On 8 Washington, it's No, No

Nice gated homes for the very very rich

The November ballot may contain not one but two measures addressing super-luxury condos on the waterfront. And that could pose a serious problem for the developer of the 8 Washington condominium project.

The Board of Supervisors approved that proposed 134-unit complex, which would be the most expensive condos ever built in San Francisco, in June, 2012, but immediately opponents gathered enough signatures to force a vote of the people. The referendum would overturn the increased height limits that developer Simon Snellgrove wants for the site.

That, it turns out, is a popular notion: “If Snellgrove is looking at the same polls we’re looking at, the public is not interested in raising building heights on the waterfront,” Jon Golinger, who is running the referendum campaign, told us.

So Snellgrove is now funding his own initiative -- a ballot measure that would essentially approve the entire project, allowing 136-foot buildings along the Embarcadero and giving the green light to start construction on housing for multimillionaires.

The paperwork for the initiative was set to be filed April 23, allowing Snellgrove’s team to begin collecting signatures. They’ll need more than 9,000 valid ones to make the November ballot -- and that’s not much of a threshold. If the developer funds the signature-gathering effort -- which he’s vowed to do -- he’ll almost certainly get enough people who are fooled by the fancy name of his campaign: “San Franciscans for Parks, Jobs, and Housing.”
That, presumably, suggests that there are San Franciscans who are against Parks, Jobs, and Housing, although we don’t know any of them. We just know people who think this particular project provides housing the city doesn’t need without paying nearly enough for affordable units.

At any rate, the campaign manager for this effort, according to the paperwork filed at the Department of Elections, is Derek Jensen, a 20-something communications consultant who was Treasurer of the Lee for Mayor Campaign. The address for the waterfront initiative is listed as 425 Market St, 16th floor --which, by the way, was the same address used by the Lee Campaign. And since it’s right near our office, we took a stroll over to see what the Snellgrove forces had to say.

Well, it turns out that 425 Market is a secure building, and the 26th floor is the law office of Hanson Bridgette, and you can’t get up there unless your name is already in the computer system, which ours was not. The security guard kindly called up to ask about the 8 Washington initiative, and was told there was nobody who could talk about it today, but to check back later.

The person who answered the phone at Hanson, Bridgette had never heard of Derek Jensen. Transferred to voicemail, we left a message for someone named “Lance.” Perhaps that would be Associate Counsel Arthur “Lance” Alarcon, Jr. He hadn’t called back at press time.

The campaign against 8 Washington, on the other hand, has an office at 15 Columbus. First floor. Walk right in the door. The campaign manager is Jon Golinger, who answers his own phone.

At any rate, we can’t figure out what Snellgrove is up to, since his plan makes zero political sense. The referendum needs a “no” vote to block the project. If voters don’t like increased height limits on the waterfront, they won’t like his initiative, either. And if all that this does is confuse the voters, they’ll tend to vote “no” on both measures. If anything, he’s only hurting himself.


We've been getting trickled down on for the past 30 years and are worse off as a result, covered in economic piss.

The fact that the hacks are out in force in support of this atrocity demonstrates to us that we're on the right track.

I hope you are enjoying the trickle up resistance.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 7:30 am

before Reagan when, essentially, you were either rich or poor.

Now ordinary workers become millionaires. That never happened in the 1960's.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 8:06 am

Yes, the building needing the height variance is set back a block from the waterfront and is across the street from a much taller rental building. That is the 'Wall on the Waterfront'.

Also, ironically, the picture that the SFBG uses to protest a 'gated community' is Jackson and Drumm. For the past 30 years or so there has been a 20-30 foot high ugly green fence on that spot, providing privacy and wind deterrence for the tennis players. With 8 Washington it would become a public resource.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 7:37 am

the only people whose views would be blocked are themselves wealthy or work in an office tower block.

I feel bad for the poor people who now may not get homes that would have been paid for by the 11 million the developer was donating for exactly that.

Still, as long as a few bankers get to play tennis . . .

Posted by Guest on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 8:09 am

Is that a democratic state capitalist sock puppet!? Quick, kill it before it spawns!

8 Washington will be stopped.

And if necessary, blood will be spilled.

Posted by Guest(fuckyou) on Apr. 29, 2013 @ 10:07 am

Simple - do not sell out the height restrictions on the waterfront for a relatively small amount of funding.

$11M is a nice chunk of change, but if you are supporting the ballot measure because of that, then you are being bought out. Once the height limits are raised, there is no turning back.

Would you allow filling 20 acres of the bay if the developer gave $11M to affordable housing?
Would you allow another 140 foot tall building on the waterfront for another $5M for affordable housing?

Where do you draw the line?

This is a bad precedence to set.

And on a related note, almost all of the advertising (18 of 21 paid ads in the Voter Information booklet) for this proposition is funded by San Franciscans for Parks, Jobs, and Housing. This is funded by the developers (Pacific Waterfront Partners, Cahill Contractors, and Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill).


Posted by Jeff on Nov. 05, 2013 @ 7:46 am