8 Washington's going on the ballot


San Franciscans are going to get a chance to vote on the most expensive condos in the city's history and the future of development on the waterfront as soon as this November.

Opponents of the 8 Washington project turned in 31,721 signatures to the Department of Elections July 19, and since only about 19,000 have to be valid, it's a safe bet the referendum will qualify.

That means no work can be done on the development until after the election -- and since the deadlines are tight and it's possible the DOE won't get its counting and verifying done in time for November, 2012, the whole thing could be on hold until 2013.

It's going to be a bitter and expensive campaign: Developer Simon Snellgrove tried to keep this off the ballot -- and, since he has about $200 million riding on the outcome, he's going to spend what it takes to win. The Stop the Wall on the Waterfront folks aren't going to be able to match Snellgrove by any stretch, but they've raised some money and they'll be able to run an effective campaign.

And we can have an important public debate: Should the city continue to build housing for the very rich when it can't keep up with its existing affordable-housing requirements? And what will happen to San Francisco if the people who work here can't afford to live here and the people who live here don't work here (or in many cases, don't work at all because they're stinking rich)?

Is $11 million in affordable housing money enough for a project that will make a $200 million profit?

Gonna be a good one.


Supervisors Avalos, Campos and Olague have submitted a motion that will place San Francisco on record as supporting this move to limit the power of the super rich to control and manipulate our daily lives and hi-jack what's left of our participatory 'democracy'. It is on the agenda for next Tuesday's Full Board meeting. Please contact your Supervisors and ask them to vote in favor. Let's make this unanimous.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

I'm quite sure Congress and the Supreme Court are on the edge of their seats waiting to hear what the SFBOS has to say on this matter.

Posted by Troll II on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

You might want to calm the anti-rich zealotry for awhile. One big reason that you got your signatures is that one family spent $80,000 on paid gatherers to save their health club. So maybe you should wait a little while before calling them boring or otherwise disparaging the individuals that gave you your great victory.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 12:57 pm

We don't need no stinking rich developers using their money to further enrich themselves by buying candidates for office and then having them change the laws to that effect so that fly by night new rich people can have pieds-a-terres in San Francisco.

The donors are near 80, do you really think that they're hitting the tennis courts every day?

Posted by marcos on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

I sure with I had $80,000 to drop on protecting my view.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 12:10 am

I sure with I could make $40,000,000 destroying the waterfront.

Posted by hotensio on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 10:24 am

how are they destroying the waterfront? It's really about some people with great views not wanting their views blocked.

It would probably actually improve the waterfront as the condo building that is currently visible is hideous and this building will be much more attractive and block that ugly existing building from sight.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 02, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

I realise that you may find it to be an uncomfortable truth, but there still are a few millionaires who have managed to retain a social consciousness, and do the right thing. For example Warren was one, Gates and the Fishers are not.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

Foundation, which has a good shot at eliminating malaria (the biggest killer of poor, third-world peoples) is doing tremendous things around the world. Meanwhile Bill Gates and his father recently gave large donations to the campaign to preserve marriage equality in WA state and both are on record as supporters of higher taxes for the wealthy, just like Warren Buffet.

But you know better which wealthy person is "wheat amongst the chaff" then don't you?

Posted by Troll II on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

Well if they bought BOS votes I would imagine that most likely the payouts went to Jane Kim and Eric Mar. It's not like they had to pay Elsbernd or Farrell.

Has an investigation started as to the nature of the bribes that these two Supervisors accepted? We should get this criminal activity on the record immediately, especially with regard to Mar who is up for re-election.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

It probably will qualify. Signatures usually get DQ-ed because people aren't residents or aren't registered to vote in San Francisco. I walked past the signature gathering stand every day in front of Golden Gateway and the people who were asking for signatures were being pretty conscientous about confirming registration status. It was also good to see people who were actually interested in the outcome -- mostly people trying to save their swim club -- gathering signatures rather than paid people who molest you in the financial district for a signature.

I don't really care for all the class warfare stuff that's being advanced in opposition to 8 Washington, but I do think it would be a shame to lose Golden Gateway. People deride it as a parking lot and a club surrounded by a green fence, but it's unique to have an outdoor pool in the middle of a high density financial center.

