We all knew that the real-estate industry would attack David Campos, who is running for state Assembly. The California Association of Realtors has put $300,000 into an independent expenditure committee devoted to electing Sup. Matt Haney in the closely contested April 19 special election.
But the attack ad that came out this week is remarkable, even by modern political standards, for its fundamental inaccuracy.
Even the citations that the mailer uses don’t support its statements.
Among other things, the attack piece goes after Campos for supporting a planning moratorium on luxury housing in the Mission—without mentioning that Haney also supported that plan.
The realtors do their own thing, and by law can’t coordinate with the Haney campaign, but the Haney campaign put out a very similar piece a few days earlier.
On a deep level, there a real political debate here, which the realtors don’t want to engage in openly: If cities allow developers to build as much luxury housing as they want, will prices come down for working families?
The evidence is pretty clear that the answer is no. In fact, when Haney ran for supervisor against two Yimby stalwarts, he told me he agreed that the free market alone won’t create affordable housing.
At a rally Sunday, Campos said very clearly that “trickle-down economics didn’t work in the Reagan era, and won’t work today.”
But the mailer attacks Campos for supporting, in 2015, a measure that would have put a 45-day hold on new luxury housing that was causing radical displacement in the Mission. Among those who supported the proposal: Sups. John Avalos, David Campos, Jane Kim, Eric Mar, London Breed, Malia Cohen, and Norman Yee.
Yes: London Breed, the Yimby favorite, supported the idea. As we reported at the time:
It came after a long hearing that was one of the most powerful statements I’ve ever seen of the pain, suffering, and loss that the tech boom, encouraged and driven by Mayor Ed Lee, has caused. It was a profound statement of the failure of the city’s development and housing policies.
A fall ballot measure that would have extended the moratorium was on the fall ballot in 2016. Haney supported it.
The mailer says that Campos “still opposes affordable housing for families.” A mailer from the Haney campaign says the same thing.
They are talking entirely about a proposal for luxury housing—which would not be affordable to working families—on a Stevenson Street lot. Eight supervisors voted against the project. Campos, of course, wasn’t on the board and didn’t vote.
Nobody in local politics wants that site to remain as a parking lot. The debate is over two things: Will a luxury housing project do anything for the working families of Soma (no) and would the existing proposal get built there anyway in today’s market (probably not).
This, Soma advocates (and they are pretty well united on this) say, is a perfect site for 100 percent affordable housing. That’s the real issue: Should this be luxury housing for the very rich, or housing for the actual “working families” of Soma?
More: The mailer says Campos “created zero housing projects in the Mission in seven years.” That footnote links to a KQED story about an affordable housing project that was conceived and designed while Campos was a supervisor. (A lot of luxury housing was also built in the Mission while he was on the board.)
The story quotes Sam Moss, who is now a Yimby leader, who runs Mission Housing Development Corporation, talking about how the city needs to stop allowing luxury condos and start building affordable housing—exactly what Campos was urging:
The land is one of four city properties being planned for affordable housing in the Mission, hard hit by a housing crisis that has mobilized activists, who have been putting pressure on city officials. A measure imposing an 18-month moratorium on market-rate housing development in the Mission will be on the city’s November ballot.
“We’re hoping that this is a symbol of taking a step in the right direction, of saying, ‘No — no more luxury housing, no more displacement, we’re going to start building more affordable housing,’ ” says Moss.
The 18-month moratorium was only on luxury housing—and Haney was all in favor. From his response to a Harvey Milk Club questionnaire in 2016:
It is also important that our School Board stand on the right side of the broader fight for affordability in our city. For that reason, I supported Prop G to tax speculation, Prop F to regulate AirBnb and I supported Prop I to put a moratorium on luxury housing in the Mission.
So basically Haney and his allies are attacking Campos for something that Haney also supported.
Just to set the record straight.