the midwest and the south and have a chance to become the dominate national political party.

At the very heart of those policies and programs rests the clear need to tax and spend and regulate. Let that realization start here in San Francisco and let it start this June.

63 COMMENTS

  1. Whereas the YIMBY motto is “I’m almost 30 years old and make a lot of money but can’t buy a house wherever the hell I want, even though my nanny said I could have whatever I want, so I’ll just blame people who make a lot less than me for taking up space that’s MINE, MINE, MINE.”

  2. Thanks for posting this. This going to be fun. If you are trying to suggest that large, double deck buses with all the add luxury touches don’t put extra stress on roads, you are full of crap. And yes, a handful of casino buses come and go. Nothing compared to the steady stream of tech buses. Then, you bring up the health care shuttles. Dumb move. Even the few larger ones from UCSF are tiny compared to a tech bus. And most are simply modified vans. The tech buses have lead to evictions, displacement, gentrification, and yes, homelessness.

    And no, I hate no one. I do hate ignorance, bigotry, and greed, but not people. Stop projecting.

  3. If you are suggesting that I am a libertarian, you are a bigger fool than I thought. Libertarians are nuts.

  4. Ah, classic YIMBY BS. I am not blocking anything. I am all for building AFFORDABLE. and SUPPORTIVE housing. That is our major need. I am not for the extremist idea of unregulated building pushed by a group of Ayn Rand followers. There is a middle ground between YIMBY insanity, and the caricature of imaginary NIMBYs claimed by you.

  5. yea,
    IMO, SFs new planning motto should be: “Ghost Town 2050”

    ghost towns are the most affordable place to live, lets kick out all the jobs and let all the buildings fall into a state of disrepair

  6. I spent 5 months in Moscow in 1985 (well before the fall of Communism) and can’t recall seeing any homeless people – probably because the government had zero tolerance and would simply throw them into jail, or worse.

  7. “The USSR did not have homeless people”, yes it did Moscow and St Petersburg had a lot of homeless, and still does.

  8. You believing that this is tech’s fault is such a dangerous way of thinking. You’re singling out the tech busses but there’s no proof that they cause “damage to roads” any more so than the cars that would be driven. And what about the shuttles for health care companies? Or the “massive busses” that ferry people to casinos? And blaming them for the “increase in homelessness” is incredibly daft.

    You’re a hater. Through and through.

  9. Gentrification was fine in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s because those gentrifiers were cool. They colonized SF, proclaimed it to be open and inclusive, then proceeded to block new housing and reduce height limits. All it takes is 10 years in a rent controlled apartment and membership to one of the 500 neighborhood “coalitions” and you can consider yourself a native! No one will check!

  10. Yes, San Francisco is a Sanctuary City after all. It’s just full and can’t take any more people. We’re all for equality, inclusivity, and welcoming all walks of life, except if you want to get an apartment well then it’s just too packed already, have you ridden the N lately?

    Sanctuary City is great and all but there IS plenty of room in Tracy as well.

  11. Right, because more density means higher prices. So if we remove units, making the city less dense, prices will drop.

  12. Think of the people who get screwed out of housing whenever your ilk block new homes from being constructed.

  13. Well, actually, in truth the USSR, while claiming otherwise, did have homeless people. Some were mentally ill, or senile. Some chose to leave their families. They lived in places like abandoned houses, cellars, coal bins, garbage dumps, and around railway stations. Some were taken into custody by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which held them for a month, and tried to find them work. It was rarely successful.

    Some were ex-convicts, who were not welcome back in their home cities, others were alcoholics who could not hold down a job (these, and others who could not do productive work were labeled “parasites”).

  14. Great point and well said. The privilege and entitlement are eclipsed only by the total lack of self-awareness.

  15. “A decline in the quality of public life — parks, schools, Muni service — is more and more noticeable for the simple fact that costs outpace income when property tax increases are restricted by Proposition 13 but growth (and its attendant demand on public infrastructure) is unlimited.”

    Let me see if I can follow this argument: Prop 13 means people who haven’t had their property re-assessed in decades (e.g. a long term property owner in Haight-Ashbury or Bernal Heights) don’t pay enough property tax to cover the per-capita cost of city services, and somehow this is the fault of newcomers.

