Plan C, and the C stands for Condo conversions


No politically savvy San Franciscan has ever really bought the rhetoric espoused by the so-called “moderate” political action group Plan C that it's all about finding middle ground between what its website calls “a 'downtown' machine, and a far-left, dogmatic, so-called 'progressive' machine.” As if that unbalanced labeling wasn't enough of a indicator, the fact that its funding comes from all the biggest cogs in the downtown machine should be.

But now, as the group's members aggressively work to open the flood gates on converting San Francisco's rent-controlled apartments into privately controlled condominiums, it's become more clear than ever that the C stands for Condo and that the financially motivated group is moving the agenda of the real-estate and investment interests that dominate its Board of Directors.

City Hall sources connected to the ongoing meetings that Sups. David Chiu and Mark Farrell have been holding with stakeholders on the controversial condo lottery bypass legislation sponsored by Farrell and Sup. Scott Wiener say there were indications of possible compromise that came out of the first mediation meeting.

That one primarily involved the tenant advocates who have led the charge against the legislation and the representatives for tenancy-in-common owners seeking to buy a bypass to the city's condo conversion lottery that only allows 200 new condos per year. There were whispers that came from that meeting of a compromise that would allow a one-time bypass in exchange for shutting down the lottery for several years, or indexing it to the construction of new housing for low-income San Franciscans.

Since then, the sources say, Plan C and their partners in the real-estate industry have dominated the meetings with their dogmatic advocacy for indefinitely allowing the maximum number of condo conversions. Despite public statements by Farrell and Wiener that they just want to clear out some backlog without encouraging more landlords to convert apartments to TICs in the future, Plan C just wants to feed more affordable apartments into the expensive real estate market.

Some basic research on the group and its Board of Directors seems to show that this position is about financial self-interest rather than values or ideology.

Plan C Co-Chair Steve Adams is a regional manager for Sterling Bank & Trust, which has consistently been one of the city's top TIC lenders and which recently sponsored a forum encouraging more conversion of apartments, promising to increase its loan volume, and painting a rosy picture of the TIC financing market that belies Wiener's claims that TIC owners can't get financial relief and need the city's intervention.

One of the key presenters at that symposium was TIC attorney Lyssa Paul, who is also a Plan C board member and someone who makes her living creating more TICs. Other members of the 12-member board who make their living in the real estate industry and benefit directly for TICs conversions are Amanda Jones and Brian Hecktman. Other bankers or investment managers on the board that benefit from the TIC business are Ashley Lyon and Bob Gain.

Co-Chair Mike Sullivan is a venture capital attorney who created Plan C in 2001 and used it to help then-Sup. Gavin Newsom sell his Care Not Cash homelessness plan and run for mayor. Randy Brasche is in software marketing and got involved in the issue being frustrated with the condo lottery and [[CORRECTION/DELETION: last year]] forming the San Francisco TIC Coalition.

Board member David Fix is [[CORRECTION/ADDITION: the former]] president of the Small Property Owners of San Francisco, so it's possible that his interest is as much ideological as financial, particularly given his past public statements against rent control. That may also be the case with Baha Hariri, a principal at A&F Properties and the former political director of the downtown-funded-and-created Committee on Jobs.

Among the downtown players that fund Plan C, which was sitting on $73,872 in the bank as of the start of this year, are the Committee on Jobs, the San Francisco Association of Realtors, PG&E, San Francisco Apartment Association, Small Property Owners of San Francisco, Shorenstein Realty, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and venture capitalist Ron Conway.

So Plan C appears to be little more than Plan A's deceptive effort to push Plan Condo. BTW, I've been waiting more than 24 hours now to get a call back from the Plan C board, after leaving a message with its only paid administrator, Richard Magary, who told me Sullivan and his colleagues are all quite busy now. But I'll be happy to update this post if and when I hear back.

2/22 UPDATE: Still no call back from Plan C, but Fix made a comment requesting the two minor corrections above. C'mon, Plan C, gimme a call, what are you so afraid of?


Paid off. Tens of millions more are amortizing their loans.

Exaggerate much?

Posted by anon on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

"One third of all US homes have no mortgage..."

The one third of home owners smart enough to resist losing their homes to reverse mortgage or second mortgage real estate scams?

