David Campos Introduces Proposal to Make Mission Housing Even More Expensive, Homeowners and Landlords Even More Wealthy


As you probably know, Bernal neighbor David Campos represents District 9 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Yesterday, he introduced a proposed ordinance that would deliver a windfall to Mission District homeowners and provide new incentives for Mission District landlords to evict existing tenants.

Supervisor Campos calls his proposal a “Temporary Moratorium on Market Rate Development,” and he says it is intended to halt displacement and maintain diversity in the Mission. In reality, it will almost certainly do the opposite. The San Francisco Business Times broke the story about the Campos proposal:

Voters will be asked in November whether to halt market-rate housing construction in the Mission District if neighborhood activists have their way, the Business Times has learned.

Edwin Lindo of the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club said Monday that a coalition of affordable housing and progressive groups soon will submit a potential ballot measure to the city attorney that would delay market-rate housing projects in the Mission for up to 18 months.

They would then attempt to collect the roughly 9,400 signatures needed to qualify the measure for the ballot.

A draft of the ballot measure, obtained through a public records request by a neighborhood activist, showed that the moratorium would apply to projects larger than 20 units. The moratorium would apply to the entire neighborhood, not just the 24th Street area on the south side of the neighborhood considered a Latino cultural district, as had been previously floated by Supervisor David Campos.

“Our goal is not to stop all development. Our goal is to stop incredibly large development that focus exclusively on market-rate housing,” Lindo said. “We need a pause to ensure that if developers are going to build in our city they’re going to figure out a way to build affordable housing, even if that could be cutting into their 15 to 20 percent profit margins.”

Many economists, urban policy groups like SPUR, and policymakers like Mayor Ed Lee and Scott Wiener have all said this kind of strategy will exacerbate the neighborhood’s problems. With a shriveling pool public dollars available to build affordable housing, the city has looked toward more market-rate development to pay for housing for low-income residents through inclusionary laws and fees.

The SF Chronicle adds the measure “would implement a 45-day moratorium on planning approvals, demolitions and building permits for multifamily residential developments in a 1½-square-mile area. It could be extended for up to two years under state law.”


You don’t have to be an economist, or an urban policy wonk, or or a government policymaker to envision why this proposal from Supervisor Campos and progressive allies will put lots and lots of money in the pockets of existing Mission District property-owners. All you have to do is take a moment to consider this graph:


The housing gap graph (which comes from this video) shows that San Francisco’s population has been growing steadily for several decades, but our supply of housing has failed to keep pace. The housing deficit has grown more extreme with each passing year, which has made housing more expensive for San Franciscans at all income levels, across the board. This effect is called supply and demand, and supply and demand is sort of like the law of gravity, in that even if you don’t much like it, you still can’t realistically hope escape it.

The local economy is booming and San Francisco’s population is growing rapidly, so the only real way to make housing more affordable for everyone is to increase the overall supply. That’s a slow and imperfect process, to be sure, but if your goal is to reduce displacement, stabilize prices, and create opportunities for all San Franciscans across the board, there’s really no viable alternative. Building more affordable housing is something we absolutely must do, but increasing the overall housing supply and increasing the amount of affordable housing is not an either/or proposition. Indeed, by law market-rate housing development actually provides substantial funding for the creation of more affordable housing.

Supervisor Campos’s moratorium offer no proposals to provide additional funding for affordable housing, nor does it propose a way to offset the affordable housing funds that will be lost by blocking the construction of market rate housing. And he has had nothing to say about accelerating construction of affordable housing projects that are already on the table, like the proposed building at Cesar Chavez and Shotwell that your Bernalwood editor is eager to look out upon.

Supervisor Campos and his NIMBY allies say the goal is to reduce evictions and displacement, but that doesn’t hold much water either. Their opposition to new housing development has been fierce — even when absolutely no one would be displaced by the construction, and even when projects contain a substantial number of affordable housing units. In March, for example, activists shouted down a proposal to build 291 units of market-rate housing with an additional 41 units reserved for middle-class buyers on the squalid site next to the 16th Street BART station that is today occupied by a chain drug store and a Burger King. Last month, many of the same activists disrupted a proposal to build 115 units of market-rate housing on the site of a semi-abandoned warehouse at 2675 Folsom near 23rd Street.

There is one surefire way to make housing in The Mission even more expensive: In a transit-rich location with two BART stations, several arterial MUNI lines, and excellent freeway access, where demand for housing already vastly exceeds supply, blocking the creation of new housing will only make existing housing even more precious. And that is what Supervisor Campos proposes to do.

So if the moratorium makes no logical sense and is unlikely to do much to address the housing affordability crisis, what purpose does it hope to serve? On the 48 Hills site, Bernal neighbor Tim Redmond described the scene yesterday as Campos announced his plan:

The existing zoning, under the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, “has failed the Mission,” [Campos] said, pointing out that 8,000 Latino residents have been lost in the past decade. The population of the Mission was 52 percent Latino a decade ago; now it’s down to 40 percent.

That tribal logic may be the most candid explanation Campos has yet provided. The proposed moratorium mirrors Calle24’s effort to create a legally-protected Latino enclave along 24th Street, but it seeks to extend privileged incumbent status to an area that includes almost all of the Mission District. Progressive power brokers may have a weak understanding of housing economics, but they sure know how to rewrite the rules to protect their turf.

It may be true that San Francisco can’t really build its way out of the current housing crisis. But it’s definitely true that we can’t not-build our way out of it either. As San Francisco adds thousands of new residents each year, every delay and every postponed project means housing gets even more expensive as competition intensifies for whatever housing already exists.

That’s a miserable state of affairs longtime renters, new residents, and would-be home-buyers alike. But if you already own property in the Mission (or North Bernal, for that matter), the moratorium proposed by David Campos and progressive activists will have you laughing all the way to the bank.

PHOTO: David Campos, via 48 Hills

232 thoughts on “David Campos Introduces Proposal to Make Mission Housing Even More Expensive, Homeowners and Landlords Even More Wealthy

  1. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever read a more one-sided analysis!

    I’m sure the invisible hand of the market will fix everything according to you.

    Are you an Ayn Rand fan or what?

      • Stardust, if you’re trying to figure out Todd’s motivation for such a reactive, biased, and blind analysis, you have to understand that he is still emotionally wounded from Campos’ “guerrilla” tactics, when Campos “annexed” Precita Park into Calle24, and Todd saw his “tribe’s” “turf” encroached on.

      • I literally cannot handle the disingenuousness of calling everyone “neighbor” including our district supervisor before proceeding to engage in enflamed disrespect of not only him but the aims of a broad coalition of Latino long time residents and neighborhood activists. While trying to paint everything over with some liberal colorblind whitewash of neighborliness.

        This article is reactive and disrespectful. Supply and demand is not like the law of gravity. Just like there’s no luxury housing “trickle down” benefit to former residents now living in Vallejo. What Campos and advocates are pushing for is development for people instead of profit. It’s actually just a different converation than the blunt housing production=good blockages to rapid housing production=bad discourse that you are committed to.

      • Well said Adele . “…there’s no luxury housing “trickle down” benefit to former residents now living in Vallejo.”

      • “What Campos and advocates are pushing for is development for people instead of profit. ”

        But … WHAT DEVELOPMENT FOR PEOPLE? He’s trying to stop the building of new market rate housing. That market rate housing also produces a small amount of subsidized housing, due to SF’s mandates. Beyond that, close to nothing is getting built.

        What do we get from this moratorium other than a loss of that extra BMR housing? Campos certainly hasn’t presented any plan for new non-market-rate housing that would make up for it. Why should we believe any is forthcoming?

      • Hmm, thinking small (moratoriums on building, accepting the current capital versus what labor (lower income labor)) can afford market paradigm) does leave us in a pickle. Those being squeezed out of town WILL side with Campos. Those complacent–however empathetic with human misery–WILL defer to the conventional Labor-Capital paradigm’s answer of, “We’ve got to build what the market wants.”

        Think big? Like not Binary. Binary economics contemplates Labor-Capital. Non binary thinking contemplates Land-Labor-Capital. That type of thinking recognizes that the material universe (the gps coordinates of “location, location, location”) is not human made but simply exists, and recognizes that land values are generated by the existence of community . . . and therefore belong to community.

        Thinking in that way opens up a butt load of possibilities. Socialized land rents could, in addition to funding schools, streets and the police-fire dept sorts of infrastructure, such a tax revenue could subsidize lower income residents’ cost of land values (usually but inaccurately called cost of housing) if the electorate desires that. Thinking in a trinitarian (non binary) way ends land speculation while at the same time enabling celebrating capital development by reducing taxes on both building materials and the range of labor involved in construction.

        In a binary world the political world is predictably “us vs them.” In a trinitarian world the political world is no longer funded by the economic rent derived from mere land ownership.

        Give me a holler if thinking big is worth, perhaps, the rest of your life being devoted to.

      • Adele Laws of Supply and Demand isnt as secure as gravity but it comes close.
        What assuredly does NOT work is trying to curb supply and demand. This fails , horrible and unseen ways, it fails and usually is a waste of money and at times worsens its cause.

        To those with knee jerk reactions, Id suggest taking a class and going back to school.
        It is actually that simple (with a high demand) the less housing there , the higher the price and rent.
        Consider the alternative — unless run down locations are rebuilt, the price will remain up. Do you honestly thinks magic housing rental dust will be sprinkled and the city will raise money to buy housing for you? You like that idea, then move to Cuba – see how that works for you. Oh wait, even CUBA is getting tired of that failure of policy – so that might not last that long.

    • It seems like a very reasoned analysis to me. I notice you don’t offer anything by way of an alternative.

      • Right?! I wish they would have at least tried, because every-time I try to have this discussion with folks who are against more housing in the Mission, they haven’t really offered a good reason why.

    • Because what’s the other side? Anyone’s who has taken an econ class can figure out supply and demand. I haven’t seen a single, well researched piece from the other side how blocking housing development will help anyone but landlords & homeowners.

      Even in his own comment about wanting more affordable housing, which is a fine point, still seems incredible short sighted. Just like the author said:

      “As San Francisco adds thousands of new residents each year, every delay and every postponed project means housing gets even more expensive as economic competition intensifies for housing that already exists.”

      So cool, he’ll add what…. 100 more BMR units at the cost of how many other people getting pushed out because the existing market tightens? It just doesn’t add up.

      • Why limit the production of housing to only 100 new affordable units? Sure, it looks like things won’t work if one assumes “facts” that make them not work.

