Gosh, we need more condos for millionaires


I guess it's really, really important for San Francisco to build more housing for the very rich because there's just such a profound need for it. In fact, the demand for million-dollar condos is so high, and the supply so tight, that the folks at Rincon Tower (which is hideous) are bringing in celebrities to try to sell the last few units.

You don't find many mid-range and affordable units sitting on the market; in fact, there's a long waiting list and a lottery for affordable housing. Because there's more demand than supply. On a policy level, one would think that the city would seek to match supply and demand (since the free market clearly isn't doing it). But no: SF continues to approve housing for people who don't need it and won't balance that out with the level of affordable housing that IS desperately needed.



Why do you think that policy arguments will somehow magically stop politicians from serving those who elect them, threaten them with recalls or attack ads and well funded challengers at reelection time?

Why do you think that land use was not discussed to speak of during last year's Mayoral race and the 2010 D6 and D10 supervisors races?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

They do not understand that it is the people who already live here who elected them. And, they are approving housing that they themselves cannot afford!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

Haven't we long since disavowed ourselves of the misapprehension that San Francisco government is here to benefit citizens, voters and residents of San Francisco?

It is all about enriching campaign contributors by shifting resources from our pockets to theirs while throwing labor and the nonprofits enough crumbs that they're muzzled and complacent.

That means giving developers what they want and exacting the bare minimum in concessions that don't come close to mitigating economic impacts on taxpayers. When Eric Quezada sold out the Mission this way, they referred to him as a hero.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

Since you bring up Eric Quezada, I'd just like to post a reminder as to why he was a hero. He stood up to developers, stopped evictions, and mobilized many marginalized, undocumented residents. He unfortunately left this world too early and we could surely use his guidance now in SF: http://sfpublicpress.org/news/2011-08/an-appreciation-eric-quezada-1965-....

Posted by Joe Sciarrillo on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

It's here, it's complete and it's not going away. Mentioning it in every piece on affordable housing is not going to change that. You're being redundant and boring. Things are going to be built which Tim Redmond considers "ugly." The constant emphasis on "me, me, ME" in your articles is trite.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

Marc and Tim
News flash - there are a lot of "rich" people who want to live in San Francisco. Rich people have cash and can buy pretty much what they want. Last time I checked, SF wasn't passing laws banning the purchase of property by rich people.

So you've got two choices - either (A) we build "housing for the rich" and thereby raise revenues for affordable housing (through higher tax revenues and mandatory affordable housing fees) or (B) rich people will buy existing housing stock, displace current owners or tenants, and improve the homes as they see fit.

Which sounds better to you?

Posted by Paul Noe Valley on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

Rich people are not going to be purchasing existing rent controlled housing stock, so the idea that we either build luxury condos or San Francisco becomes more unaffordable is bunk.

This is the fake housing ecology argument that TOD pretends to make, either we build luxury housing in San Francisco or rich people are going to live in the exurban sprawl.

Localities have discretion on what kind of housing to approve, very little that makes money has been as of right, more is now, but not all. As part of that local discretion, the City can cut much better deals for San Francisco citizens.

Perhaps you all think that one in eight is a good deal, I'd prefer to see one for one, with the terms so onerous for the most luxurious housing that half of it does not get built.

This will never happen because Finance, mortgage makers, Insurance that underwrites the notes and Real Estate have a firm grip on the political campaign process and will demolish anyone who challenges their divine right to build highly profitable luxury housing with massive public subsidy.

All Tim can do now is wring his hands...

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 5:22 am

Someone in the market for 2 million downtown condo won't buy a TIC in the Mission. But he might buy an existing loft in SOMA, and the guy who would otherwise have bought that will then buy in Potrero Hill, and the runner-up in that bid will then buy that TIC in the Mission.

So wealth does literally trickle down in housing because there are homes at all price points down to 300K or so.

And the more Googlers and Applers that buy TIC's and condo's in the Mission, the more "hip" it becomes, and the more new arrivals want to live in the same area.

I bought into my building in the heart of the Mission 15 years ago. During that time almost every building on my block has gone from being rentals to TIC's and condo's. The demographic of my block has completely changed, going from poor white and hispanic renters to being fairly affluent white owner occupiers.

The demand is there. Tim just doesn't want more voters here who won't vote the way he tells them to. It's not really about housing at all - he wants to manipulate the demographics here to suit his politics.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 6:07 am

There is no evidence that this cascading housing ecology theory bears out to any significant degree in the real world.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 6:32 am

There is no evidence that this cascading housing ecology theory does not bear out to any significant degree in the real world

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 9:04 am

it either way. So there's no more "proof" that your statement is true either. But think about it this way:

Suppose there are 260,000 homes in SF. Now divide those into 26 buckets of 10,000 homes each, according to price. Name theose groups A thru Z, with A the most expensive and Z the cheapest.