  16. Gosh, Tim Redmond always says that nearly all the homeless here were evicted from their SF homes.

  17. Thomas Jefferson was one of the founding fathers who said that urbanization would destroy the America they had created, as a democracy like the US could only thrive in a semi-rural or rural environment. The laws in this country were written originally by people who were determined that property ownership would be the cornerstone and foundation of the country. This was in contrast to the situation in Britain where land was owned by a King who charged peasants to live and work on the land (the original concept of a landlord)

    San Francisco is a unique situation because such incredible wealth was created in a short period of time, and because the Bay area is so small. But nation wide the problem of homelessness has many causes, including rising prices of education and health care as well as disparities in local education. The problem is also exacerbated by inadequate facilities for people with mental disorders. Not all homeless people are mentally ill, but a lot percentage of them are.

  18. You do realize that Communism is a failure. The USSR did not have homeless people, but that was not because capitalism is necessarily a failure. Greed, on the other hand, which is not a necessary part of capitalism, does cause problems.

  19. Yes, a lot of people would rather be homeless in Hawaii, than, oh, say New York City, where one can easily freeze to death. The same situation exists here in San Francisco. There are actually a lot of homeless people in the East who migrated from Florida to New York and back each year. That way they avoid the climate problems in both places.

    And while I imagine you think your suggestion about Antartica is humorous, sadly there are those who would love to take up such a suggestion.

  20. It sounds like you are being sarcastic, and given up liked your post, apparently they think so, but actually what you say is very true. Those scooters should not be used on sidewalks, though they, of course, are. And they really are a danger to the disabled, the elderly, and to children. As well as any pedestrian who happens to be unlucky enough to be hit by some fool zipping along at 15 mph.

  21. Right, and no one has ever shown that the homeless population increases by anywhere NEAR 5,200 a year. As to the claim that out of 20,000 homeless people, 6500 are from elsewhere, that is a bit more accurate. That works out to 32%, which is consistent with other reports. He just made it sound “really scary.”

  22. That is because the people you speak of are largely a myth. The head of the homeless effort makes the claim that weekly 50 people are moved off the streets, but 150 replace them. That is obviously a lie. That would mean the homeless population would increase by 5,200 a year. But hey, keep making that false claim. It keeps you from having to fact reality.

  23. We should be taxing the tech companies to recover what they cost the City in terms of damages to roads from massive buses, the increase in homelessness, and such.

  24. Levity aside, this does underscore the fact that homelessness in SF (and elsewhere on the West Coast, from Seattle to San Diego to Honolulu) ultimately needs a national solution, not just a local one.

    I suppose that a complete overthrow of capitalism *might* work – there weren’t any homeless in the USSR – but that doesn’t seem especially feasible at the moment.

  25. I think that if you ask most San Franciscans, they’ll define “rich” as “anyone who earns more than me.”

  26. Quotes from this article, “The largest number, some 175,000 units, are covered by rent control.
    But each year, hundreds of rent-controlled units are converted to condos
    or TICs.” The number of rent controlled units converted each year (as quoted by this article) is 450. If we divide 175,000 by 450, we get 388.89. It will take almost 389 years for the rent control units in the City to diminish to zero. That’s a long time.

  27. The cities in the United states with the largest homeless populations are in Hawaii and Los Angeles, it is not hard to figure out the reason. you could be homeless in Hawaii and survive for a very long time due to the hospitable climate. Deporting all the homeless people and all the people in American prisons to Antartica would be a good way to deal with the problems of homelessness and prison overpopulation, as well as a way to develop the continent before all the ice melts.

  28. Yup. I saw ‘help wanted’ signs up and down Polk St. yesterday. SF is becoming the new Paris: the working class lives out in the Banlieu and commutes to town to bus tables. We need more housing construction: everywhere, and vertically too.

  29. If SF ever decides to change its official motto (away from the current “Oro en Paz, Fierro en Guerra,” I propose: “I got mine, so fuck you.”

  30. By the same token, if the rich people all leave, then the shops and restaurants shut down and then those workers don’t have jobs at all.