      • It’s not an unfounded assumption that the number of affordable units built during this moratorium will be small. The reality is that most BMR units built in the Mission today are a byproduct of the same developments that Campos is trying to stop. They’re just isn’t much development of any other kind, nor are there any other entities presenting both cash and the will to build right now.

        Give us a reason to believe it will be different, if you want to sell this moratorium as anything other than a tantrum.

      • The moratorium not only would provide an opportunity to build affordable housing during the period of the moratorium, but would also provide leverage to increase the regulation about the proportion of affordable units produced in market-rate housing once the moratorium ends. With no moratorium, there’s no leverage, and the invisible boot of the market is kicking long-term residents of San Francisco out onto the street.

      • “The moratorium not only would provide an opportunity to build affordable housing”

        And build it with what, exactly? The imaginary funds from the nonexistent construction projects?

        Advocates keep referring to some kind of “time out” period. It’s meaningless. There’s nothing stopping the city from building more housing development right now, even as condos go up elsewhere. There’s also nothing stopping the city from finding ways to collect more revenue from development to do this right now. You don’t need to stop other people’s construction to do that; you just pass laws and approve public projects. Killing new construction is just ending the flow of money to the city.

      • Stardust, that link takes us to a site that is a caricature of class warfare. Mostly though, it just makes the same argument that calmer heads have been saying all along: When demand has radically outstripped supply, the higher end of the market will be supplied first (because they have the money to afford the ridiculously hight rents). Only, instead of arguing for more housing, the article in your link argues for getting rid of wealthy people.

        Try this one instead. this comes from an architect and urban planning geek who lives here in town, and it is the most balanced compendium of current SF housing data and policy ideas I’ve found yet. Just published: http://markasaurus.com/2015/05/07/housing-in-san-francisco-on-moratoriums-and-shortages/

      • The Truthout article you link to is warmed-over thinking. The thesis is that “supply and demand” doesn’t apply in SF; yet the article spends the first two thirds discussing why demand is so high (duh) and supply is so low and can’t be increased by any means other than public finance and further regulation including seizing vacant rental units by imminent domain!!


        The authors then dump a laundry list of acronym-ready programs, partnerships, initiatives and bond floats NONE OF WHICH could possibly occur soon enough to make a difference to anyone on the edge…

        Interestingly, the situation is evolving so fast that old-school thinkers probably won’t get much of a chance to influence the situation anyway. Too slow…

    • Wow!

      This is the best analysis I’ve seen yet of the housing crisis in San Francisco.

      Thank you.

      p.s. I think the absolute numbers on population change and housing production are more telling then the chart: 165,000 more people and 60,000 more housing units.

    • Bless you Stardust for continuing to fight the good fight. Just sharing news of a rare victory. Although I doubt that many Bernalwood commenters care, these people exemplify the victims of the lack of affordable housing. They may be the handyperson who makes repairs in your home, or your child’s teacher, the person who checks you out at Safeway, or even your nanny. http://www.beyondchron.org/ellis-eviction-by-google-attorney-stopped/

      • BernalBarb, nothing personal, but you are demonstrating a depressing fact of human nature.

        (IMHO) Bernalwood, and others here, are trying to offer an alternate way of doing things, because the old ways aren’t working. They also want to maintain/increase affordability, diversity, etc.

        But because they offer a different way of acheiving that goal, you imply that they don’t care, are heartless, are libertarians, are monsters…

        That mindset is so debilitating. And so pervasive.

      • Stardust and BernalBarb: Thank you for trying. This seems like a fairly hopeless place to engage in discussion if you want to bring in perspectives from any source the editor has already tagged red. The article Todd Lappin deems “balanced”– the stuff produced by “calmer heads” I suppose — is from a specialist in infill housing whose only outside reference to the Campos proposal is, ta da!, Todd Lapin’s article in Bernalwood.
        Anyway, it’s pretty clear that the only analysis Todd Lappin deems balanced is the one spouting the same old neoliberal fare.

      • “Neo-liberal” ? I don’t get it.

        I’m puzzled by the hostility towards those who clearly state that–generally speaking–they have the same “goal” as those who support the moratorium. Is it really that difficult to accept that someone might have the same goal as yourself, but believe that your means of reaching that goal are detrimental?

    • SF Controller Shows “Supply & Demand” Does Not Work in the San Francisco Housing Market:

      Click to access SF_Controller_Shows_Supply_and_Demand_Does_Not_Work-2.pdf

      “an increase in production from one quarter to the next, as measured in new building permits issued, is accompanied by an increase in average price, as measured by the average Zillow condo value. In 41 of the 65 quarters (63%) covered, housing production increased over the previous quarter, yet in 44 of the quarters measured ( 68% of the total quarters measured) condo prices increased”

      • Stardust, all that tells us is that in a situation of sustained under-creation of new housing, developers try to satisfy high-end demand first. Not surprising, since the high-end is where the returns will be greatest. During the period shown in the graph, population growth continued to outpace new housing creation, so the housing shortage continued even though some new housing was indeed created. If you are trying to suggest that supply and demand theory has failed, this just proves the opposite: We have never come close to meeting demand with adequate supply, so new home creation has focused on the most lucrative segment of the market. Exactly as one would expect.

        Here is some data, also from Zillow, which shows how this works.

  2. I’m not advocating for Campos’s moratorium, but you can never, ever, ever, create enough supply in the Mission to meet demand. More units will not lower prices—there are too many people with money who want to live/invest there. But the supply/demand argument gets used so casually by interested parties (developers, real estate folks, Mayor Lee) that good-hearted people start to believe and use it too.

      • Hey, don’t encourage them. – they might try to put that in a ballot measure too.

      • I suggest we try for solutions that are achievable. But if the problem is that well off people need more million dollar purchase options then building more units is an answer for sure

    • We’ve dug such a deep hole from not producing enough housing over the last 40 years under our progressive policies that we would indeed have to build a shit load of housing to catch up & lower rents and prices.

      The housing crises is a crises of our own making by not producing enough housing.

      We can absolutely moderate/stabilize prices by producing what we should now.

      There is volumous data supporting this that will be published before the moritorium goes to a vote.

    • There is also the obvious, unchangeable constraint of geography.

      COULD San Francisco build enough housing to meet demand? Yes. (Let’s stop thinking we are anything like New York, where the demand is pretty close to infinite.)

      But would our development-averse populace ever allow the type and number of buildings it would take to meet demand?


  3. Hello, Bernalwood! We want to say good morning as we read you faithfully tho we dont write much, these days. Art is alive and well! Come and visit us! Toby and Joe
    ps Our D. Campos, longing for our votes on Cortland Ave at the Festas for so many years….what happened to him? We have some questions for him, not just about the Moratorium….but also about
    our rights to be an airbnb Host and rent our little Garden Cottage to a darling vacation traveler, once in a while…to help us pay for our $450 PG& E bills and our new sewer pipe $4000 and our new sections of our roof $16,000 and so forth! Love your Blog!

    • It’s true that we homeowners have to struggle also to keep afloat in this austerity economy forced upon us by the big corporations and the 1% of the 1%.

      But why not rent your little Garden Cottage to a full-time resident of San Francisco and help alleviate the housing crisis that’s pushing your fellow long-term City dwellers out of their homes?

      If you’re paying $450 PG&E bills, perhaps it’s time to look at a little energy conservation? You may qualify also for tax credits if replacing energy-wasteful appliances or improvements with new energy-conserving windows, etc.

      I wish you all the best in financing the sewer pipe (I had to deal with that one too) and the roof… ouch!

      • We couldnt rent our little Cottage to a full time resident as you come thru our front door and our kitchen to go down to our garden. Our little Cottage is for our Daughter who visits and for us and our loved ones and not for a tenant. We are not taking any rental unit away from a full time resident as we would never rent constantly our little Cottage. It is inside our Home. Listen, Stardust, find me a Solar Plan that isnt expensive and we will go Solar. I know all about energy conservation. We have reasons for a large PG& E Bill. We heat a large studio full of paper that isnt supposed to curl. We have doors and windows that all need to be changed.Our House is 104 years old!
        I like the new energy conserving windows too and the Solar Plans, come on over and bring your checkbook! Thanks for all your kind concern!

    • Under Campos’ new law you would be able to rent your cottage to people more than ‘once in a while.’ It simply puts a cap on 75 days, which seems like a pretty reasonable balance to allow people to rent out their homes but also not deplete housing stock.

      • You dont get it: Toby has given you a perfect example of how “well-intended” government intrusion often has terrible side effects. Her cottage CAN’T be a rental, and therefore doesn’t deplete any housing stock.

        Just because YOU think 75 days is “reasonable” doesn’t make it so.

      • Who decides what’s “pretty reasonable”? Seriously, how absurd. The law will get demolished in the courts.

      • Really? So you are saying that the cottage cant be rented to 1 tenant who was vetted to be a good fit because their presence would be invasive. On the other hand, what is being said is that it is less invasive for complete strangers to come through the house, people who rented it on the internet, and that it needs to be done more than 75 times per year.

        Sorry. That is the perfect example of how AirBnB is killing the housing stock, not how “well intended” govt intrusion.

      • After a parade of shitty, entitled tenants enabled by an out-of-control regulatory system, I have resolved to never rent my inlaw to another long term tenant. Thank you. AirBnB!

      • By the way: our Guests in our Cottage do not use our kitchen as it is small and private.Kitchen priviledges are not included, nor are pets, nor is smoking. Our Home is our Castle. I think, after living in SF since 1966 and going through so many elected officials, i.e. Moscone and Feinstein and Brown etc (remember Nancy Walker??) and after teaching College for 29 + years here in the City and then teaching as Graduate Prof. at Golden Gate in one of their Departments, I guess I ought to be able to decide how many days I want to greet a little Chinese Mother w her baby boy…(who is afraid of hotel coldness) or a sweet techie who wants to find an Angel for a dream he has for a start up)! 75 days is not a good number to Cap airbnb Hosts for HomeOwners who live in their Homes and always are on premises to Host the Vacation Travelers from start to finish of their journey to San Francisco.

      • Ahhh yes. But who is more important to the process? You, who have actual experience that contradicts the prevailing stereotype and demonstrates that the proposed legislation is flawed?

        Or the strident, loud and overly self-confident activists who know what is best for everyone, what limits we should all abide by, what is good, what is bad… because, well, they just care so much more than the rest of us, and aren’t at all like the other types of people (cultists, dictators, warlords, the taliban, evangelical christians, bicyclists…) who devote their lives to telling other people how to live?