Your point is that if you can afford A but there is no A, then you won't just go out and buy Z. That's absolutely correct.

But what you will do in that case is buy B. The B people will then be outbid and so buy C, and so on down the chain until the Y people buy Z, leaving the Z people out of luck, and out of a home.

So a lack of supply at any point from A thru Z will percolate down the housing ladder and, as always, the poorest get the shaft. SF needs housing at all price levels.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 10:10 am

Rich people are boring. SF does not need to be more boring. SF does not need more rich people.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

reality is that Tim actually resents every successful person who moves here. He only wants losers here because, well, that makes him feel bigger. It's beyond pathetic.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 9:10 pm


Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

You'll notice that Tim has no shortage of energy when it comes to denigrating the building of new housing for the rich. But nothing about actually doing something, realistically, about building affordable housing on a reasonable scale in a reasonable location.

I think that's part of the problem. It is all about reacting negatively when the other side builds something but rarely, if ever, about building something in line with the socialist, excuse me, progressive goals of the SFBG.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

But we have actively, agressively supported the construction of affordable housing all over the city. In every reasonable location. My point, if you can get beyond your trolldom and listen for a second, is that the housing mix in San Francisco does not reflect the jobs mix in the city. Yes, there are rich people who work here and want to live here, but most of the city isn't rich, and most of the people who work in the city's biggest industries (tourism, health care and government are the biggest employers in town, way beyond tech) can't afford a market-rate home. That means they are forced to live way out of town and commute, which is environmentally bad and economically inefficient. SF needs to build housing for its existing workforce -- and that is not happening.

I have no problems with increased density (I'm in favor of legalizing inlaws and building taller buildings on transit corridors). It ain't a Nimby thing -- I just want teachers and hotel workers and nurses to be able to live in the city where they work.

That isn't so crazy is it?


Posted by tim on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 9:28 pm

Just name the specific realistic affordable housing projects that you have been championing in the past year. Don't say 'everywhere', just list a few.

And saying that half of 8 Washington should be put aside for affordable housing doesn't count. The other side got to that spot before you did and I said 'realistic'.

Posted by Troll on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

All housing is expensive to build. What you mean by "affordable" is that someone other than the occupier of a home has to foor some of the bill. So you want me to pay for my own home and to pay for part of somebody else's home just so they can pay less.

Just like you think I should fund my own private-sector pension and fund part of a city worker's pension too.

You see nothing wrong with that model because you only see the rich and successful as having one function - to pay for others.

As for poor people living here, well, there aren't many poor people in Aspen, Malibu or La Jolla either. Some places are just expensive but the good news is that we have Oakland just a few miles and ten minutes away, where there is lots of underused land and vacant buildings. Anyone who can't afford SF prices can live for half the cost or less there, and get to downtown SF quicker than from the Sunset.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 6:12 am

Too bad for the credibility of your facile class-"blind" pablum that BART across the bay is already at capacity -- and as we've seen recently if we were paying any attention at all, is a major bottleneck when trouble arises.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 6:31 am

And we've also just built a brand new spanking bridge.

Oakland is a real option.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 10:11 am

with money. And perhaps you think 1 + 1 - 1 = 2? 3?

Need I spell it out? I don't find your comment competent.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 10:22 am

And that's a very silly argument to use to try and dissuade anyone who wishes to relocate to Oakland

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 10:40 am

is at capacity. Why do you suppose they don't let bikes on the trains during rush hour? Like I said: not competent.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 11:19 am

Damn, you're a cranky coot unleashing the worst of your ad hominem, do you now realize that you're going to be losing that important case you're working on?

They've not let bikes on BART during rush hour since before forever irrespective of diminishing capacity issues over the decades.

The NYC subway is often at capacity and there are no restrictions on when you can bring a bike on the NYC MTA system.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 11:28 am

Because I think it highly odd that you identify my commentary with ad hominems while calling *me* a "cranky coot"... when in another thread recently, you called me a couple of anatomical words generally used for the purpose of personal attack and disparagement.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 11:41 am

You coin your own pseudonym while it is others who coin a sobriquet for you.

So you should accuse Marcos of using a pseudonym or nom de plume, rather than a sobriquet or nickname.

It's like the difference between an autobiography and a biography, you know?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 11:54 am

I'm sure that there are plenty of sobriquets out there that have my name on them.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

otherwise. What is your source? God damned OED? Fuck that. What does Merriam Webster say? Etymology? Balls in your court, but *know* that you can't just say I'm wrong without a citation.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

A pseudonym is a name you coin for yourself; a sobriquet is a name someone else coins for you.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 6:24 am

Cranky coot is an adjective characterizing how you are acting in "advancing" your "argument" that I demolished summarily.

Calling someone a jackass for not reaching the same conclusions as you is ad hominem.