Posted by The Commish on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

It is frightening that people will have a chance to vote on this without understanding the facts. Have you seen the plans?? The swim club will be there, with an even larger outdoor pool. The buildings have green roofs, retail and restaurants will be added, plus a playground open to the public. Parking will be hidden underground.
If you look at the scale drawings you can see it fits in nicely...smaller than the buildings behind it. the result would be far more useful to the public and generate much more money for the city than what is there now.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 26, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

I feel personally insulted that someone is going to make 200 million dollars on a single condo project on public land in my city.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

Otherwise why would they do it.

Get over it.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

Or don't get over it.

Get mad, get organized and block it, like we did.

Posted by D3 Dem on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

Gotta admit you almost sucked me into your cesspool of ignorance. I don't expect you to do any independent research, which actually requires a committment to digging deeper than the slick propaganda. Suggest that if you ever decide to actually wise up you might want to start by investigating for example :-
1) Bill Gates multi million dollar investments in promoting the worldwide spread of GMOS which are threatening the biodiversity essential to planetary sustainability, destroying indigenous cultures, etc. blah, blah, blah, but why would you care.
2) Melinda Gates 'final solution' offered at a recent symposium in London on the problems of world hunger, one of which was 'sterilisation of women in developing nations'.
You really are a troll of the lowest order.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

Admiral Troll II to you.

Thanks for proving my point that nothing that anyone does is ever going to be good enough for purity progressives like you. Which is the reason you people cannot exercise real power and why the progressive bus long ago went over the cliff and from the sounds of your writings - you along with it.

I searched the Internet under your name and found a conspiracy involving your enlarged prostate, which is supposedly going to be shot at an asteroid heading for earth, so maybe in the end you'll all do us some good somehow.

Posted by Troll II on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

It is unfortunate, but not unexpected, that you would troll the internet and apparently become fascinated and fixated on my genital region, instead of using that time to educate yourself on important issues; but that's also understandable as such an undertaking would probably cause major synaptic stress and render you incapable of speech as well as thought.
It's kinda fun to dump on you dipshits again, but I've gotta do the dishes.
PS. Wrong again. I don't have an enlarged prostate, or a prostate of any size. I happen to be 5 year prostate and cancer free and fully expect to live and piss on your grave, if I happen to pass it by.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

If you don't provide places for affluent people (facebook,twitter,zynga,salesforce, the entire financial district etc) to live, they will just as happily buy up your district. Have a look at the mission or the fillmore or divisadero. Furthermore it is inconceivable that the current golden gateway club and the adjacent surface parking lot is an intelligent use of space along the waterfront or for the city of san francisco in general. What the stop the wall referendum is all about is delaying the project indefinitely and keeping things exactly the same as they are, which I personally think is ridiculous to call that "progressive". The golden gateway building is double the size of the proposed housing part of the 8 washington project. 8 washington also includes a public park, restaurants, retail space, a NEW state of the art aquatic center, a reconnection of jackson street, and an opening up of pacific street. The funniest irony to me is that the very building that Mr. Snellgrove built (embarcadero center # 4) is where the stop the wall group held there meeting on july 17th and were supported by boston properties who are pouring money into "stopping the wall". This is a great project for the public and the city of San Francisco. Aaron Peskin, Jon Gollinger, and Sue Hestor are political and legal puppets for the old money on telegraph hill. All you really need to do is look at who is supporting the project. SFBCDC supports the 8 Washington project, the Tenants Union does not. The Trades union supports the 8 Washington project, the friends of golden gateway does not. 11 Million dollars goes towards the city to build 34 units of affordable housing elsewhere in the city. If the signatures don't add up for whatever reason and it's going to get built, Sue "sue the world" Hestor and Snake Plisken are going to sue the city of San Francisco and cost the taxpayers millions in legal fees, whatever it is, they are against it. Parisians hated the eiffel tower when it was erected. These so called progressives are executing the will of the few and disregarded the benefit of many.

Posted by Signature Blocker #1 on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

Wrong, but at least well and coherently rationalised.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

Around here when you post an argument and somebody just says 'WRONG!' without further explanation...you know that you made some good points.

Posted by Troll on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

That's what I said. Could have responded in greater detail but can't waste ptecious time casting pearls before swine. More power to you #1. See you on the streets.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

find a way of getting you out of your rent-controleld hovel.