      • @takebackgreen

        I am a loud overconfident activist who doesn´t care about anyone, hu? Im actually just a guy who grew up in bernal who can´t afford to live here anymore because the city is completely unafordable (currently living in anothre country so excuse the typos on the keyboard). It is you guys and Todd who try to make anyone who dissagrees with them (ie. campos in this case) out to be some kind of rigid ideolgoues instead of human beings.

      • I don’t know if you are loud, etc. or not. I don’t believe I named any names. Are you open to the possibility that your ideas aren’t uniquely moral or perfect? Are you able to consider the opinions of others and acknowledge their right to hold them? If so, I wasn’t speaking to you. 🙂

        I, for one, freely admit that I don’t know the solution to this very troubling situation. I do feel smart enough to know when a proposed solution is likely to do more harm than good. I also never consider my views to be set in stone. It is almost always the case that someone will bring up a factor I hadn’t thought of, as Toby did for the sponsors of the AirBnB legislation…

        Btw, I know Toby and her husband, Joe. They are two of the kindest, liveliest, most interesting people you’ll ever meet. They are perfect examples of how legislation can hurt innocent bystanders.

      • Reconciling the legitimate concerns of those of lesser wealth but who are truly denizens of SF with the market place for location (called “economic rent” by economists) is a puzzle. Below, copied from elsewhere, is my take. It offers some premises in moral and economic terms, then derives public policy proposals from those premises. I stand by working from principles rather than resorting to ad hoc mitigations. Still, in the short term, what is there for our renting neighbors to do but resist by all non violent means possible their displacement? Occupy Bernal accomplished a good deal of good in safeguarding otherwise predatory mortgage fraught neighbors, but Occupy generated no long term program for systemically changing the terms of occupancy. I believe what I paste below does constitute a credible solution to the housing crisis in SF and the region as a whole.

        Another essay of mine is the 7th comment from the top of the Comment section, but I rework it below –in the very last paragraph– for ease of access. It’s plain spoken political economy. In between I supply my opinion about Lappin’s article itself and all the comments.

        I am well aware it sounds like crazy talk at first, but my point is that without going to first principles whatever we do is crazy talk anyway. Every attempt to mitigate (by the do-gooders) hard times results in a host of other problems arising due to the mitigations (such as a moratorium on housing leading to scarcer housing and thus higher rents due to non-provision of new housing), yet what choice do those in duress have but to put up road-blocks to the seeming market? In the same position of duress it is predictable that we would do the same.

        And on the other side, every attempt to carry on with the seeming market does result in a purge of the poor from desirable (rising rent) neighborhoods. It is predictable that those who see that the unintended consequences of fudging with the market are at least as hurtful to the poor, in the long run, will vote for the market.

        The “out of the box” thinking I introduce recognizes that land values will rise over time, and that these rising rents are a response to the market which is as unideological as is evolution of species as species respond to changes in the circumstances of life. The Big Bang of what I propose, however, is to recognize that land values (location, location, location values) are community generated and thus belong to the community . . . that’s a conservative (in the truest, non-ideological meaning of that word) position. So, I propose that we socialize the market rent of land AND simultaneously remove taxes on work (business and earned income taxes AND THE INDIRECT TAX ON WORK called sales tax). We should remove taxes on work for the same conservative reason we should socialize land values: the maker of value should keep that value. Community’s existence generates land values; the individual (or association of individuals such as corporations and non-profits) making of goods and services entitles the creator to the value of that which is made.

        The practical result of taxing the market rent of land values as the primary source of public revenue is that it simultaneously 1) kills land speculation, 2) reduces the margin of production, thus resulting in a general raising of earned income, and 3) eliminates income merely from ownership of the material universe, which is tantamount to share-cropping, itself a species of feudal kingship. Startling to say, but private ownership of THE VALUE OF LAND (I don’t question or challenge private ownership of land, but do challenge the private ownership of land value) is ANTI-American to the extent that being American means having an equal right to use of the earth free from the share-cropping dunnage of the nobility.

        Lost very early in the American hurrah of Freedom was the recognition that what made the king in name the king in effect, was and always is the king’s claim to be the sovereign over the land, and to upon that ground demand tax fealty. The accurate equation is “Community = land values.” The generally accepted but fallacious equation is “Privately held land values = a portion of the earned income of those who use the land titled to others.” By asserting the accurate equation a society gets the following equation “Goods and services values EXCHANGED for Goods and services values.”
        In contrast, following the fallacious equation a society gets the following equation “Access to the material universe (location, location, location) in EXCHANGE for Goods and Services values.”

      • Your critical thinking seems to be disengaged. You take data points that are outliers and treat them as significant…

        Media Studies 101

    • Toby, after googling you, I actually recognized you and think that my mom who is also an artist in Bernal is friendly with you and your husband. Your place on Airbnb looks nice and renting the place out at 125/night + $60 cleaning fee is surely a boon to your income, especially as it appears that you guys are booked all month. My folks are getting older and have considered renting out their house for short periods of time on Airbnb (while crashing at our neighbors) to supplement their income as well, so I feel like I understand where you are coming from. I also know that if you have lived in Bernal for a long time, you got your house for a relative steal and pay almost no property taxes (my monthly rent is more than my parents yearly property tax).

      With that said, while your situation may not be highly conducive to having a longterm tenants, it is really quite unique. Today a report was published by the Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office showing that airbnb is responsible for taking away at least 2,000 units that would otherwise be put on the rental markert. In the mission, vacant housing being turned into mini tourist hotels are representative of 29 to 40 percent of all vacant housing in the Mission. In the Haight it is 32 percent. Very few of these units are places without a kitchen.

      I guess I would ask, do you see this as a problem? I see your situation as more of a red haring or an exception to the rule. That is unfortunate, but perhaps advocating to make an exemption for units that are add ons to homes (without a kitchen) could fix this. At the end of the day, while I empathize with your individual situation, It seems clear that caping rentals at 75 days would make thousands of more units available to renters and help give some relief to the housing crisis.

      Here is a brief overview of the report and you can find the link to the entire thing there as well. http://sfist.com/2015/05/14/study_airbnb_commercial_hosts_defin.php

      • Without needing to take “sides” on the overall issue, a couple of facts are clear: People rent out pieces of their homes they would probably never rent traditionally and which aren’t mentioned in your stats, namely guest rooms. It is an objectively different experience to rent a room for a set number of finite days rather than take on a tenant who can then never be removed at-will. Which leads to a second fact: you can limit the number of AirBnB days to 75, but you can’t MAKE someone rent out their property to traditional tenants the rest of the year. Having a traditional tenant (if that is even possible in a no-kitchen-no-bathroom situation) and a short-term guest are mutually exclusive.

        When you take a sober look at it, what is really accomplished by the legislation? It is often difficult to MAKE people do what YOU think is right. I wonder if it would survive a court challenge? I shouldn’t have to make caveats but… I understand and empathize with those harmed by the astronomical and imbalanced housing market. But trying to force people to use their private property in a certain way doesn’t seem like a solution.

        Please also remember that EVERYTHING worked at a different economic level when homes were purchased decades ago. What you call a “relative steal” was a huge portion of a paycheck in those days. It seems cheap in today’s dollars, but it involved a lot of sacrifice for a lot of years. It also means that if you are on a fixed income, your low tax assessment prevents you from ever moving, Long term residents are often literally tied to their neighborhoods in ways newer, more economically adapted residents are not (yet).

      • @takebackthegreen

        I agree with you that you can’t make people rent out their properties. What we are seeing here (with Toby as an exception) is that many people have taken their properties off of the market to convert them into illegal tourist hotels. The idea of private property has limits and part of those are zoning laws. I can’t turn my living room into an after-hours club, just as you can not turn your garage into a cigar smoking lounge. Many people in residential neighborhoods, similarly are not enamored with the idea of having tourist hotels popping up next door to their homes.

      • For the sake of argument, let’s say you are correct that a significant number of people are taking rental units off the market to rent them on a daily basis, rather than just renting out a guest room… (stats?)

        Are you saying that you think limiting the Airbnb days to 75/year will cause them to go back to renting the units out by the month? That doesn’t seem like an obvious conclusion to me. The burden of proof lies with the legislation’s proponents. Far too often ordinances are passed because someone simply FEELS like they are a good idea, with no valid evidentiary support (or even contradictory evidence–Hello plastic bag ban ridiculousness!).

        So (in a friendly manner) I say: Prove it.

        As to private property: Of course there are limits to one’s use of it. And those limits should be extremely well-considered and as few as possible. For instance, in this case… Is it really neighbors of AirBnb-ers who are agitating for the 75 day limit? I doubt it. I believe it is well-intentioned (maybe?) affordable housing activists who aren’t super awesome at critical thinking.

        And who says I can’t turn my garage into a cigar lounge?

    • I think Campos has a fundamental misunderstanding about what ‘Trickle Down Economics” is.

      • Progressives love to call this a “trickle down” argument, even though it has nothing in particular to do with regressive taxation. It’s an effort to smear those who support building more housing in SF as right-wingers, I guess.

      • Many of the folks against the moratorium use the argument that market-rate housing must either include a certain proportion of affordable housing or pay into the City coffers for the purpose of creating affordable housing (although I’m not sure where all those millions have gone… where’s all that affordable housing?). Requiring market-rate developers to pay some of the cost of affordable housing is like a tax. Expecting affordable housing to appear magically without this taxation and other funding is “trickle-down economics” where the money spent is supposed to eventually help out lower-income folks at some future time and place, but never seems to actually make it there.

      • “pay into the City coffers for the purpose of creating affordable housing (although I’m not sure where all those millions have gone… where’s all that affordable housing?)”

        See, now that’s actually a good question! But it’s also why the moratorium is a non-solution – what reason do we have to believe, right now, that public housing development is going to be sufficient to pick up the slack?

        And this is what’s completely missing from the argument here: yes, making developers pay for more BMR construction is a tax. In fact, it’s the only tax that is producing affordable housing in SF in any significant quantity. So how on earth is killing the development that funds it all a solution?

    • How about stepping back and looking at what works and what doesn’t work? Decades of moratoria, ordinances, attempts to legislate affordability by restricting, constricting and prohibiting HAVEN’T WORKED. We have one of the most controlled housing markets in the country and it becomes more expensive by the minute.

      Why not dump the old worn-out ideas that HAVE NOT WORKED, and at least try something (anything) different? It is foolishness to keep trying failed policies expecting them to work “this time.” This blog post is absolutely right. Supply and demand is fundamental. Whether you accept that or not is irrelevant.

      Instead of a moratoria, how about abolishing height restrictions city wide by fiat? We absolutely CAN meet demand well enough to bring down prices, but it means going UP.

      If you want to complain about affordability, that’s the only proven way. Advocate for something realistic (but extraordinarily unpopular) or be quiet, please.

