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News + PoliticsWill the city's Climate Plan ever happen? Plus: Election Day, tech-worker dorms...

Will the city’s Climate Plan ever happen? Plus: Election Day, tech-worker dorms …

... and shelter politics, the cost of cops, and an embarrassing NYT story. That's The Agenda for June 6-13.

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Tuesday, June 7, is Election Day. The biggest issue on the ballot is the attempted recall of District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and a recent poll shows the race essentially tied. It’s all going to be about turnout, which right now is low.

You can vote until 8pm Tuesday. You can drop off your mail-in ballot at any polling station, or at City Hall, or at any of the new ballot boxes spread around the city. You can also still vote in person; to find your local polling place, check here.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, the civil-rights icon, came to SF to support Boudin. The news media is more interested in attacking Boudin. Photo by Steve Rhodes.

You can get the Bay Guardian endorsements for local races here. We have compiled a guide to the endorsements of some of the more progressive groups in San Francisco; you can find that here (Excel sheet).

San Francisco has an ambitious Climate Plan, with the goal of dramatically reducing greenhouse gases in the next 20 years. It’s a plan that discusses climate justice, and calls for all sorts of policy changes.

But there’s no dedicated funding at all to implement the plan. And it’s hard to imagine that, without a huge amount of money, it’s ever going to be implemented. (Even with money, some of the goals of the plan are beyond “ambitious;” in one appendix, the plan notes: “To meet San Francisco’s goal of zero emissions by 2040, 100 percent of existing buildings must be renovated or replaced by 2040.”)

It’s budget season, and the supes are about to start the process of amending and ultimately approving some version of the mayor’s budget proposal.

Sup. Gordon Mar is holding a hearing at the Budget and Appropriations Committee Wednesday/8 to discuss the “near-term funding needs” to implement the Climate Action Plan. The Department of the Environment so far has put no numbers on the cost of any of the elements in the plan; this is an opportunity to see what it will take, and whether the Mayor’s Office is willing to pay for, serious moves to address the existential crisis facing the planet.

Sups. Hillary Ronen and Shamann Walton have called for a hearing on racial equity in city employment, which is also on the meeting agenda.

The hearing starts at 1pm.

The latest trend in market-rate housing development in San Francisco is something called “group housing,” better known as tech-worker dorms. The concept is to construct college-dorm-type buildings where individual units don’t have full kitchens or food storage, but there’s some shared space.

It’s fine for young people, not so good for families—and absolutely not affordable housing.

But the profit levels on these projects are higher than on any type of traditional housing, and since the housing market in SF is driven entirely by investor profit, we’re seeing these things pop up all over.

Sups. Aaron Peskin and Myrna Melgar are proposing that these group housing units be banned in some parts of the city, specifically the Tenderloin and Chinatown. Those are areas where this type of housing could lead to demolition of existing affordable units and future gentrification and displacement.

The legislation would exempt any new affordable projects, and would not apply to existing SRO hotels. But it does have developers up in arms, and lawyer Ryan Patterson, of the notorious developer and landlord firm Zachs, Freedman, and Patterson, has informed the supes that the plan might violate state law.

The state says cities can’t ban any type of new housing that would reduce the total future development potential—but the Melgar-Peskin measure would only take effect once the city also passes the upzoning proposed by Sup. Rafael Mandelman. The Planning Department says that fits the legal requirements, since the new potential for housing offsets the new restrictions.

This comes up at the Land Use and Transportation Committee Monday/6 at 1:30pm.

The cost of cops in San Francisco keeps going up. The supes are slated to vote this week on a $1.5 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by the family of Christopher Kliment, a homeless man who had a heart attack after SFPD officers restrained him in what the suit claims was a “hog tied” position outside the CPMC hospital in the Mission.

The city admitted no wrongdoing. But the overall toll to the city from lawsuits alleging police abuse continues to grow in multimillion-dollar chunks.

The full board will also vote Tuesday/7 on Sup. Rafael Mandelman’s legislation that would require the city to provide “a place for all,” which means guaranteed shelter for everyone living on the streets. Sounds fine—except that advocates for unhoused people say that the legislation does nothing to create new housing—and could just be a way around a federal court decision that held cities can’t criminalize homeless people if there’s no place for them to go.

The bill made it out of committee, but it’s not clear that there are six votes on the full board.

In a different approach to homelessness, the board will vote on Sup. Dean Preston’s proposal that would require the city to acquire at least 20 more units for transitional-aged youth. Also up: Sup. Myrna Melgar’s bill that would make Ellis Act evictions a bit more difficult and costly.

Final note: This is what happens when you send reporters from out of town who know nothing about San Francisco politics to cover a story:

The New York Times does a story about the DA Recall and says this:

As the former chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, Mary Jung has a long list of liberal bona fides, including her early days in politics volunteering in Ohio for the presidential campaign of George McGovern and her service on the board of the local Planned Parenthood branch.  “In Cleveland, I was considered a communist,” she said in her San Francisco office.

But the squalor and petty crime that she sees as crescendoing on some city streets — her office has been broken into four times during the coronavirus pandemic — has tested her liberal outlook.

Anyone who has any sense of local politics knows Jung is a corporate Democrat, someone who has supported conservative economic politics, who is against anything that hurts landlords, the tech industry, or generally the rich.

She is a supporter of the recall who was a strong supporter of the candidate who ran against Boudin. And yet, the Times reporters say she represents progressive San Francisco, and how the “Democrats are at war with themselves.”

Actually, the Democratic Party opposed the recall, overwhelmingly, and the big money comes in large part from Republicans, who initiated the recall.

But to get that you would need to spend a little time here, and talk to people who understand the deeper story of San Francisco politics.

The Times apparently can’t be bothered.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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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