Safer for you to build new housing for those who have power over you.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 10:54 pm

There is as much evidence of the luxury condo trickle up cascade effect as there is evidence that entitling housing like this will stop suburban sprawl.

I really hope this makes it onto the November ballot!

Posted by marcos on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 9:51 pm

You know as well as anyone that you dont have any evidence to the contrary, so stop talking like you have the upper hand.
Do you honestly think that rich people that want to move to sf WONT buy whatever they can find and gentrify it?
Its really not much different then your situation. white guy comes into some money and uses it to gentrify a brown neighborhood. You think a latino family wouldnt have been interested in your current condo?
Oh wait, you're the good, allowed, kind of gentrifier

Posted by Greg on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 6:47 am

I am not the one making assertions that if the City entitles more luxury condos, then that relieves pressure on less expensive housing in a cascade effect, you are. If you are going to make that assertion, you are the one who needs to provide at least back of the napkin quantitative justification or else it gets dismissed as pulling crap out of your ass in order to rationalize more crappy construction.

My housing circumstances have nothing to do with 8 Washington, we are not rich, we are not wealthy, we are not well off.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 6:52 am

You are richer and wealthier and more well off then the people in the surrounding neighborhood which do not own housing. Just by virtue of being able to pay your property tax ....

You are making an assertion that building more luxury housing does nothing to relieve pressure on existing housing stock - so where is your "back of the napkin" ?

Posted by Greg on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 7:16 am

Compared to the people who would purchase units, no, they're not units, they're multiples, at 8 Washington, we are all Very Low Income.

Claims on the economics of real estate are made all the time and they never are substantiated, such as the cascade effect or the idea that adding more housing supply will put negative pressure on price.

I am not making those claims. Those claims are supported with little more than the waving of the hands. I wave my hands back at you, your assertion is demolished.

Come at me with back of the napkin numbers and I'll respond to them. Otherwise, we've got nothing more here than the waving of the hands.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 11:14 am

So I'm waving my hands and so are you, but somehow your hand waving has the effect of "demolishing"
Seems like a metaphor for how you view your intellect. At least we agree on that part: lots of effort and bluster but really no substance.

Posted by Greg on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

Is your wall of text some kind of metaphor for the 8 Washington project?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 9:22 am

From your keyboard to god's ears, Tim.

I look forward to giving San Franciscan's their say on this.

Posted by Greg on Jul. 20, 2012 @ 8:00 pm

So, if the voters approve this project can we expect that the SFBG will cease their incessant diatribe against any new development that isn't "affordable"? If so, it might be well worth it to have this on the ballot.

Posted by Guest666 on Jul. 21, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

You not really helping your cause when you put "affordable" in ironic quotes.

Give it the weight it deserves.

Posted by Guest777 on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 10:28 am

Since I don't define "affordable", nor presumably do you, then it is appropriate to use quotes. Now if I had said low income, then there would be no need to use quotes since that is more easily defined. However we live a very PC city that prefers to use the term "affordable" since low income might offend someone.

By definition, everything in SF is affordable provided someone is willing to pay the price asked. In general that has been the case and I don't think anyone is arguing as to whether there will be buyers for 8 Washington. Therefore, it is affordable but only to wealthier individuals.

Posted by Guest666 on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 11:31 am

No, "affordable" is collectively defined as median household income in San Francisco.

Just because you're deliberately obtuse doesn't mean everyone else needs to play in your sandbox for slow kids.

Posted by Guest888 on Jul. 25, 2012 @ 9:36 am

So the Telegraph Hill Dwellers and the Guardian got their wish - SF will now vote on an utterly inconsequential development on the northern Waterfront, which will inevitably be built in this incarnation or slightly scaled down version as "housing for the rich".

And, when all the votes are counted, this pointless initiative will go down to defeat. The super rich will outspend the merely rich, while the rest of the city yawns.

In the meantime, the unavoidable march of San Francisco's gentrification moves on, aided and abetted by anti-growth progressives.

Posted by Paul Noe Valley on Jul. 22, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

So "inconsequential" that one third of the city decided they wanted to vote on it.

Saying anti-growth causes gentrification is like saying penicillin causes syphilis.

