David Chiu helps Leland Yee


It's nice, sometimes, to be in Sacramento. You can run for local office without having to vote on local issues. Witness State Sen. Leland Yee, who didn't have to take a formal position on the Park Merced project -- and now can bask in the wonder of seeing David Chiu hand him thousands of tenant votes.

Here's the deal: Chiu and Yee are both fighting for progressive voters in the mayor's race. Most progressive groups will endorse John Avalos, but Yee and Chiu want those second-place votes, badly. Yee's already got his West-side base, and getting a number two nod from, say, the Milk Club or SEIU 1021 won't hurt him a bit with those voters. But he's not strong with Chinatown leaders (Rose Pak despises him) and he's in a race with three (so far) Asian candidates. He's also contending with a bunch of other center-moderate types (Dennis Herrera, Bevan Dufty) in a very crowded race.

His strategy -- and it's smart -- is to court the left, get those second- and third-place nods on the East side of town and emerge from the pack when all the votes are counted. Problem is, that's Chiu's natural constituency (or should be) -- he talks about "our shared progressive values," was elected as a progressive and, frankly, can't win this race just by sticking to the center. It's just too crowded there with too many people who have won citywide races.

And Chiu just gave up a huge chunk of the city's left by alienating every tenant group in town.

As Dean Preston of Tenants Together put it in BeyondChron (which is generally quite friendly to Chiu):

 Chiu reached a backroom deal with the developer and provided the crucial sixth vote to approve the largest demolition of rent-controlled housing in San Francisco since the redevelopment of the Fillmore. Despite a good record on tenant rights issues before his work on Parkmerced, Chiu has now earned the distrust of tenants across the city.

The tenants aren't always a solid bloc. Mitchell Omerberg of the Affordable Housing Alliance and Ted Gullicksen at the Tenants Union don't always agree on candidates or issues. But there was no division or dissent on this one. Omerberg, who has been known to slide to the center, was adamant that Chiu's vote -- the swing vote to move the project forward -- was "deeply disappointing." He told us: "In general it's an unwise, immoral plan to demolish a neighborhood. When you demolish people's homes, you always regret it later."

So now Yee can go to progressives and say -- as he did at the Democratic County Central Committee -- that he has all kinds of concerns about Park Merced and make it sound as if he opposes it, and use that leverage to peel some endorsements and votes away from Chiu. It's ironic: When he was on the Board of Supervisors, Yee was hardly known as a pro-tenant vote. His record on tenant issues, while ancient history in political terms, was going to haunt him with some progressives (and still may). But now he's gotten a boost -- if only because he and Chiu are the ones most agressively working to get endorsements from progressive groups, and Chiu just shot himself in both feet.



Agreed, if "progressives" think they have low housing prices and prevent every housing development, they don't understand the math. Even with rent control in cities like San Francisco, it has done little to prevent housing prices from spiraling out of control.

Anyone of the 5 who voted against Park Merced could of offered their own amendments if Chiu's didn't have "teeth" as people say. Why didn''t they? Or are progressive just San Francisco's party of no?

I get the feeling that many progressives would rather see the city preserved in plastic wrap than see any changes. This also seems to include the city's homeless population and the oh so desirable vibrancy and "colour" of areas like the TL and Market Street.

Posted by Guest on May. 26, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

The point is that the same modernization and densification can be achieved on the west side of town without destroying an existing neighborhood. It is destructive of both community, and the environment and atmosphere, to wastefully plow down an existing neighborhood to build a new one. Destroying the village to save it is for war, not city planning. Fortress Investment has gone to war, with our community.

And the rent control issue cannot be solved by local amendments to the project. Only a dramatic change to state law can protect the rent controlled status of those garden apartments. Add to all of this 6,000 new parking spaces and the result is an indefensible urban plan. So, the progressive supervisors did not offer amendments because the only way to make this a good project is to reject it and force the developer to completely redesign it to a far smaller and humane scale which will retrofit, instead of destroy, the neighborhood.

Chiu is fully aware of all this and he is supporting this disgusting unacceptable project anyway, because he's a corporate sell-out. Fortress and its former Goldman Sachs executive leadership have bought his joke ass.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 27, 2011 @ 1:21 am

How do you propose densification without tearing down existing units? Where would you be able to build new high rises on the westside?

Folks like Marc complain even when they build high rises in areas where there aren't preexisting neighborhoods. http://www.fogcityjournal.com/wordpress/2620/wieners-preservation-of-dev...