Otherwise, yes, marcos has been hijacked a few times over the past few days by trolls, but not in the post you refer to, that's all me.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 11:55 am

The trains are crowded at rush hour. The OP of this thread evidently rode BART somewhere other than SF downtown, some other time than at rush hour, and made the claim that it is not crowded: was that you? Do you think that's true? Insane. It's great that bikes are going to be allowed as a test on Fridays, but don't expect it to last. They are being allowed under the condition that bikeys behave themselves and do not attempt to board crowded cars. This isn't New York where people tend to be uniformly civilized.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

Of course market rate housing, including luxury housing, does not pay for itself as far as the costs to provide city services over time, so all housing requires public subsidy of one kind or another. You're just quibbling over providing subsidy to those who actually need it in favor of providing subsidy to the already rich.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 6:38 am

Can you please point to what studies show this other then the "groundbreaking" studies bought and paid for by the SFBG during its anti growth anti high rise hysteria period?

Posted by Greg on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 9:07 am

Oakland is fast becoming the destination of choice for young creative people. Ideally it will ease some of the demand pressure we always see as the economy improves in San Francisco. Do the Google/Apple buses run there yet?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 9:09 am

Too bad that so many were converted to garage space in the 90s and 00s, really.

Wasn't it Louise Renne who as supervisor championed the crack down on these units and the implementation of "live/work" -- ostensibly to improve the lives of artists, but in fact displacing them from the city?

The answer to the problem of high housing and commuting costs (that of so many facets) is to build very small, very dense, housing built within the city limits and have it served by public transit and car share programs but not private cars.

Probably building codes need to be modified, and perhaps a system for allocating such spaces for people who actually work in the city needs to be devised. Pie in the sky? Can't realize something if we don't dream about it first.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 6:25 am

It turns out that at this point in the market, that smaller SRO style housing actually goes for significantly more per square foot than regular apartments which can make smaller apartments cost more psf and out the door than larger apartments.

Half of phenomenon are intuitive, the other half are counter intuitive, brilliance is the ability to know which is which in advance, intelligence is the ability to accept that one's predictions are wrong and roll with it.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 6:52 am

... but of course the apts are smaller so they are thus cheaper. If you'd like to provide some intelligent input to this discussion, please feel free to do so.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 7:19 am

One might think that economies of scale derived from eliminating bulk and density controls and giving higher FAR would drive down prices, asshole.

But no, that all goes to pure developer profit and has people living in tenement style rat holes, prick.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 8:38 am

I absolutely love both assholes and pricks! Especially when I am out in public and someones former is in my latter.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 9:10 am

But of course the NIMBY's (most of whom own and have a vested interest in high RE prices) wouldn't want that.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 10:14 am

The relative veracity of my statement cannot be disparaged with statistics or other reference to what has transpired in the past under complex building laws and the real estate market.

My statement is true on an A Priori basis: smaller apartments use fewer materials and produce more residences in a limited space.

I'm all for limiting developer profits when they come at public expense, but one should avoid being the type who fantasizes about minimum building standards when there are people sleeping in doorways.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 10:15 am

It doesn't mean what you think it means.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

means. You didn't bother even trying to explain your rationale for attempting to correct me, so I'm assuming you are just trolling... or at least you aren't deserving of a dumbed-down explanation.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

"A priori" means "prior to experience" i.e. something you can know non-empirically, such as the laws of math.

Your statement requires an empirical investigation to prove or disprove. So it's "a posteriori".

A priori truths are purely conceptual.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 6:26 am

And legalizing inlaw units will face the same opposition that raising parking fines does, in that these policies will screw existing San Franciscans who need parking because public transit is not rapid, reliable on a local and regional scale.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 6:54 am

The fact that the DBI turns a blind eye to them doesn't mean they are habitable housing. I've seen some truly horrible in-laws and I wouldn't wish them on a dog let alone a family.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 10:15 am

I think in-laws are great. A tenant should be able to sign a waiver that allows them to live in an inlaw that is not up to code. Of course there will be unscrupulous landlords who will abuse any such system, like splitting a basement into 10 units of 8' x 8' size (I saw that on Lexington Street one time), but so what. This isn't a socialist country, so we should quit acting like the government is here for people's sake. If you want change, vote. Or not. As long as we exist in a for-profit environment, only a few people will ever be happy.

Posted by Vorlon on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

He said they're illegal. If a tenant wants a choice they can go to DBI and take their chances that DBI will force the owner to make it elgal, or of course demolish it. So tenants already have that power but they don't use it.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

Perhaps in your regard of bicycling as the acme of environmental stewardship and being a model citizen, you overlook that parking fines are a highly regressive form of taxation.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 10:20 am

Weren't you just complaining about how all the newly rich FaceBook people would buy out all the currently affordable housing on the market?

Are you really just against people becoming well-to-do rather than for anything in particular?

Posted by Oy on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 8:13 am