      • By “4 bits” I mean my 50 cents, of course. It’s the 7th comment from the top, but I rework it below –in the very last paragraph– for ease of access. It’s plain spoken political economy. In between I supply my opinion about Lappin’s article itself and all the comments.

        I am well aware it sounds like crazy talk at first, but my point is that without going to first principles whatever we do is crazy talk anyway. Every attempt to mitigate (by the do-gooders) hard times results in a host of other problems arising due to the mitigations (such as a moratorium on housing leading to scarcer housing and thus higher rents due to non-provision of new housing), yet what choice do those in duress have but to put up road-blocks to the seeming market? In the same position of duress it is predictable that we would do the same.

        And on the other side, every attempt to carry on with the seeming market does result in a purge of the poor from desirable (rising rent) neighborhoods. It is predictable that those who see that the unintended consequences of fudging with the market are at least as hurtful to the poor, in the long run, will vote for the market.

        The “out of the box” thinking I introduce recognizes that land values will rise over time, and that these rising rents are a response to the market which is as unideological as is evolution of species as species respond to changes in the circumstances of life. The Big Bang of what I propose, however, is to recognize that land values (location, location, location values) are community generated and thus belong to the community . . . that’s a conservative (in the truest, non-ideological meaning of that word) position. So, I propose that we socialize the market rent of land AND simultaneously remove taxes on work (business and earned income taxes AND THE INDIRECT TAX ON WORK called sales tax). We should remove taxes on work for the same conservative reason we should socialize land values: the maker of value should keep that value. Community’s existence generates land values; the individual (or association of individuals such as corporations and non-profits) making of goods and services entitles the creator to the value of that which is made.

        The practical result of taxing the market rent of land values as the primary source of public revenue is that it simultaneously 1) kills land speculation, 2) reduces the margin of production, thus resulting in a general raising of earned income, and 3) eliminates income merely from ownership of the material universe, which is tantamount to share-cropping, itself a species of feudal kingship. Startling to say, but private ownership of THE VALUE OF LAND (I don’t question or challenge private ownership of land, but do challenge the private ownership of land value) is ANTI-American to the extent that being American means having an equal right to use of the earth free from the share-cropping dunnage of the nobility.

        Lost very early in the American hurrah of Freedom was the recognition that what made the king in name the king in effect, was and always is the king’s claim to be the sovereign over the land, and to upon that ground demand tax fealty. The accurate equation is “Community = land values.” The generally accepted but fallacious equation is “Privately held land values = a portion of the earned income of those who use the land titled to others.” By asserting the accurate equation a society gets the following equation “Goods and services values EXCHANGED for Goods and services values.”
        In contrast, following the fallacious equation a society gets the following equation “Access to the material universe (location, location, location) in EXCHANGE for Goods and Services values.”

  4. Very well written article. Nice clear intelligent reasoning. Thank you. And I wish economics classes were mandatory for all law-makers and the population at large.

  5. Quote from Campos: “Free marketeers are claiming that if we build enough luxury housing it will eventually trickle down and turn into housing for the poor and middle class. This is the failed policy of Reaganomics at its worst.”

    • Actually, no one claims that, except David Campos and other progressive activists.

      What people claim is that the only way to stabilize housing prices is by creating sufficient supply to meet current demand. But his recent obsession with Ronald Reagan is really weird.

      • So then what you’re really saying is that, since market-rate housing won’t create enough subsidized housing to keep current San Francisco residents here, then you’re just OK with thousands of long-term San Francisco residents being forced out of the City?

      • Todd, you offer no answer for the thousands of long-term San Francisco residents that are being evicted from their homes. A moratorium could give time to change the requirements for market-rate housing so that, for example, the developers can’t simply give money to the City, but actually have to build subsidized units as part of their developments, especially in the Mission. As another example, it would give time to increase the requirements for the portion of units to be built as subsidized units. The Mayor and cronies like Supervisor Wiener are, for the most part, on the side of the developers while giving lip service to middle- and lower-income folks. If things continue as is, there is no reason to believe that the forced exodus of long-term San Francisco residents will stop. For some people, a home is just a temporary stopping point; for others, it is crucial to thriving and surviving. Not only that, but the City is losing some of its vital human resources, the heart and soul of the City, which will not be easily replaceable for decades to come. Not everything should be about how much money one can make from it… the most important things in life are quite the contrary.

      • Stardust, the moratorium will no give more time, it will give less time, becausee it will create more pressure on the market, more incentives to evict. Sure, we need more affordable housing, a moratorium is not the way to achieve that. It’s the opposite of that. Unless the city is ready to pay for affordable housing, it’s going to be funded by some ind of contribution from market-rate development. Stopping market-rate development depletes this source of funding.

        With the moratorium, owners will evict residents to increase their revenue on the existing stock instead of meet part of the demand with new stock. Campos’ agenda is incredibly aligned with speculators.

      • @Stardust – actually if enough housing were being built, it would give potential (richer) buyers more options. If you had the money and the option of choice, would you buy a brand new apartment or an old one where people were recently evicted? Or would you buy a place and conduct the eviction process yourself?

        The limited number of places on the market is why tenants are getting evicted. The demand is there and there’s not enough new construction to meet it so people are putting their morals aside and buying what’s available.

        We may not be able to build our way to affordability for everyone any time soon but new construction will at least help more current tenants stay in place more than not building it.

      • Why do you use supply/demand 1010 (without accounting for the INTERNATIONAL demand) but not also address spillover–another economics concept. When you introduce luxury development into a neighborhood that has moderate rents, it creates a huge differential in projected rents. THAT is what causes evictions. If this same building was built in Pacific Heights–where housing is already expensive–the differential wouldn’t be so extreme, so the effect wouldn’t be so great. But no, pacific heights (or sunset) never has to take new development. And they also don’t have the same eviction problem we do. You left out spillover–even your heroes Enrico Moretti and SPUR–understand the effects of spillover.

      • “When you introduce luxury development into a neighborhood that has moderate rents”

        “Moderate”? In the Mission? Maybe for the looooong time rent-controlled.

      • @jjfieber And why do you use Econ 1010 without addressing the spill-over impact of rent control? When you take a large portion of the existing market off market rate and the delta between market ($4,000 for a 3 bedroom) and rent control ($900) starts widening due to lower stock, the landlord will sell the units for conversion because the property is valued way more than the return.

    • Gah. It isn’t that hard. If you like housing and think people should have housing, you should support the construction of housing. Period. Digging up esoteric economic arguments from Daddy Bush completely out of context is not helpful.

      It’s better to step back from the economic arguments and think: does it make sense for “progressives” to oppose housing? We’re talking about real houses in the real world, it’s not just a figure on a spreadsheet. And these houses will outlive the current economy. And will provide places for people to live. Real people. Because it’s housing.

    • Market rate housing, in fact , does give directly to affordable housing. The new proposals build BMR onsite, like at 16th and market, but you prigs are still against it even though no one would be displaced. Sounds like sour grapes to me.

      • For the record, I’m not generally against market-rate housing that builds BMR onsite. We just need more affordable housing as a proportion of overall housing built, especially since the proportions have been so heavily weighted in the other direction for so many years now.

      • To be honest, I don’t know enough about the project to support or reject it as this point. When I look at the slides from the Maximus developers, I feel uncomfortable about the 49 units of affordable “off-site rentals”… it sounds like one of those promises that doesn’t come through as one would expect in the long run. But I’m open to hearing more information about it. With only 41 “affordable” units and 290 market-rate units available in the complex, that’s a rate of 12% affordable housing when I feel we should be seeing rates more like 30-50%. Even the “affordable” units are for those with annual incomes of $61K to $146K!

    • Actually, “trickle down economics” refers to the proposition that reducing taxes on the rich will cause them to invest more, which sends that money down the economy in the form of increased jobs and other economic activity.

      It was, and is, a failed policy, which doesn’t apply to this situation.

  6. And Campos also wrote: “I agree with Mayor Lee that to meet population demand we need to build close to 15,000 units of affordable housing for San Francisco’s middle and low-income residents by 2020. But right now, only 16% of the units approved for construction in San Francisco are affordable to the poor and middle class. In the Mission, it’s even worse: a dismal 7% of the units approved for construction will be affordable. If the city needs more affordable housing then let’s build affordable housing. Pretending that market rate development fees will somehow result in the voter mandated 50% affordability is both bad policy and bad math.”

  7. I think Campos only cares about grandstanding and burnishing his halo as a “progressive” politician. He must know this legislation won’t help poor people in any way. It most likely would get shot down by the courts even if it passed, as happened with a similar effort in West Hollywood.

  8. I just read Campos’ letter. While I actually think Campos is probably a pretty smart guy, I think he is being intellectually dishonest. Yes, building luxury housing itself will not directly trickle down to the middle and poor class, but what it does do, and what he fails to acknowledge, is that it alleviates some of the demand of high-earners who otherwise would be competing for the same limited pool of older housing stock. People in the high bracket move into the new expensive buildings; those same people are no longer overbidding on recently Ellis-evicted housing (and it has the effect of limiting incentives to Ellis evict — if the high earners have somewhere else to go).

    Campos’ bread analogy is just patently a bad one. Yes, if there is a bread shortage in SF and they start selling high-end pastries; so long as the rich people find that the high end pastries keep them fed, that’s less people in total for the breadline. So, yes, poor people get more bread.

    As a Latino, and a democrat voter my whole life, I find some of the pandering by Campos (et al.) to one culture over another while simultaneously calling people who believe in basic economics Ayn Rand nuts, is absurd. As a homeowner, I’ll reap the windfall of as we continue poor policy that makes my property more and more valuable. Thanks Campos….

    I am all for smart government (and good housing regulation), but putting a moratorium on new housing while failing to provide any solutions is simply a recipe for (continued) disaster.


    • To continue with the ridiculous analogy, providing rich people their high-end pastries doesn’t mean the others get their bread. It could mean that it’s most profitable to just make high-end pastries. Perhaps we should try not to reduce human relations and our society to a simple game of monetary profitability, for in that direction surely lies the loss of our morality and our souls.

      • First off, Campos proposed the ridiculous bread analogy, not me…

        Campos is not making any proposal for new bread to me made. He just doesn’t want any cake to be made; which does nothing to provide incentives for more bread to be made either. Put another way, there is a set amount of bread (existing housing stock) and he doesnt want any cake to be made (new expensive housing). Preventing the latter does not cause any of the former to increase. It might not directly create more bread (as Reagan might argue), but allowing cake to be made discourages the cake eaters from eating the limited supply of bread for everyone else.