In Marc's words, "I’d prefer it stay as dilapidated, disused parcels." Exactly, the kind of sentiment your average San Franciscan would disagree with.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 2:19 am

Along the Geary mass transit corridor above existing low story businesses would be perfect. And SOMA has a lot of bombed out areas very near the downtown transit hubs which should be redeveloped. Just two examples. I'm sure there are others.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 27, 2011 @ 2:49 am

Of course! Why would developers ever lie?

From the SFGate article on the same subject:
"PJ Johnston, spokesman for the developer, said supervisors had no reason to think the developers will not keep their promises."

I just burst out laughing when I saw this, reported as straight news no less! Of course! Why would the developer ever lie and screw people over? They'd never do that!

PJJohnston, IIRC, was spokesman for none other than Willie Brown, so he's had a lot of training in how to lie with a straight face.

Incidentally, the comments on SfGate are really negative toward Chiu. They're all pretty conservative over there, so they don't give a rats ass about rent control. But they're worried about parking, traffic, the potential insolvency of a very shady developer, etc. But one thing they have in common with progressives is that they recognize what a lying, slimy, rotten, sellout douchebag David Chiu is.

The most popular comment sums it all up:
"Chiu has a serious, self-inflicted political problem. On top of being Peskin's puppet, he's managed to simultaneously make himself too moderate for "progressives" and too "progressive" for moderates."

How quaint... they still think he's Peskin's puppet. But the rest is dead on. Nobody can trust the guy.

Folks, I think we're seeing the beginning of the end of the David Chiu for Mayor campaign. Willie and Rose are shitting in their pants right about now.

Posted by Greg on May. 26, 2011 @ 11:30 pm

Too bad 90% of the regulars who posts on Guardian and SFGate message boards are the most deluded crazies. Neither side represents the average San Francisco. The fact that the extremists on the left and the right think David Chiu is a conservative and communist nazi respectively, shows that he represents the interests of regular San Franciscans who aren't 100% anti-development and 100% pro-development shills.

Posted by Guest on May. 26, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

It does not work that way.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 6:51 am

Don't forget that Malia Cohen also showed her true colors by siding with the speculators and developers. No hope for change there. Just a younger, cuter version of Auntie Tomasophenia.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on May. 27, 2011 @ 5:57 am

... and of course, what else did you expect from the little corporate 'choo-choo'. other than that the smoke blowing outa his arse would get in your eyes.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on May. 27, 2011 @ 6:38 am


Over half of the City housing stock is older than Parkmerced. Should we tear it all down too? Guy testifying at the hearing listened to union guys calling for jobs and said: "I'm sympathetic to your need for a job but you shouldn't have to tear down my home to get one.". Says it all.

Key point you've all overlooked is that we are the second most dense urban area in the U.S. and we are water challenged (all the rainy seasons won't be like this one). SF is at saturation point.

Adachi for Mayor!

Gonzalez for Mayor!

Go, go you 'Son of B'!!

Posey could play with one leg.


Posted by Guest h. brown on May. 27, 2011 @ 6:45 am

I cannot imagine why anyone, prog or mod, would trust Chiu.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 7:35 am

I'm a tenant and have had points in my life when I or family were Section 8-ers. So I get it. Physically tearing apart neighborhoods with an eye to the future isn't always a good argument (see BART construction and impact on the Mission).

Yet, I'm stuck at how else do we make sure that there's affordable housing in the future? I've come across articles that say that the # of A.H. units will at least be the same with new development and more environmentally friendly units. Isn't that good?

What are the alternatives? One alternative is to do nothing at all. What then will these units look like in 20 years?

Calling the ones that voted on this evil or not progressive is a little excessive. The last thing we need is a city that has a government that's stuck and doesn't do anything.

Posted by Af. Housing. on May. 27, 2011 @ 8:26 am

I don't think you do get it.

Imagine if this were happening to your home right now.

Posted by Left of the Left on May. 27, 2011 @ 8:32 am

I wish they would upgrade my home like this.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

It won't be "your" home after the upgrade.

That's why it's getting upgrade.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

You don't have a right to shove your wishes down someone else's throat.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 27, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

From what I hear, Yee is almost as bad on tenant's rights issues as Chiu apparently is.

Chiu's vote is a watershed that will help one person and one person only: John Avalos. I doubt that Yee will gain any dividends from this. Besides, the whole shark-fin soup thing is still weighing him down. (I bet most of Avalos's supporter's second choices will go to Herrera anyway -- but who knows.)

And btw, the Milk Club doesn't do rank-choice endorsements, at least not yet.

Posted by Common Sense SF on May. 27, 2011 @ 9:30 am

Leland Yee has been consistently decent on tenants issues for over a decade.