Kind of like San Francisco....the one third of renters still left in the city who were smart enough to resist the lying real estate bar we find ourselves cursed with.

Isn't it unethical to advise your landlord client to make false claims about Ellising a building but it happens all the time. The only renters left are the smart one so deal with them while they shred your transparent deceptions.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

matter what the owner says. He has an unfettered right to exit the rental business.

In the long run, it is not in your interests to scrub together a subsistence life in a town you clearly cannot afford.

Posted by anon on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

The smart ones?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

"True, cago, but of course the opposition to condo's is all from
losers who never made an effort, took a risk, worked hard or saved."

HAHAHAHAHAH where have we heard that before??

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney said at a private fundraiser in Florida. "All right -- there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 8:31 pm

Your attitude about renters vs. gambling mortgage holders reflects the entitlement mentality of our ownership society. Government shelters them from their own choices and props up their failures. $8,000 tax credits. Forced loan mods. Radically suppressed interest rates that are bad for anyone who did not foolishly take on debt during the bubble.

All those costs are passed along to renters via higher taxes. So are the costs of Prop 13, the mirror image of rent control. (Income and sales taxes have nearly doubled since Prop 13 passed.) Both create housing stability or, in your words, allow "losers'' to live in places they couldn't afford at current market rates.

You go on and on about certain renters not being able to afford to live here. Well, if the TIC owners can't honor their original agreements, then neither can they. They are not winners compared to "loser renters.'' If you took a risk and then expect government to bail you out of the consequences, you are not a success. You are a wannabe handout recipient.

The primary difference between tenants and TIC owners, of course, is that renters cut deals and honored them. The TIC owners cut deals, but don't think they shouldn't have to live up to the contract. While rents, even under stabilization, will always go up, these TIC owners feel entitled to lower housing costs and higher capital appreciation. This is absurd.

If they wanted condos, they should have bought condos.

If they want government to give them condos worth six figures more than their original purchases, they should pay a lot more than $20,000. They should allow Prop 13 to be waived and reset their property taxes to represent the new market value they received from government intervention. They should agree to pay the same taxes on any capital gains that a worker would pay on comparable income, rather than accept the current $500,000 free pass on taxes for home sales.

Above all, they should never, ever look down on renters again. Over the last six years, the notion that homeowners are superior citizens has been exposed as a myth. The class has been polluted. Many of these people are nothing but deadbeat freeloaders.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

breaks to certain classes of people over other classes of people for a very good reason? And in fact a reason that we the voters have implicitly or explicitly approved by continuing to vote for them and keep them in office?

Yes, that's right, call us crazy but we would rather invest in people who buy homes, set up businesses, employ people, build families and take risks to invest than, say, those who take no risks, do not try and build anything but rather whine about wanting cheap rent forever.

Can you imagine why we, the people, might persistantly vote for that? Maybe take a lession in that along with how to edit writing?

Posted by anon on Feb. 23, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

renters and workers. The voters don't have a choice on those issues.

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 23, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

You could vote for the Greens, or the Socialist Party, or form your own party.

Don't blame others though -we are doing the same as you - voting for what we want.

Posted by anon on Feb. 23, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

I don't care what the reasons are for the tax breaks. They are handouts. They make homeownership a welfare state, not a free market. This sort of social engineering never works.

We have to stop bailing out the losers who took risks and didn't expect to deal with the consequences. They brought our economy to its knees. We have to start valuing productive people, regardless of whether they own property or not. Forcing hard workers who rent to subsidize property owners who gamble and then wait for government bailouts is poison for our culture.

Let that be a lession to you. :)

Posted by Guest Molly on Feb. 26, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

I don't understand why TIC owners feel compelled to misrepresent the nature of their investments.

They paid a higher interest rate in exchange for a lower cost property.

Now they want to convert to increase the value of their property by 20% and perhaps an extra 10% on lower interest.

This amounts to hundreds of percent return on their downpayment and equity.

That is the scam. That our board of supervisors, with its first Asian president, and our first Asian mayor, a former housing activist attorney, would tolerate this does not bode well at all for the future of San Francisco, because I tell you what, the other side's plan C stands for "cracking down on hacking" and it isn't going to be pretty....