        Listen, I don’t think the invisible hand of the market is infallible (I think government plays a role in making sure society spreads prosperity to everyone), but the broad parameters of supply and demand are real, and they cannot be merely legislated away.

      • Campos is in fact arguing for new bread. If the pastries take up all the available shelves in the bakery, then there isn’t any room for new bread. That’s the reason for the moratorium to take a break to figure out how we can have some more bread along with the pastries.

      • “Campos is in fact arguing for new bread. If the pastries take up all the available shelves in the bakery, then there isn’t any room for new bread. ”

        If we must extend this metaphor: your defense doesn’t carry any credibility until Campos also presents a plausible plan for a new bakery. As of now, he has none. So all we get is a lack of cake.

      • The moratorium represents a temporary lack of additional cake while bread can be baked during a time when the baker can reshuffle the inventory so that longer-term more bread is provided along with the cake. Otherwise, thousands of real people in San Francisco end up starving without any bread. And wealthy people just keep eating cake and looking the other way because they convince middle-class people that it’s not in their interest to help those who want bread, but instead to keep always trying but not quite getting any more than a few crumbs of the cake.

      • All this bread and cake talk is making me hungry. What is this thread about again? 🙂

      • The current Edwardian & Victorian housing stock in the Mission was built for middle and upper middle class people back in the day. After WWII, they fled to the burbs and the neighborhood turned Latin.

        So, essentially this is trickle down housing and kept the Mission relatively cheap for 50 years.

    • Or it gets snatched up by overseas buyers. More luxury housing is entirely insignificant as far as the affordability of housing goes in this day and age and in a city like SF. We’re talking about supply (of luxury housing) and demand (for luxury housing). Look at the two recent projects in SF that reduced the number of units, thereby reducing the number of affordable units (http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2015/04/99-units-cut-from-transbay-development-based-on-market-demand.html), because they realized the market was demanding luxury units with an insanely large footprint. Affordable housing loses in this weakly regulated supply and demand scenario.

  9. It took me nearly 10 years of living in SF before I realized that “Progressive” is the San Francisco word for what the rest of the world would call “Conservative.”

    It could be interesting to research the history behind how a political philosophy associated with breaking up monopolies and promoting fair tax structures wound up being SF’s word for protectionism and looking at the past through rose-tinted glasses.

  10. I think what we have ended up with in San Francisco is a city-sized version of the ultimatum game.


    Rationalists would say that those who feel disempowered should not act against their own self-interest, regardless of the perceived “unfairness” of policies. For a lot of people (and supervisors), we seem to have moved beyond their rationality tipping points.

    • Good thoughts. When “primarily affordable housing” advocates and “primarily market-rate housing” advocates clash, the only people who win are the “no housing anywhere ever” advocates. They don’t need any help!

  11. Wow, Todd, we’re going to start listening to Ed Lee and Scott Wiener on how to fix SF?

    You’ve really shot this blog in the foot with this one. I really didn’t expect you to do it in so blatant a fashion, but now it’s all laid out for everyone to see.

    Your housing graph has nothing in it about the cost of housing, by the way.

    • Because demand and price has shot up as supply flatlines? Basic economics at work? Or do you really need a graph to tell you prices are going up (talk about being disingenuous).

      • I’m talking about the percentage of affordable housing and the cost of it (who qualifies for it), and the cost of the market-rate housing being built (who its marketed to and at what price). A graph like Todd showed is practically meaningless.

        Think a little harder about possibilities before you comment from the hip like that.

    • @Danny B: The discussion is about housing production (or moritorium), not really who should get to use the finished product and at what price.

      Please tell us how much subsidy is required to produce 1 unit of Lower Income housing that will be rented at 55% of AMI, the City’s BMR requirement. How much money does it take for society (or land owner or developer or government agency who ever you prefer) to subsidize 1 BMR unit today in San Francisco?

      Also, please tell us why nothing has happened on the 4 sites the City owns for for 100% affordable housing in the mission starting with the project on 17th & Folsom.


      • No, the discussion is about an equitable right to housing in SF. A lot of people here are ignoring that fact, and you’re entirely missing the point of my comment judging by your questions.

        What do you think happens to the area median income when SF becomes a bedroom community for tech workers, while we continue building supply for the increased demand for ultra expensive condos while meeting only the minimum of affordable housing requirements?

      • Danny, I do appreciate where you are coming from with this, but I think your comment reveals why the discussion is not going in a direction you like.

        There is no “equitable right to housing in SF” in any legal sense. That is, actually, a fact. It may be a preference, or a goal — and it may even be a good one — but it is not and never had been a zoning or planning requirement in San Francisco. So if you are frustrated that no one is addressing that topic, it may be because you are making an assumption about priorities that are neither legally codified nor universally shared.

      • No sh*% Todd. If there was we wouldn’t be having this discussion and there wouldn’t be an affordable housing crisis.

        You really took about 100 steps back with that comment.

      • You said it, sweetie pie. Not me.

        I was trying to facilitate the discussion you want to have. But please, this is working really really well for you, so carry on and good luck with that.

      • “Sweetie pie”?

        Todd, take your last comment above and apply it to gay marriage. Are you sure that you really want to use a rebuttal that my discussion is off topic because values sometimes outpace government regulation?

      • Nice try StarDust, but no. That link indicates specific steps to be taken by the city, it does not establish a person’s right to housing in SF. Don’t conflate the issues (but you will anyway).

      • Todd – “No one is addressing that topic”. “The discussion is not going in a direction you like”. You’re obviously not reading all the comments and you’re indicating I’m off topic.

        Let’s say you want to marry your partner, but the state doesn’t allow it, and you’re frustrated about it. And I say to you: Hey, maybe you’re frustrated because “you are making an assumption about priorities that are neither legally codified nor universally shared.” Do you see how insulting that is? Do you see how you’re telling someone something that they already know and wasting your breath? Do you see how that shows you’re only thinking on the level of a robot?

    • It is insanely hilarious how SF activists refer to Weiner and Lee as if they were Tea Party founders or something. SF politicians are all so extremely far to the left that there is no discernible difference.

      It think this is a problem of insularity and lack of exposure to the rest of the world…

      • Yes, let’s think like the rest of the world for a second. That’s going really well for planet earth….

        Or maybe instead we can use subtlety to discern the difference in people’s values.

  12. I wonder what Campos’ game plan is. He lost his State Assembly race, and will be termed out of his Board of Sups seat. Can’t quite see what he’s aiming for. Maybe he’ll run against Vicki Hennessy for Sheriff in four years?

  13. Best analysis I’ve read of the whole situation so far. Thanks, Todd. It’s quite depressing to see my neighbors drink the Kool-Aid on this one. There’s plenty of room to demand reform of SF housing policy – e.g. more money to public development – but I honestly don’t know how we’re going to actually start addressing this housing crisis when the opposition is so busy cutting off its collective nose to spite its collective face.

      • Who knows? From increasing the percentage of BMR units in new development, perhaps, or through increasing the budget for public housing (though the SFHA has a reputation to repair first, frankly). All of which involves money – most of which comes from exactly the kind of construction projects Campos is trying to stop, as it happens.

      • You know where else the money could come from, BP? Not giving Twitter a tax break, which Campos opposed, and Lee and Wiener supported. But I’m sure they have the poor’s best interest in mind this time right?

      • Total red herring, Danny; any grudge you have against Scott Wiener isn’t really of interest to me. This is about a housing moratorium.

      • Nope BP, it’s not a red herring. The comment I replied to (yours?) was talking about a lack of money in the city and money for public development. When the city chooses political favors over funding basic services, we have to question priorities and intention around this issue. So the one thing you’re right about is that it is about housing.

      • Fine, Danny, if you must discuss the tax break: the revenue “lost” by the mid-Market tax break (1) was not guaranteed to be lost anyways, since you can never conclusively demonstrate that companies wouldn’t have simply set up shop elsewhere instead, and (2) even if every one of those companies wouldn’t have moved (unlikely) it wouldn’t make up for the total value of both mandated BMR apartments and contributions to the BMR fund.

        “Tax Twitter and kill all new development” might make for cathartic Internet ranting for SF progressives, but sorry, it is not a remotely sensible plan for getting more subsidized housing built.

      • OK, BP, thanks for a couple meaningless hypothetical conjectures. They would’ve moved into SF anyway. Do you really think Twitter employees want to work anywhere else?

        I never said it would make up for everything, just that it would contribute. And that you can judge Weiner and Lee’s character and intentions based on their stance regarding the tax break. Aka, who are they looking out for and at the expense of whom? I’m really not sure where you come up with this stuff….

      • Why don’t you take a look at the city budget Danny? What’s the annual budget for the homeless? The daily budget is $458,000 to take care of the homeless. For that amount, you literally could subsidize a unit a day for low income housing. Why beef about a Twitter hypo when there’s concrete ineffective spending on the homeless?

      • Missionman…. If you’re saying the city came out ahead on the Twitter tax break, then you’re using calculations that don’t take into account Twitter’s IPO and stock price. Even with increased property tax in the mid-market area, the city is still losing $10M/yr so far when you factor in Twitter’s actual market valuation.

        SciLaw…. Your worried about “subsidies” and the “homeless”. Are you also worried about “food stamp fraud”? Haha. You should go comment on socketsite; you would fit right in there.

  14. San Francisco doesn’t have the luxury of space or being an affordable place to live to give everyone who wants to live here an opportunity to do so. The big drivers are the highly regulated, bureaucratic processes to add housing and lot of people with a lot of money. So many of us are in the position that we would not be able to afford to live where we live if we had to move today. We need to work on ways so people are not either financially trapped or actively displaced out of their homes by the influx of wealth and people arriving in SF. Protecting current tenants from no fault evictions, prioritizing affordable housing, building market rate housing, making the process to build new housing more efficient, these will all help in some way. A moratorium on new construction does not help and has the potential to only make things worse. By this logic, the solution to dealing with overcrowding on BART trains is to stop ordering new BART trains and hope the problem goes away. There is no need to stop construction to work towards protecting current SF residents and find solutions to make housing more affordable.

  15. You can’t look at housing in SF as a simple supply and demand equation. There is a global problem of widening income inequality, and we are caught right in the middle of that. The current tech boom is creating some very high-paying jobs to the south of us – with companies providing transportation but silicon valley communities won’t allow housing development there. That means we are getting flooded with demand for housing that has pushed prices beyond rational levels.

    It’s not just a housing issue. Shoving a bunch of wealthy people into a community that was largely created by political and economic refugees causes many more problems. In my work in schools, I’ve noticed that teenagers who are trying to grow up in San Francisco are feeling less and less welcome in their own neighborhoods.