And the repetitious nature of some of these comments from "Bill Nob Hill"
and "Fred West Portal" looks like a desperate attempt by some PR shill.

Putting "housing for the rich" in quotes gets you nowhere when it it's bleedingly obvious to everyone that it's, in point of fact, housing for the rich.

Posted by Jim Inner Richmond on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 10:40 am

there are only 90k people in SF?

You say 1/3rd of the city wants to vote on this - how do you come up with that number. Even with registered voters, that doesnt make any sense

Posted by Greg on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 11:15 am

Unfortunately Paul you may be correct. Until Citizens United is overturned practices like those described in the attached commentary will continue and we will all suffer, not just the traditionally disenfranchised.
These prophetic words ring truer than ever.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Jul. 23, 2012 @ 9:07 am

Half the $150,000 spent to pay signature gatherers came from one multimillionaire couple who don't want the view from their condo blocked by the new development. This development should have been settled through the Planning Commission and BOS. It is ridiculous that the city has to waste its time on this ballot measure.

Given that $11 million for affordable housing will be delayed or killed by this ballot measure, it is also absurd for folks to claim that this ballot measure is being done for the benefit of the common people.

Posted by Dan on Jul. 23, 2012 @ 10:11 am

Good to know everyone has their price.

Personally, I think $11 million in exchange for $400 million in developer profit is a poor trade, but that's just me.

I don't make a whole lot of money. I guess that means I can't side with rich people who also don't want tho royally screw San Franciscans out of their waterfront. Class lines, noted.

Posted by Orlando Chavez Jr. on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 10:44 am

I heard developer profits were actually closer to a billion dollars for this project.
When you take that information into account, 11 million is pretty small.

Posted by Bob on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 11:22 am

$400M in profits, $1B in profits? Where are you people getting your information? Even the SFBG has only used the $200M number and that is probably high.

Posted by Guest666 on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 11:38 am

We're getting our information from the 2 pound, 300-page petition we had to carry around for a month.

Maybe you should leaf through it, too.

Posted by D3 Dem on Jul. 25, 2012 @ 9:39 am

$11m at $400m construction cost per new unit = a whopping 27.5 units of BMR housing. At this rate, we'll solve the housing crisis through inclusionary long after the band has left the building.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 11:49 am

What is interesting about 8 Washington is that it took old school white people, those who are deemed to be "rich" "white" "homeowners" by the proglodytes to actually challenge the speculative capitalist developers.

Contrast this to the story of the Eastern Neighborhoods, where the "progressive" "leftist" "activists" who speak for "the people" folded like chairs, went down like $3 whores, when it came time to disastrously rezone the Mission for luxury condos as out of scale to our neighborhood as 8 Washington is to the northern waterfront.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 7:25 am

One critical contributing factor in the ongoing gentrification and displacement in certain neighborhoods is that the majority of the lighter complected, primarily male, so called leadership of the fractious 'progressive' movement were conspicuously MIA
and continue to be so.
Just my thruppence.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 8:40 am

Patrick, the leadership of color in the Mission, namely Eric Quezada, managed to achieve the organizers' nightmare by taking positions that had so little popular support because they declined to organize the people they claimed to speak for fearing that they would have other ideas, that they organized the entire community against them and got hosed.

These issues could have had popular support had the organizers trusted in the communities they speak for and take money for because they are kitchen table mainline liberal populist issues. But for whatever reason, they declined and our neighborhood is getting screwed under EN in ways unimaginable in the old zoning. What we're seeing now makes me pine for the era when our worst problem was illegal live/work lofts.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 8:57 am

If you walk down mission street and ask someone shopping in any of the bodegas, or eating in a taqueria if they have heard of Eric Quezada - what do you think their answer is.

The true people who live and work in the mission - who dont spend their lives obsessing over gentrification and who arent hipsters are not aware that Eric Quezada is their "leader"

Posted by Greg on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 9:52 am

You'd have thought that Quezada's 3d place showing in 2008 would have sent a message, but to the contrary, they just doubled down on stupid and blamed everyone else for their failings.

That said, I'd wager that most people on Mission Street would oppose EN style upzoning if they had a chance to hear all sides of the policy question. We don't know because SPUR, the HAC(k), Planning Department and the nonprofits never bothered to ask anyone.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 24, 2012 @ 10:20 am