Why an enclave for the rich is a bad move for San Francisco's waterfront
There's another element here: Mayor Lee made a point during his campaign to say over and over again that he was an independent thinker, that powerful and influential allies like Rose Pak would not be calling the shots at City Hall. This will be his first major test: Pak and lobbyist Marcia Smolens are working hard to promote 8 Washington. And we're already getting some disturbing signals out of the mayor's office.
Lee told us that he has "no thoughts" about the project and hasn't been paying any attention to it. That's an odd stance, considering that his own Port Commission is pushing it and staffers in his office are working with the developer. This is a big priority for Pak, and the notion that she has never mentioned it to the mayor defies reason. Board President David Chiu, who talks to the mayor regularly, opposes the project, which is in Chiu's district.
It's hard to imagine that anyone who pays attention to local politics could be missing what will be one of the landmark votes this spring on the Planning Commission — which will take up the project March 8 — and the Board of Supervisors.
The mayor, may, indeed, be ignoring everything that supporters and opponents of 8 Washington have said and may be waiting until the Planning Commission vote to take a position. But if he's just ducking questions because he's planning to support it, he's making a big mistake.
This is a chance for San Francisco to go beyond the platitudes about building housing, go beyond the hype about "green" buildings, see through the fraud about community benefits and consider what this really is: A special favor for a developer who wants to cater to the top 1 percent of the 1 percent and move San Francisco even closer to being a city of, by, and for the elite. The only reasonable vote on 8 Washington is No.
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