    Who should we be building for?

    I think pausing development and making a plan to protect the people who already live in the neighborhood is entirely reasonable.

    • Nope, artificial protectionism is not the answer. Do you really think that establishing a “Latino zone” will past any sort of constitutional muster? I’d love to see the caselaw where an Asian sues for being discriminated against while trying to buy a place in a city established “Latino neighborhood”. Campos has basically forgotten everything he learned at Harvard Law.

    • well said…. at least acknowledge the runaway train that is Valencia St. and… (name your favorite commercial Mission St.)
      And get the argument/ discussion going, at least.
      Speculator bucks driving real estate are probably more pronounced at present than any time since 1849.

  16. This is typical David Campos grandstanding. And with this action, he seems to be following in the footsteps of another “No” SF politician, Aaron Peskin.

  17. As this is DOA at the Board, this will have to be accomplished at the ballot box. Looks like Campos wants to make this a referendum on Latinos in SF. What happens when the results come in?

    • Not campos, just a flak.some college, but no math, physics or econ.

      • Nice, when a actual argument doesn’t work, then resort to the name calling and discrediting tactics. I shouldn’t rise to the bait, but just so you know, I have an undergrad degree from MIT plus an Executive MBA from Golden Gate University. (I took all three subjects you mentioned multiple times, although I’m not sure what Physics has to do with the discussion.)

      • What I wrote was: “Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever read a more one-sided analysis! I’m sure the invisible hand of the market will fix everything according to you. Are you an Ayn Rand fan or what?”

        I wrote “fan”, not “fanatic”.

        Ayn Rand is widely acknowledged as the popularizer of laissez-faire capitalism, inspiring a wide variety of her adherents including Alan Greenspan, an American economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

        I just don’t agree that a simple supply and demand analysis works in the case of San Francisco housing… it requires a much more nuanced economic model to capture the dynamics at work here.

      • The nuances of that distinction are lost on me. You opened this discussion with name-calling, so don’t try to walk that back. And besides, do you really think that San Francisco’s current housing policy represents laissez-faire deregulation? Good luck with that argument.

        Meanwhile, real evidence from real American cities that are really governed by real Democrats clearly indicates that meeting housing demand with increased supply can really make a difference in keeping rental housing costs down. Not in theory. In reality. Now.

    • If I’m annoying people who have the point of view that we should just let wealthy developers and corrupt politicians rip our city apart, then so be it.

  18. These cannot be our only options. The first thing should be, no developer should be allowed to pay money instead of building the affordable units. I don’t know why Ed Lee can’t get any affordable projects built, but he can’t so make the developers do it, and make them build those first if they are offsite. Make the developers agree to this during the entitlement process. And make a greater percentage affordable. If the new Folsom project is required to build 20 affordable units, make them build 25 or 30. It’s 30 more than we have. Next, we have Dennis Herrera looking for landlords who Ellis Acted tenants and are Airbnb-ing their units, so that’s good. Next, what can we do to incentivize current landlords of units that have affordable rents to keep them that way? Offer assistance with improvements if they agree to keep the rents low, no Owner Move-In, etc. Are we so devoid of creativity in this city that we can’t come up with anything? The NYT had an article last week about just such a program tied to energy efficiency improvements like new, efficient boilers for bigger buildings in exchange for keeping rents low. We have a number of older, larger apt buildings in the Mission (one of which just went up in flames). Maybe we can tie fire safety improvements financed by the City to commitments to keeping rents lower, even after a tenant moves out. But every time that someone is evicted, or dies or moves in a rent stabilized unit, there goes another low-rent unit to market rate. By stopping the building, we lose even more units from the affordable universe while adding nothing. I do not how we can stop adding housing. But we need to add more at all the price points.

    • I agree with you. Stop arguing the semantics of supply and demand and come up with a variety of solutions, that while not glamorous, can ease the exodus. We are a creative City- there has to be another way of looking at this issue, the old perception of economics has not served us well. Since some of the desirability of the Mission is proximity to transit hubs, why not start a future thinking project linking good transit to outer neighborhoods and developing housing and incentives there? The people that are the creative and cultural soul of the Mission need a place to go- rather than having them scatter, give them the possibility of creating a new community. Utopic, I know.

  19. I really appreciate this blog and the effort that goes into creating it, but I find the occasional Libertarian political pieces to be pretty out of touch with the traditional values of this neighborhood and the city in general. Recent polling shows that a moratorium like the one being proposed would easy pass in the city as a ballot measure, and there is widespread support for this idea in Bernal. I also find the tone of this post to bit a bit personal in its negativity toward Supervisor Campos. Whatever one’s opinion of his policies, I think its hard to make a convincing case for maligning his motives or his character. This is not about the Supervisor personally, its about a policy proposal and its merit, or lack thereof.

    I think supply and demand arguments miss the mark by a mile in the present context. There is currently way, way more demand for rich folks’ housing in the proposed moratorium area (and in Bernal) than could ever be satisfied by building a few dozen more of the high rise boxes with million-plus per unit price tags that “the market” is currently providing to the neighborhood. Taking a few months to formulate a plan to use the few underutilized parcels that remain for government subsidized, affordable, rental housing (with occupancy restricted to people who work for the kind of wages paid to teachers and apprentice plumbers, not first year Facebook engineers) seems like a great idea to me.

    I don’t think the people who believe that building even more housing for the 1% (okay, maybe the 3%) is as natural and inevitable as the rain falling from the sky know very many people who have been displaced by the current wealth tsunami washing over 94110. There is a certain tone deafness to their apparent lack of concern about the human impact of all of these long-term residents being driven out of their homes by “the invisible hand of the market.” To many of us, this displacement is a problem, it is a problem that results in part from policies, and local government can and should address the problem by at least taking some time out to consider changing the policies. (I do appreciate that Todd agrees this displacement is a problem but just doesn’t think that a moratorium will help to solve it.)

    I have owned my house for more than twenty years and I’ve already been to this tech bubble movie once before. It doesn’t last forever but the choices made while it is happening have lasting impacts. Slowing down market-rate development during the high water mark of the money flood would very likely end up being a good thing for the long term livability of this area.

    • David R thanks for your great comments! I was asking myself “Do any of them know someone who’s lost their longtime home to this mess? If they do, they’re hard-hearted.”

    • “but I find the occasional Libertarian political pieces”

      Oh, please. This is not a “libertarian” point being made. That term doesn’t just broadly apply to any political argument that you happen to disagree with.

      • Bernalwood is Todd’s blog. He has no advertisers, and is completely free to write whatever he wants. And he’s been very generous in allowing comments of all opinions, including ones that are personally pretty abusive to him. It speaks to the lack of alternatives (New Bernal Journal, hello?) that his blog has become the go to site for news and stories about Bernal.

    • David R — I strongly disagree with your comment, “Slowing down market-rate development during the high water mark of the money flood would very likely end up being a good thing for the long term livability of this area.” Please see my complete thought in the comments below. The only way to bring housing prices down in the future is to build a ton during the boom years. If you don’t build during the boom, and by definition, you don’t build during the bust, we don’t build nearly enough new housing, i.e., where we are right now!

    • Thhhhannnnkkk you, David R!

      Couldn’t agree more.

      Tone deaf libertarianism makes me cringe and these decisions will affect our city in the long term. And the way Todd Lappin attacks Campos gives me no respect for him or his opinion. Vilifying folks doesn’t help. NIMBY on Campos’ picture is just really unhelpful.

      As someone who lost her housing in an eviction in this neighborhood this year, who now pays very close to half of her income on rent to stay in the city where her family is, these conversations are very important to me. But the tone makes reading about it nearly as stressful as the four month apartment hunt my partner and I endured last fall. It very much feels like “I got mine” folks are playing games with the lives of many of the rest of us, including the opinions of this in this blog.

      • You should probably re-read the original post after looking into the issue a little more carefully. You are misplacing your anger and frustration onto a blog…

        Bernalwood is making a legitimate and considered statement about a proposal that will HARM people such as yourself.

        It is legitimate–in fact, a fundamental responsibility–to question politicians.

  20. We need a moratorium on Campos’s bullshit. He’s not in this to help anyone but himself and his vanishing political career. That is all. If you believe otherwise, you are foolish.

  21. I live in the Mission in a medium size building (20 units) built about 15 years ago. Several of these units are BMR, and one was recently on the market – a nice spacious unit with parking just off Valencia street. Despite the strong demand for housing, it did not sell, and has been withdrawn from the market.

    A smaller market rate unit with a worse floor plan was for sale 2 months previous and in contract within 10 days with multiple offers. It sold for almost 3x the asking price of the BMR unit.

    It turns out that the income requirements for the BMR unit are so strict that if you qualify to buy it, chances are you can’t actually afford to live there. And once you’ve bought a BMR unit you are exposed to rising HOA fees, special assessments, and strict limits on resale price.

    BMR units can be a risky prospect for buyers, as outlined in this article from a few years back in the Chronicle:


    • So how do we fix that problem? We do need more housing built at all price points. If there is housing designated for a lower price point that isn’t selling amid all of everything going on, why not and why aren’t we fixing that? It’s great to say that we need a big solution, but it seems unlikely that there will be one magic bullet, so we need an “all of the above” — keep the BMR that we have, add more but add it so that it works, and add market rate. And I know people in all of the housing categories. I know people who have owned their own homes for decades in the mission, who have rented for decades, people who have been evicted and people who have rented or bought recently. I know latino and non-latinos in all of these categories. If we don’t build at all price points in the boom, nothing will get built in the bust.

  22. A few pieces of information that might be conducive to better discussion:

    The Mission added 65 new market rate units in 2014. A double decker tech bus carries more people than that. https://twitter.com/michaelprhodes/status/595707641319563265

    If housing developers didn’t need to turn a profit, their bare bones costs still exceed what the area median income can afford by a significant margin. An 800 square foot apartment in a five story 100 unit wood-framed building over a concrete first story would cost $469800, and these are the numbers from almost a year and a half ago. It’s even worse now. Seriously. Even if you subtract out all the ridiculous cliches about greedy developers, housing costs are beyond what vulnerable populations can afford unless there’s public subsidy. Housing activists will always avoid engaging on this point because it breaks their “developers *could* build affordable housing, but they’re only building for the luxury market!” narrative. The primary source of funding for this subsidy (the city’s BMR program) is fees and taxes on market rate development. http://markasaurus.com/2013/10/22/why-can’t-developers-build-housing-in-san-francisco-for-the-people-who-need-it-most-instead-of-for-the-rich/

    The only non-subsidized affordable housing is whatever got built a long time ago. It’s kinda like planting trees knowing that you won’t get nearly as much out of it as the next generation will. I’m not going to pretend that building more housing now is going to help residents currently being displaced. It won’t, aside from some reduction in the number of people seeking housing. Still, it’s the only thing that can slow the cycle for the next generation.