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

"That our board of supervisors, with its first Asian president, and our first Asian mayor, a former housing activist attorney, would tolerate this does not bode well at all for the future of San Francisco,"

Overall I agree with you, but I think it's time to lay to rest this outdated thinking about: The "first" this and the "first" that (referencing your comment about "first Asian board president" and "first Asian mayor"). If only it meant something! It has come to mean nothing, not that it ever did. People are people regardless of ethnicity. One should expect hypocrisy from politicians. I do. They do whatever is in their best intere$t, regardless of their ethnicity. Many people do complete 180s as far as the "ideals" they espouse and what they actually do. And that list is too long to name here.

International Troll Society Member #12360969212

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 8:58 pm

to blacks and hispanics. Asians are a threat to white liberals; blacks abd hispnaics, not so much.

Posted by anon on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 9:00 am

isn't exactly like you or who doesn't share your financially based value system.

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 10:11 am

compassion for those who lack the skills to build wealth and success. Except in those cases where they react to that by engaging in class warfare.

Posted by anon on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 11:07 am

Try They need new contributors.

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 23, 2013 @ 8:38 am

We're just talkin', right?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2013 @ 9:01 am

I think all it will take to be loading thousands of Republican Chinese into desert labor camps is a naval incident in the South China Sea, which we be working on starting Feb. 25 I would imagine.

I will not be displaced from SF even if it takes a N. Korean missile.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

"The liberal left hates Asians"

'Asians' hate whites and want to drive them out of the city by eliminating rent control.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

Yes, Asians work hard and build wealth. White liberals do hate that, but not as much as blacks and hispanics hate the "model minority".

They hate Asians because those Asians won't hate whites.

Posted by anon on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

"Stereotype much there, "Guest"?"

Now I'm confused because you seem to accuse me of stereotypes using three stereotypes of your own in support?

-Asians work hard and build wealth.-

- White liberals do hate that -

-not as much as blacks and hispanics hate the "model minority". -

This is hilarious...."Hong Kongers have a general perception of Mainland Chinese as being callous, uneducated, ill-mannered, materialistic, gold-digging parasites..."

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

He's the one who started spreading "yellow peril" rumors.

Posted by anon on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

Thank you for the update on this.

All of these pleb amateur imposter remedial trolls on here. They're disgusting with their old, tattered, outdated, draconian, and Victorian scripts.

We want this city to be a city of mainly renters and not loser homeowners. And I can't begin to count the number of hypocritical homeowners who were once for rent control (when they were a tenant/renter). But as soon as they became an elitist homeowner, they stopped supporting rent control because they are no longer a renter. Hypocrites. They only want rent control when they are a renter.

How many parking places are lost because of the bourgeois elite garages with them having their own parking places, especially the two-vehicle garages?

International Troll Society Member #12360969212

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 7:24 pm

They were built when the homes were built - what's your idea on what should happen to them?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

I cannot decide whether you sound more angry than miserable, or the other way about.

Posted by anon on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 9:01 am

It is funny that the people saying they are speaking for the poor TIC owners are people who are profiting off them, the Plan C board. Thanks for giving us their real background. So basically realtors think more condos are a good idea, big surprise. Too bad Condos are bad for the rest of us who live and work in SF.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 7:37 pm

I was born and raised in SF. Our family moved away when I was young and many years later I moved back. I couldn't afford a house but I could afford a condo. I promptly got elected to HOA president, and in my 2+ yrs tenure, I have started a neighborhood watch program that incorporates several condo buildings in our area. We have pushed the drug dealers out of our neighborhood and succeeded in having many of them put in jail. Our building is well maintained, and has just recently opened a cafe downstairs. It has gentrified the area and helped brighten up what was previously looked down upon as crappy. My husband works in the city, so he can walk or bike. I'm not sure what's "bad" for SF with all we do that is both civic-minded and eco-friendly. Too bad you look down on us condo dwellers as pond scum, because you're rich enough to afford a house. That's the trouble with people....always looking down on those who don't measure up to their standards. I'm gonna take a wild guess and say you live in either the Marina, Pac Hts or Nob Hill. Lucky you.

Posted by SFAnnie on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 8:46 am

makes you the anti-christ in these circlesm and renders you persona non grata in progressive circles.

You see, to be a progressive, it's really important that you do not succeed in any field of endeavor, to retain your "loser cred".

Posted by anon on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 9:03 am

We don't have a problem with condos, and developers are right now building thousands of units of shiny new condos for you to buy. Great, have at 'em, good luck. What we object to is converting the rent-controlled apartments that the majority of city residents rely into condos. Build and buy your own condos, leave our apartments alone, and we'll all live in harmony.

Posted by steven on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 10:48 am

Homes for owners, over there. Homes for renters, over here.

How quaint.

Posted by anon on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 12:17 pm

"Our" apartments?

The problem is that many of the actual owners don't want to participate in the current rental business system.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

The actual owners do have a right to get out of the rental business, thanks to the Ellis Act, but they don't have the right to turn those apartments into condos and sell them off, which is subject to the condo lottery and whatever local control San Francisco sees fit to impose. That's what this fight it about: will San Francisco protect its rental stock or will we open it up to real estate interests?

Posted by steven on Feb. 25, 2013 @ 10:53 am

condo convert anyway. So that cannot be "what this fight is about".

The TIC's in question have not been Ellis'ed and most if not all of the occupants are owners. So it's a non-issue for rentals.

In fact, a unit is MORE likely to be re-rented if it is a condo. Only a fool would re-rent a TIC because rent control would still apply.

Posted by anon on Feb. 25, 2013 @ 11:11 am

Single family homes as well?





Posted by anon on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 9:04 am

It is a false negotiation when one side manufactures a crisis and then offers to negotiate a compromise.

That is why it is so insulting for anyone to suggest we should negotiate with scam artists.

You need a good faith partner to negotiate and I don't even think Plan C would call themselves that.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 8:06 pm

You'd rather have 100% victory all the time?

Hint: do not take up a career in politics

Posted by anon on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 9:04 am

anon has this list committed to memory.

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

and that goes for the extremists of the right too.

Indeed, one can fairly reasonably define an extremist as one who will not compromize even if, by failing to do so, the result is even worse.

Posted by anon on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

Also...that septic "anon" is not fooling anyone.

"compromise" = Give the conservatives/right-wing what they want to temporarily stop them from whining (like giving a baby a pacifier). That's what so-called "compromise" means and amounts to when they use the term.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 8:37 pm
Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

No, it is giving the junkie more heroin.

The junkie always promises that this will be the last time, that they will never need more junk.

But they always do. Junkies always come back begging, borrowing and stealing for more.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

want exactly the same thing is not very persuasive.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2013 @ 8:10 am

then rents would never go up, evictions would never happen and taxes would be sky-high.

Luckily the voters won't let you.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2013 @ 8:11 am

Lots of people think the real problem is a flood of money coming in from China.

You don't suppose it was because they hacked into competitors computers?

Bridge Comes to San Francisco With a Made-in-China Label

"...California decided not to apply for federal funding for the project because the “Buy America” provisos would probably have required purchasing more expensive steel and fabrication from United States manufacturers.

China, the world’s biggest steel maker, was the front-runner, particularly because it has dominated bridge building for the last decade."

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

Nice work by the author of this!

Posted by on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 3:03 am

"Plan C Co-Chair Steve Adams is a regional manager for Sterling Bank & Trust, which has consistently been one of the city's top TIC lenders and which recently sponsored a forum encouraging more conversion of apartments, promising to increase its loan volume, and painting a rosy picture of market market that belies Wiener's claims that TIC owners can't get financial relief and need the city's intervention."

Steve Adams is the co-chair? Ugh. I know that name, unfortunately. Steve Adams is the former president of that...oh I can't even bring myself to type it...that ugh...Merchants of Upper Market and Castro. Phew! Yes, I remember all the shit that happened under him. A piece of work. And the new president is of course continuing the same agenda.

Why do so many bad people get in positions of power and then get on a power trip?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 3:24 am

As usual, the information here is wrong. Get your facts straight. I have not been president of SPOSF for 5 years!! Randy Brasche did not form the TIC coalition last year, it was 7-8 years ago, and the organization no longer exists. The rest of your "facts" are just as suspect.

Posted by Guest David on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 1:33 pm
Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

I'll be happy to correct those small errors, David. Why have you and your fellow board members been unwilling to call me back? I'm sure that I and my readers would benefit from your input.

Posted by steven on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

Or you shall undergo the fate of Christina Olague. Return his calls or else.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 22, 2013 @ 2:56 pm