  31. Only there is no one to staff the shops and restaurants since you have would have to commute 3 hours each way for a $15 per hour job and/or sleep in the park

  32. Yes, that’s another NIMBY battle cry. When you ask them ‘what is your solution to our severe housing shortage’, they pine joyfully about the glorious days of yore when hippies first set foot on our peninsula. That’s Calvin’s take.

  33. Meh, 6500 homeless is nothing compared to the invasion from those 200+ evil scooters terrorizing every child and physically impaired person within city limits!

  34. “San Francisco is a physically mature city with all of its land area already developed.”

    Cal forgets that it is possible to develop property vertically as well as horizontally. Upzoning, enabling the construction of six-story condos along transit hubs, is required in SF, and indeed throughout California, to alleviate our acute housing shortage statewide.

    But Old Cal’s already got his house. So change be damned! Cal loves that empty lot @ the former MacDonald’s site in his neighborhood and opposes construction there. He gets a hard-on everytime he looks at it.

  35. Ah, but then we’d have to deal with such thorny issues as whether a tech company lawyer would be allowed to stay – lawyers have existed since time immemorial, but tech companies are new and icky and gross. (Except Apple, because they make cool stuff and Steve Jobs was kind of a Buddhist, and besides it’s been around since before 1980.)

    The only possible solution would be to create an Office of Residency Lottery Administration and give it a lavish budget – $200 million a year should be enough to ensure that its policies and procedures are in full compliance with the priorities of all government and community stakeholders.

  36. New ordinance: Anyone engaged in an occupation that did not exist in 1980 will have their wealth confiscated and theirselves deported from the City and County of San Francisco.

  37. how about we start destroying housing, but at random, like randomly condemning peoples homes. That would surely quash demand.

  38. Related, from today’s Chron:

    “Jeff Kositsky, director of the Department of Homelessness, said his team gets an average of 50 people off the streets every week. But every week, 150 people take their place. Let that sink in. For every one person who gets help, three more join the homeless ranks. Kositsky said that while 7,500 people were found to be living on the streets during last year’s one-night count, there are 20,000 people who are homeless in San Francisco over the course of a year. About 6,500 of them arrived here homeless from somewhere else, he said.”

  39. It’s odd that the same “progressives” who rage against newcomers seem to have no problem with people coming here, living in an SRO for three weeks, and then claiming city residency so they can obtain city services.

    I suppose it’s because those individuals – many of whom end up in tent encampments, surrounded by stolen bikes – contribute to SF society in some ineffable way, as opposed to all of those horrible people with high-paying jobs who keep our restaurants and shops in business.

  40. IOW, we need a mayor who can repeal the law of supply and demand.

    If that proves impossible, and since adding supply is anathema, then we evidently need a mayor who will do his or her utmost to quash demand. It would be very interesting to hear some proposals along those lines.

  41. Why not re-assess houses that have been converted (legally or not) to multi-family housing? There are mechanisms in place to do that, and it would significantly increase Property Tax revenues. Prop 13 is going away. We need to work around that.

  42. I want to thank Calvin Welch for making me rich. Rich beyond my wildest dreams. I’m rich because I own a house in San Francisco, and the value of my house has more than doubled in the last 10 years. I didn’t do much to earn this; I just arrived here a few decades ago, and saved enough money to buy a crappy house. Thanks to Calvin Welch’s brilliant ideas about downzoning and regulation, houses like mine are now scarce, and when you combine high demand and a thriving economy with regulations that strangle home development… well, let’s say Calvin Welch has created many, many more millionaires in this town than Zuckerberg or Benioff ever did. Thanks bro!

  43. Calvin is right we need to tax and spend more. Specifically we need to repeal Prop 13 and levy real property taxes and we need to spend more on producing affordable housing all over the city!

  44. Hahahaha, you’ve got to be kidding me, right? Yes, let’s drop those housing prices by putting more Mission moratorium-esque policies in place! Let’s tax those evil tech companies until they get the hint and get out of town. And lastly, we need to bring back local control and enforce truly democratic principles for the compassionate and open-minded electorate of San Francisco, because those park benches are only taking 5 years to install instead of a decade! *You do know that a park bench over 3ft in height can in fact cast shadows on a certain percentage of the blades of grass in park X from April 30-May 24*

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