    It’s foolish to expect that brand new construction should be less expensive than 100 year old buildings. If your budget can only afford a used economy car, it would be a pretty terrible idea to shut down the factories and halt the construction of new cars “until they figure out how to make them cheaper than what used cars cost.” To continue with the terrible automobile analogy, car companies sell affordable economy cars with low profit margins because they make up for it in volume. By comparison, super luxury car companies like Ferrari only need to sell a few thousand cars per year to make their money. We all know SF is never going to allow much to happen, so ultra lux is what we get.

  23. Not sure if my comment will get noticed amidst all these others, but it’s important to point out that it’s not a question of whether “supply and demand” works or not. Of course new market-rate housing puts *some* downward pressure on rents. But in many cases new market-rate housing simultaneously puts upward pressure on rents.

    Example: I live in the Mission a few doors from a derelict supermarket with a huge parking lot surrounded by chain link and razor wire. It’s ugly, and people dump trash there and pass out drunk. If the site is one day soon converted to, say, 100 units of market-rate housing, there will be downward pressure on rents in the Mission because of the 100 units of additional housing, but also upward pressure on rents, specifically on my block, because it will become somewhat more desirable to live in that specific location with the ugly lot cleaned up. In a lot of cases, and probably this one, the upward pressure will be much larger than the downward pressure, because 100 added units is not enough to put any meaningful dent in demand but the block will become noticeably nicer and more desirable.

    So everyone please stop claiming that market-rate housing only pushes rents down or only pushes them up. It does both, and it’s just a question of whether, in a particular instance, the upward pressure or the downward pressure is larger.

    • your point makes sense on some levels but rents in the mission have gone up astronomically even without a lot of new units getting built. sure nicer, cleaner parts of the mission command higher rents but even shit holes in marginal locations are expensive now, simply because there’s no where else available.

      • You’re right that boat has long sailed on keeping parts of the Mission “inexpensive.” It’s about really expensive versus insanely expensive at this point, and that’s still an important difference, one that makes the difference for many people between being able to stay in the city and not. Even though they’re not talking about it this way, people who live in the merely really expensive parts of the Mission (16th / Mission) have an incentive to keep those areas less “nice and clean” to keep rents from going from really expensive to insanely expensive.

      • In that same vein, rent control puts upward pressure on the market as well. By taking a large stock of units off the market, the remaining rental stock is being fought over by the non-1-3%ers which raises that rental pool. When the delta between market and rent control gets too large, you will get a reaction/correction. You can’t expect a $900 3 bedroom rent control unit to be a life-time proposition when the market rate for a similar unit exceeds $4,000. People will buy the units in order to live in them instead (and the owner will sell since his/her return rate at $900/month/unit is minuscule compared to the actual value of the property).

      • @Shotwellian An apartment in the Mission (even around 16th) if probably the same price per square foot as one in Russian Hill at this point. I’m saying that despite it being unsavory, the neighborhood is still commanding higher prices. I really think that the best stop gap is more housing. If I were to make any changes, I’d love to see more rentals being constructed. Someone else on here made the point that even BMR units are unattainable to most to purchase. The income qualifications are low but you have to make enough to qualify for a loan (not to mention have some sort of down payment).

        I would also build more dense rental housing in more affordable neighborhoods like Bayview or Excelsior. They’re great neighborhoods and still quite accessible to jobs.

    • Good point, whether the upward pressure is quantifiable or not, people believe it and it motivates them to speak and act. It’s especially noticeable when you hear about people opposing, say, the Mission Street Public Life Plan. One would think that everyone would welcome improvements to the sidewalk and street conditions in their neighborhood, but right now people feel so vulnerable to rising rents (despite rent controls), that they are willing to oppose improvements to the commons.

      • Right. And people with rent control (including myself) are right to feel vulnerable, given that no-fault evictions in SF have doubled in the last few years. Rent control is very helpful, but the greater the gap between what you pay and what market-rate would be, the greater the incentive for your landlord to find a way to kick you out. And any real estate agent would be able to give you a rough estimate of the upward pressure on prices (and by extension) rents from any of these things: improved streetscapes, market rate housing as a neighbor instead of an abandoned grocery store. The upward pressure is absolutely real; to return to where the discussion started, anything at all that would increase demand to live in a certain spot will put upward pressure on rents.

  24. It is expensive to build in San Francisco. Carpenters get paid very nicely. All tradesmen, tile setters, electricians etc, get paid very nicely. And on big jobs, it’s union work, so even more expensive. Not to mention the initial cost of the land, which typically won’t be dirt but have an existing structure. Now plug in the 2+ years minimum it takes to hold the existing structure + lot, and to get it entitled.

    So in short, it doesn’t take a leap of faith to understand beyond a shadow of a doubt that the “build 100 percent affordable” refrain is impossible.

    I’ve seen not one solution from the Campos/Kim et al camp. Not one. No concept as to how the city might offer incentive to builders, who like everyone else do not want to take on something that’s guaranteed to lose. There would need to be a direct payment from the city, so taxpayers. Build at cost, and in lieu of a profit margin, a builder would have to be guaranteed X amount. Perhaps 15% of what a market build might have brought?

    Can you not understand how difficult that would be to manage? We’d be talking about creating new bureaucracy in a town that is bogged down with laughable levels of bureaucracy muck.

    So, sorry. Not a chance that “build 100 percent affordable” could work. Now, “build nothing new” ? OK, easy enough to understand. Keep the folks around who largely made the Mission the way it was from the 70s to the 2000s, and on, in place. As many as possible. Sure. Makes sense in a narrow way.

    But that makes all the existing smaller properties that come to market even more valuable. Look at the folks at 2840-2848 Folsom, for example.

  25. Increasing supply isn’t the only solution! We could also try to drive down demand. With simple policy solutions we can encourage people to move away. You know, simple stuff, like by eating our elderly or flooding the Daly City http://wp.me/p3Q65E-aV

  26. A thoughtful and well reasoned article as usual, Todd.

    To all the folks who continue to question the economics of supply and demand, I will try to lay it out very simply. I think you’re forgetting about the variable of time. Consider the following:

    –Will building or not building more housing now reduce prices right now? No, because we have a massive imbalance with demand way above supply and it takes lots of time to build more supply.

    –Will building more housing now (during a boom) result in a dramatic reduction in prices when we hit the next bust (which I watched happen here in 2002 and 2009 and will inevitably happen again)? Yes, because when the next bust happens, demand will go down and the supply we built during the boom will be still be here.

    –Will halting building now (during a boom) keep prices artificially high during the next bust in the future? Yes because demand will go down but it will still be above supply and very little gets built during the bust so the deficit will be even larger during the next boom.

    I challenge anyone to dispute those statements. So really we have two choices — build now and get lower prices in the future, or don’t build now and have higher prices forever. As for bringing prices down right now, unless you have a time machine, there is no solution, sorry.

  27. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Honorable Supervisor Campos for this wise initiative. As an owner of several properties in the Mission, this is fantastic news. Let’s limit new development, push values of existing buildings higher, and make the mission even more precious.

    Mission = Nob Hill in 5 years? Yes, please.


  28. I own my place and think it’s awesome what Campos wants to do. This loon is putting money in my pockets. I’m not a nimby either, I swear. If I were in charge I’d never propose something so broken and insane, but if he can whip up a frenzy to get this passed somehow, I’ll continue to benefit from Looney anti-progress types who want to increase scarcity of housing.

  29. Excellent analysis. Campos is doing his best to leave a trail of destruction in his wake. Watch evictions and prices skyrocket even more if this moratorium is enacted.

  30. this has been one of the most fascinating comment threads i have ever read in an SF-related blog, and perhaps any site ever, and i’ve been reading these for about 20 years. so hat tip to Todd and Bernalwood and to all the great voices and views.

    but: this is also one of the most telling examples of the paralysis of our city’s politics. people are so polarized and positions are so fragmented that it seems inconceivable that there will be a consensus view on seeing our way out of this crisis. the terrible consequence of this is that displacement will continue and we will keep failing to add to our housing stock.

    as some have mentioned, housing isn’t just for today or next year. it’s for the generations to come after we have taken our ground-down axes to the grave. when you put money every month into a savings account, it barely earns anything at first; after 30, 40 or 50 years of saving, it will likely be a sizable sum. just saying “no it won’t!” or “banks are evil incarnate” is a valid argument, but not a strategy for the future.

  31. “privileged incumbent status”

    LOL. It’s called citizenship. Residents of the city deserve to have a privileged status in the place that they’ve built. It appears that free market capitalism has displaced the concept of “urban planning” for this author and many people. They seem to think it’s more important to sell our city to people *who don’t even live here yet* than preserve the quality of life for the people that do.

    • Actually, urban planning was painstakingly done. It is called the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan. Campos is calling for an end to a fully vetted plan that is the result of thousands of hours of exhaustive study, proposals, counter proposals, objections, you name it.

    • Um, a core feature of urban planning is that it deals with the long-term plan for the city (land use, resource use, etc), which includes accounting for future residents, and it it not designed to freeze time for a specific set of residents who declare that the door is shut. Cities live far longer than people do. Urban planning takes the long view when done right. There were people here before we got here, and they let us in.

      And, as Kenny mentions, SF’s planning goes through extensive, multi-year processes involving way more public input than you get pretty much anywhere else. The key fault with SF’s system is that it allows individuals to thwart projects much too easily for very individual reasons, which seems to me not to be progressive in the least but rather much more aligned to a libertarian/conservative viewpoint where there is only a reverence for individual preferences and none for the common good.

  32. Thank you Bernalwood. The idea that constricting supply won’t raise prices is just preposterous. I can’t believe this still needs to be explained. But it does, and you did it well.

      • I just want to point out–as a scientist–that market economics isn’t scientific. It’s science-ish, at best, and its mechanisms are poorly understood. Social theory underpins and complicates everything from epidemiology (my field) to city planning, and assuming otherwise is… smug (and I’m pretty sure you’re aware of this, but sticking to your guns). “Supply and demand” is about as unscientific an explanation for a phenomenon as complex as our national demographic shift toward urban housing. Sorry Todd, but you lost me on this one. Maybe invite a dissenting post for the same of completeness instead of backing yourself up with an astronomy meme?

      • And I’d like to point out that epidemiology, being concerned to some degree with “social sciences,” isn’t exactly the definition of “Hard” science. Mathematicians make a worthy argument that theirs is the only true science.

