A new progressive agenda - Page 3

A series of community forums helped us craft a platform for the next mayor

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New construction in Mission Bay: Are we building a community -- or building a city for rich people?
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY MIRISSA NEFF


LAND USE, HOUSING AND TENANTS

Background: Since the office market tanked, the big land-use issue has become market-rate housing. San Francisco is building housing for people who don't live here — in significant part, for either very wealthy people who want a short-term pied a terre in the city or for commuters who work in Silicon Valley. The city's own General Plan calls for 60 percent of all new housing to be below-market-rate — but the vast majority of the new housing that's been constructed or is in the planning pipeline is high-end condos.

There's no connection between the housing needs of city residents and the local workforce and the type of housing that's being constructed. Family housing is in short supply and rental housing is being destroyed faster than it's being built — a total of 21,000 rental units have been lost to condos and tenancies in common.

Public housing is getting demolished and rebuilt with 2500 fewer units. "Hotelization" is growing as housing units become transitory housing.

Planning has become an appendage of the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, which has no commission, no public hearings and no community oversight.

Projects are getting approved with no connection to schools, transit or affordable housing.

There's no monitoring of Ellis Act evictions.

Transit-oriented development is a big scam that doesn't include equity or the needs of people who live in the areas slated for more development. Cities have incentives to create dense housing with no affordability. Communities of concern are right in the path of this "smart growth" — and there are no protections for the people who live there now.

Agenda items:

1. Re emphasize that the Planning Department is the lead land-use approval agency and that the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development should not be used to short-circuit public participation in the process.

2. Enact a freeze on condo conversions and a freeze on the demolition of existing affordable rental housing.

3. Ban evictions if the use or occupation of the property will be for less than 30 days.

4. Index market-rate to affordable housing; slow down one when the other is too far ahead.

5. Disclose what level of permanent affordability is offered at each project.

6. Stabilize existing communities with community benefits agreements before new development is approved.

 

 

BUDGET AND SOCIAL SERVICES

Background: There have been profound cuts in the social safety net in San Francisco over the past decade. One third of the city's shelter beds have been lost; six homeless centers have closed. Homeless mental health and substance abuse services have lost $32 million, and the health system has lost $33 million.

None of the budget proposals coming from the Mayor's Office have even begun to address restoring the past cuts.

There's not enough access to primary care for people in Healthy San Francisco.

Nonprofit contracts with the city are flat-funded, so there's no room for increases in the cost of doing business.

The mayor has all the staff and the supervisors don't have enough. The supervisors have the ability to add back budget items — but the mayor can then make unilateral cuts.

The wealthy in San Francisco have done very well under the Bush tax cuts and more than 14 billionaires live in this city. The gap between the rich and the poor, which is destroying the national economy, exists in San Francisco, too. But while city officials are taking a national lead on issues like the environment and civil rights, there is virtually no discussion at the policy level of using city policy to bring in revenue from those who can afford it and to equalize the wealth disparities right here in town.

Agenda items: