Rent control is sticking point in Parkmerced debate


After a marathon debate at the March 29 Board of Supervisors meeting lasting several hours, a vote to certify the environmental impact report (EIR) for the masssive Parkmerced overhaul was pushed back until May 24.

Sup. David Campos raised concerns about the plan, saying the outstanding issue for him was questions surrounding whether a provision of the development agreement guaranteeing preservation of rent control could be enforced. He said he did not feel supervisors could rule on the EIR without having that issue settled. Campos made the motion to continue, which was seconded by Sup. Sean Elsbernd and agreed upon unanimously.

"I have to say that for me, there is still a question that remains that has to do with the potential loss of rent control housing," Campos said. "I understand that there are differences of opinion with respect to that issue, but I am still puzzled as to whether or not we have all the information that needs to be had to make an informed decision here. I think that something as important as this project requires that we have as much information as we can."

Elsbernd, whose District 7 includes Parkmerced, raised concerns about the impact to residents of living in a long-term construction zone, but he said he was convinced that the project could help improve public transit and serve to limit congrestion on the western side of the city. "It's one step backward to get two steps forward," he said of the increase in roughly 6,000 parking spaces that would go along with the project. "The west side is dramatically underserved when it comes to public transit, and it's only going to improve with a project like this."

But Campos, who sparred with Elsbernd at many turns throughout the lengthy discussion, said it was hard to see how traffic along 19th Avenue would improve with the addition of so many more cars. "You're talking about 9,450 parking spaces, plus 1,681 street parking spaces, so the total number is 11,131. ... So I'm trying to understand how such a significant increase will actually help congestion, which is what was said earlier. How's that something that will actually make things better, not worse?"


Unless you want to start paying $25 for a hamburger, you'd better damn well figure out how to house lower income service workers in San Francisco.

For a conservative tax whiner, you sure want to saddle San Franciscans with effective taxes and GHG increases that will far exceed the cost of providing affordable housing through the economic death of a thousand cuts paid for higher priced service workers who have to commute to the far flung exurbs in their cars.

How can the fragile economy handle the additional costs of paying those now-low wage workers to commute in? We're broke, if you've not noticed, and your solution to insolvency is to burden San Franciscans with new costs, instead of investing now to reduce ongoing costs.

Economic charlatan you are, a real quack, doc.


Posted by marcos on Mar. 31, 2011 @ 6:40 am

sector workers, as I am sure you've noticed from the press. And what those lose in extra transit costs they would gain in a generally lower COL elsewhere.

Plus of course we're going to have less of them in the future, as spending cuts at every level of government occur.

Posted by TheDoc on Mar. 31, 2011 @ 9:02 am

The trend has been to flat or lower wages over the past 30 years. But the trend is towards higher inflation for most products and services, inflation that is carved out of official statistics to keep the growth of "entitlements" pegged to CPI down.

Since when are burger flippers employed by the public sector? Are those nightmares of creeping socialism carried on the backs of overpaid organized public sector workers clouding your vision?

And we're talking about hours extra commute per day which does not cost nothing when petroleum prices are rising and adds more GHG to the atmosphere.

The issue of lopsided wealth distribution and "smaller government" remains an open question, as voters have expressed their desires for a greater government role over and again, just to see their desires shat upon by electeds corrupted by corporate power. Just because Democrats stayed home after Obama screwed us and the Tea Party came into offices does not mean that the Tea Party enjoys any sort of public support for their wacked out platform that sees "limited government" as appropriate in bedrooms and uteri.

Americans will continue rejecting those political forces serially that keep screwing us to appease the deities of economic sharia.


Posted by marcos on Mar. 31, 2011 @ 9:44 am

I make -very- little money by choice, and yet can still afford to live in San Francisco.

This is because past leaders wisely realized that it is both wrong (and as Marc points out even economically foolish) to allow the rich to drive people with low incomes out of the City; and so, because of rent control, I get by just fine.

We need to apply that same standard to Parkmerced.

Not just by protecting rent control by preventing demolitions, but also by preventing overwhelming the City with too many market rate homes; which thereby disenfranchises the votes and political power of the perpetually diminishing number of residents with lower incomes.

A result which is very bad for democracy.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Mar. 31, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

that you don't make a lot of money.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 31, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

Are you kidding me?
You advocate for keeping out an entire segment of the population because it would disenfranchise your personal vote and political power?? And that is what you consider democracy?
What an entitled person! It must be wonderful to have such a simple black and white view of the world.
poor = good
rich = bad
actively working to keep out the wrong kind of person = democracy

Posted by Joe on Mar. 31, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

...and if that's not an argument against rent control, I don't know what is.

Posted by grrlfriday on Apr. 01, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

Plain and simple, you can't take the City to 1.25 or 1.5 Million (the Goal of the Brown Machine) without creating a Manhattanization in our traffic.

What should be the real concern is how you will get 1.25 or 1.5 Million off this peninsula post-quake with both bridges out--but of course we don't have to worry about that until afterwards...

Posted by Charley_sf on Mar. 30, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

Joe -- here are some valid criticisms of the TARP program, by someone who should know -- Neil Barofsky, who has been special inspector general for TARP since 2008:

I just think it's silly to be flippant about something this important, it undermines your credibility on everything else.

Posted by grrlfriday on Mar. 30, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

We can only assume from the last part of this impartial report that Sean didn't answer the question and just went home to bed!

Posted by Patrick Brown on Mar. 31, 2011 @ 11:41 am