        So your argument from authority may need to be a little less exclusive…

        Also, the issue at hand is so vastly complex that we can’t help but use short cuts. Supply and demand is an established, proven concept. The term conveys what is generally intended.

      • Totally fair points, and well taken. You’re right.

        The image here was meant to suggest that supply and demand operates whether you believe in it or not.

    • yes, but JK, do you agree that a building moratorium will only make existing housing stock more desirable, near term?

  33. For it to make sense you have to think of demographics and voting patterns.

    The new residents of market rate housing are probably going to be voting for smart Pols who understand economics and want to make the City a better place.

    Campos and his Prog friends are terrified of being voted out of office by these new residents coming in to the neighborhood. That’s why he’s for a building ban.

  34. a building moratorium may not work as expected, halting evictions especially of long time tenants will help protect some of our most vulnerable community members.

  35. I live down in the Mission (unlike Campos) and wish SOMETHING would happen with the all the nearby vacant /blighted properties–my neighbors are presumably homeless men living in the back yard of such a property.

  36. I got your answers:

    1. The price to move to and live in San Francisco is 20% of your annual income. Disney land by the bay is not free.
    2. A dollar surcharge on expensive Latte’s/coffee to be used to support the homeless and pay for attorneys to legally wack rapacious, greedy land speculators.
    3. Hire the gangs to come back to the Mission and thin the herds of tech workers taking over the neighborhood.
    4. Weekly internet trials of landlords who evict people for the crime of being poor. The jury will be internet viewers. The punishment is to be hung like a pinata at 24th and Mission so that those being forced out can whack them on their way out.
    5. Re – education camps for new comers to teach them the working class roots and history of the Mission so they have respect for what came before and realize what it cost.
    6. When the last artist leaves for Oakland, please turn off the lights.
    7. Social Action against the tech companies fueling the boom to put up cash and brain power to solve the problems.
    8. Supply Demand is a social consensual hulicination, the last time I looked “gravity” still works whether I believe in it or not.
    9. The moratorium will put pain on the class that is pushing the poor o
    Lut and provide a fulcrum point for negotiation around issues of social and housing justice.
    10. Look in the mirror, whose side are you on?
    Snarky whining solves nothing. Only actions count.

  37. Pingback: If the development is an unstoppable force and the Mission is an immovable object | Lord of the Fails

  38. Check out how much firefighters and other city workers in San Francisco make (high earners and even average salary) compared to techies:


    Let’s not forget the pensions, and they can choose to start a second career in their late 40s after retirement if they want, or just enjoy the rest of their life. How many private sector workers including techies can have the luxury of not worrying about job and retire in their late 40s?

    • Interesting. To summarize this data.
      ~10,000 people making over $100K ($1.5B total) ;
      ~500 people making over $200K ($125M total).

      The 10,000 seems kinda large, but then again that’s only about 1% of the city’s population.
      (1% doesn’t seem excessive to me.)

      Total salary from all these I estimate at about $1.6B, or about 20% of the total city budget of about $8B.
      (20% to wages doesn’t seem excessive to me).

      • Corrections for Darren:

        1) Since the late 1990’s, Police and Fire have steadily gone DOWN as a percentage of the City budget.

        2) Public safety employees retirement age is 55. Minimum is 50.

        3) SF’s pension fund investments have historically performed very well, allowing the City to lessen or eliminate its contributions in some years. Employee contributions have risen over the same period.

        4) “Enjoying the rest of their lives” is relatively brief. Look up occupational life expectancy and you will see that Firefighters, on average, aren’t a burden on the pension system for very long…

        So rest easy.

  39. Takebackthegreen, please cite sources for all your points. Again, how many private sector works can afford to retire at 55? I think firefighters deserve to be better paid and the respect because of occupational hazard. What about other city workers (10281 – 1302 = 8979 making over 100k), do they have average shorter expectancy than general public?

    1. The issue I raised is not about how much percentage of city budget is used on city workers. It’s about the alignment with private sector in terms of job qualification, skill set and compensation level (private sector job with the same job requirements should get BETTER paid because there is no pension for them after 25 years of work). If the city have a decent budget, maybe more office jobs can be created with the same budget, maybe the teachers can be better paid, and public schools can be better funded.

    2. The MAIN issue I took that with is the rhetoric that luxury-bus techies are displacing the hard-working people working in the city (btw, who says techies are not hard-working individuals, some actually claim the opposite, they work too long hours, thus become socially awkward and contribute zero to community). Please check on salary.com about average salary for tech positions, not dramatically different from the average of our city workers (again, please take into account that no pension for private sector workers). YES, both these techies and average city workers make more than teachers, hourly wage people in the city. Why techies took the blame alone and get demonized as a group. We should probably encourage more people to apply for public sector jobs, and improve the transparency of public sector hiring practice, and hopefully introduce more competition to the inertia of government and improve the efficiency of public agencies. Also, if tech jobs are in high demand, maybe encourage education and training towards those jobs, thus elevate more local people to these better-paying jobs.

    3. By the way, the sfgate dataset only contains city workers making more than 100k, your calculation of percentage on city budget is wrong.

  40. When you write about ‘market rate’ housing in San Francisco, please qualify who can afford it. What is the average selling price? $850,000? $900,000? 1,000,000? What down payment and income do you need to buy ‘market rate’ housing in San Francisco? Who will live in these homes? Do they represent a broad spectrum of professions and socio-economic classes? The term market rate can be misleading in San Francisco’s housing market because San Francisco has some of the most expensive housing in the world. So while many professions and occupations contribute to our economy and our market on the whole, income inequality makes it impossible to compete for housing resources. A school teacher will never be able to buy a ‘market rate’ house in San Francisco. In fact, the majority of income earners would not be able to buy a ‘market rate’ house in San Francisco. So please give an accurate portrait of who will be able to live in these market rate houses when you are describing their benefit to the city.

  41. In other words, let’s acknowledge that income inequality and the widening wealth gap has made the term ‘market rate’ more complex. In the post-war era, when San Francisco built a lot of middle and working class housing in the Sunset, Richmond, and Parkside, market rate housing would have included a range of professions where the at least 60% would have been affordable by the working and middle classes. Obviously, the City has always had its wealthy neighborhoods like Pacific Heights and Sea Cliff, but the majority of the housing stock could support a broad range of “middle incomes” from school teacher to plumber to small business owner to nurse to waiter, much of it on a single income. That is because the housing market reflected more broadly the income spectrum and the general ‘market’ at large which means both the market for jobs/income and the market for purchasing power. In the post war era, the tax structure supported the rise of the middle class and income inequality was present but not as acute as it is now. Now we have many different ‘markets’. We have a broad labor market where most workers have not seen incomes rise over the last decade, some have seen wage deflation, and a few in areas such as finance and technology have seen exponential gains. Due to the reduction of taxes on capital gains, the rich have gotten richer and the rest have gotten poorer – their incomes may have remained the same but if wealth is not taxed it increases at a much more rapid rate and creates a wealth gap. In a city like San Francisco, where housing is limited and desired, it means that only the people with the highest incomes and most capital will be able to compete for housing. Housing can be viewed purely as an economic commodity, as a public resource, or as both. If it is purely an economic commodity and does not provide any other benefit to the community at large outside of the exchange of capital and appreciation, then developers should have their way with San Francisco. If it is considered a public resource, designed to preserve certain professions, cultures, and socio-economic diversity, then the city should step in to help those who do not have the income and/or wealth to compete. If it is both, then the city should work with communities and developers, in sync, to build some ‘market rate’ housing and some ‘subsidized’ public housing for middle income earners (which I guess would now be called something else as we don’t have a middle class in San Francisco due to income inequality or is a public school teacher the working poor?). I think Campos’ moratorium is to work out these questions. What is the right percentage of housing at market rate? Are their better ways that the cash strapped city could engage with the cash flush private entities which both need housing for their work force and also want to profit from developing the city? These are important question? I think it’s obvious, that we need more housing but it is not a simple supply and demand equation in our current economic situation. It’s a bit more complex due to the class system that has emerged over the last 15 years. If it were 1960 and the progressive tax structure was in place, executives only made 3x as much as employees, and teachers were considered middle class, then it would be a much more simple solution – build more housing. Sadly, that’s not the world we live in. We did once, but we don’t now.

    • KH:
      I think the term “market rate” as its being commonly used is not meant to infer any sort of subjective standard regarding the types of classes of professionals that are deemed to qualify for the market (or any qualitative judgments of who should or shouldn’t be eligible for the limited SF housing stock). I think this is just a purely objective standard of “what will the market bear” – i.e. at what dollar amount will the price become prohibitively expensive that the property won’t sell or rent, and then the price is $1 lower than that amount.

      This is, of course, an academic number that is impossible to truly get to, but the term “market rate” does just mean the price on the open market that is not being subsidized (either by artificial means — i.e. rent control/stabilization or governmental subsidies or mandates for set-asides). [As an aside, it is proven that subsidies in one place will distort what “market” is — i.e. if rent control were abolished across the city, rents for new entrants would go down, though current beneficiaries would have to pay more — and there would certainly be pain for those folks.]

      You raise valid points and I do not think that simple supply/demand models can fully account for the complexity of the housing market in SF (which is also inextricably tied to the anomalously hot labor market, the limited geography, previous and current regulatory constraints and other factors).

      That said, while I agree with some moratorium proponents that new construction COULD lead to more desirability of the neighborhood (and thus increase prices further), the moratorium supporters fail to acknowledge that supply constraints are real, and a blanket moratorium will likely do more harm than a good that they’re unable to quantify. The moratorium supporters only seem focused on one (speculative and unquantified) aspect of the impact of new construction on prices and completely ignore one (very well established and scientifically supported) aspect of supply limitations.

      Essentially, if 100 new units are filled by tech bros, that’s 100 fewer tech bros running up the price of the existing housing stock. I have seen ZERO data from moratorium supporters to tell me how many new tech bros will be coming to the Mission ONLY because of the presence of a big new building. Evidence suggests that it will be a number significantly less than the tech bros who take themselves out of the market to fill that building but otherwise would have been trying to live in the Mission anyway.

  42. I have a face-palm moment every time I hear “trickle-down” and “supply-side economics” mentioned in the context of this debate. Building market rate housing (what Campos calls “luxury”) is not “supply-side economics”. I really wonder if the people using those words actually know what they mean, or if they’re intentionally misusing them simply to inflame the discussion.

  43. Pingback: Bernalwood 2015: The Year in Superlatives | Bernalwood

Comments are closed.