A new progressive agenda - Page 3

A series of community forums helped us craft a platform for the next mayor

New construction in Mission Bay: Are we building a community -- or building a city for rich people?


Background: Since the office market tanked, the big land-use issue has become market-rate housing. San Francisco is building housing for people who don't live here — in significant part, for either very wealthy people who want a short-term pied a terre in the city or for commuters who work in Silicon Valley. The city's own General Plan calls for 60 percent of all new housing to be below-market-rate — but the vast majority of the new housing that's been constructed or is in the planning pipeline is high-end condos.

There's no connection between the housing needs of city residents and the local workforce and the type of housing that's being constructed. Family housing is in short supply and rental housing is being destroyed faster than it's being built — a total of 21,000 rental units have been lost to condos and tenancies in common.

Public housing is getting demolished and rebuilt with 2500 fewer units. "Hotelization" is growing as housing units become transitory housing.

Planning has become an appendage of the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, which has no commission, no public hearings and no community oversight.

Projects are getting approved with no connection to schools, transit or affordable housing.

There's no monitoring of Ellis Act evictions.

Transit-oriented development is a big scam that doesn't include equity or the needs of people who live in the areas slated for more development. Cities have incentives to create dense housing with no affordability. Communities of concern are right in the path of this "smart growth" — and there are no protections for the people who live there now.

Agenda items:

1. Re emphasize that the Planning Department is the lead land-use approval agency and that the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development should not be used to short-circuit public participation in the process.

2. Enact a freeze on condo conversions and a freeze on the demolition of existing affordable rental housing.

3. Ban evictions if the use or occupation of the property will be for less than 30 days.

4. Index market-rate to affordable housing; slow down one when the other is too far ahead.

5. Disclose what level of permanent affordability is offered at each project.

6. Stabilize existing communities with community benefits agreements before new development is approved.




Background: There have been profound cuts in the social safety net in San Francisco over the past decade. One third of the city's shelter beds have been lost; six homeless centers have closed. Homeless mental health and substance abuse services have lost $32 million, and the health system has lost $33 million.

None of the budget proposals coming from the Mayor's Office have even begun to address restoring the past cuts.

There's not enough access to primary care for people in Healthy San Francisco.

Nonprofit contracts with the city are flat-funded, so there's no room for increases in the cost of doing business.

The mayor has all the staff and the supervisors don't have enough. The supervisors have the ability to add back budget items — but the mayor can then make unilateral cuts.

The wealthy in San Francisco have done very well under the Bush tax cuts and more than 14 billionaires live in this city. The gap between the rich and the poor, which is destroying the national economy, exists in San Francisco, too. But while city officials are taking a national lead on issues like the environment and civil rights, there is virtually no discussion at the policy level of using city policy to bring in revenue from those who can afford it and to equalize the wealth disparities right here in town.

Agenda items:


We of course, cannot do that, because if all savings were mandated to go to consumers, there would then be no funds available to maintain the system, and to do capital improvements in order to expand the system and incorporate renewables and efficiency.

I'm fine with a mandate that keeps all of the savings out of the City general fund, and that instead all revenues would have to be kept within the utility itself, but mandating that all savings go to ratepayers would undermine the whole system by underfunding infrastructure.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 19, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

Obviously PG&E makes a profit (well, maybe not, they went bankrupt, but let's ignore that for now).

That profit is what's left after the costs you cited have been deducted from the revenues.

So, if PG&E make, say, a thousand a year net profit on each household, then each household gets a thousand off their bills. It should be "revenue neutral" for the City - not a cash cow for their favorite pork project and subway to nowhere.

The formula might be more complex than that, but those computations are already made in determining the utility rates and what's a fair profit for PG&E. We're already doing the sums - the only difference is that we the people get the money, and not Chris Daly.

Do it that way and you have my vote. As long as you can also borrow the capital to buy the utility at a fair market price, funded by revenue bonds that won't touch the general fund.

But not a penny to the politicians. They can't be trusted.

Posted by PaulT on Sep. 19, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

Now that you have clearly established that you are completely out of touch with reality by hilariously claiming that PG&E might not be making a profit, I think we're done.

And the San Bruno explosion shows that PG&E infrastructure is under capitalized showing that we need to ensure the ability to fully capitalize a municipal system.

Now, go ahead and get in the last word, last word boy...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 19, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

My guess is that we are both right. Before he was on the SFPUC Sklar was apparently pro municipal power. But once Newsom appointed him to the SFPUC that definitely changed.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Sep. 19, 2011 @ 11:42 am

I hope all the voters out there read both pension measures and once you get over your outrage vote no on both C and D. There are nothing progressive about either.

Posted by Guest Brenda Barros on Sep. 22, 2011 @ 7:15 am

Prop D:

-Prop D has a sliding scale for contributions while Prop C asks the same of a 50k worker and a 100k worker.

-Prop D exempts < $50k workers (Prop C copied this.)

-Prop D doesn't touch anyone's health care while Prop C seeks to reduce employee and retiree health care by flipping control of the Health Services Board. City retirees loathe Prop C.

So yes, if you believe no reforms are needed you vote for neither. If you are voting for the more progressive one, you vote for Prop D. City employees who earn less than 100k and are convinced one of the two will pass, will be voting for Prop D.

No one will "read" Prop C - it's 285 pages....

Posted by Guest on Sep. 22, 2011 @ 10:13 am