And shark fin soup? Please. I actually agree with him 100% on this issue -he opposes finning (as I do), and he also opposed the bill to ban shark fin soup, which I also totally agree with, because it was an absolutely terrible bill. I can tell you why at length, but this isn't what this article is about, and nobody cares about shark fin soup anyway when people are losing their homes and we have a massive budget crisis to deal with.

Posted by Greg on May. 27, 2011 @ 9:55 am

...but your tone reeks of desperation. Doth protest too much.

---Yee has flipflopped on the shark fin issue, and people do indeed care about this horrific practice and the fate of the oceans' ecosystem. (Remember Yee saying that folks were racist against Chinese folks for criticizing finning?)

I'm not a Yee hater; I'm just calling 'em as I see 'em. And Yee's record on tenants issues isn't stellar. (Free yourself from your bunker mentality.)

Posted by Common Sense SF on May. 27, 2011 @ 10:15 am

Trust Leland Yee to say whatever he needs to say in front of tenants' groups to get their support, then screw them when in office. Typical Leland Yee.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 9:55 am

Show me the constituency Leland Yee made promises to, and then campaign screwed while in office.

Compile me a list of people who feel betrayed by Yee.

And then tell me with a straight face this isn't a guy who's moved left.

Posted by cm on May. 28, 2011 @ 8:50 am

This is such a typical baseless smear. Look, rent control and tenants issues are absolutely key to me. I would never support Leland if I thought for a minute that he would screw tenants when he's in office.

Chiu on the other hand would screw his mother if it got him elected. Case in point, he's screwing tenants right here and now after using support of every housing rights group to get elected.

Posted by Greg on May. 27, 2011 @ 10:03 am

Want to talk about a hypocrite - How about John Avalos- wnats there to be 50% + contractors to be from SF when doing contracts, then turns around and votes against thousands of union jobs that can be created with the Park Merced development. Typical poverty pimp mentality -

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 10:17 am

As was said above, you don't have the right to tear down someone's home to give yourself a job.

That's what Parkmerced is about, and that is why Avalos quite rightly voted against it.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 27, 2011 @ 10:33 am

Nobody is losing their home. All will get an upgraded home to live in at the same price they are currently paying. Again...a distortion of the facts.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

Interesting perspective on reality 'Guest'. So you don't mind if I come and, without asking your permission, destroy the home you live in right now, and make you move to another one that I think is better for you, even as you are saying 'no'?

There is a term for that.

It called tyranny.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 27, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

As was said above, you don't have the right to tear down someone's home to give yourself a job.

That's what Parkmerced is about, and that is why Avalos quite rightly voted against it.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 27, 2011 @ 10:43 am

Good for you David Chiu. The old lady called Parkmerced needs a complete makeover and needs to get with the 21st century.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 10:25 am

So you don't mind if someone comes along and tears down your home and neighborhood?

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

Its about time something good is coming to Parkmerced. Good work David Chiu.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 10:30 am

Chiu campaign:

In your posted response you claim this article is a smear against a public servant.

How is this article a smear? Do you disagree with the facts presented in the article? Because otherwise it's just reporting on what your candidate did . . . behind closed doors with a predatory real estate developer without input from affected communities.

This approach, by the way, is the precise opposite of grassroots participation in government. There's simply no way to spin this in Chiu's favor. He has shown once again that he has no principles and only does what he thinks is best for himself politically (though I think he took a serious misstep this time).

He was publicly open about the fact that he is not primarily guided by principles when he stated that he was "elected to get things done" not to take stands on issues. There's certainly no virtue in "getting things done" for predatory developers who want to tear down neighborhoods. Sorry, but every leader who ever mattered took stands for justice. Clearly we can't expect that from Chiu.

I'm glad he's showing his true colors now so that he'll have no chance of becoming mayor, but it's tragic that the tenants and community of Park Merced must suffer the consequences of this very sleazy deal.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

As a current long-term Parkmerced resident, it has become apparent to me that opponents of this project have not read the development agreement with The City. No one is being evicted and new sustainable housing will be created before a "fully paid move in" to new and better housing happens. This is a 20-30 year project (which was the timeline for the original construction of Parkmerced) and it creates new family oriented housing in a city which underserves that demographic. I applaud all six Supervisors who approved the project. I'm not sure why David Chui is the focus of criticism. The progressive Supervisors David Campos, John Avalos, Ross Mirkarimi, Jane Kim and Eric Mar, who opposed the project, may realize that in eco-sensible San Francisco, their votes may affect their political career.

No one likes change but this change is for better "green" housing options, better transit, a better Parkmerced and a better San Francisco. Most of my neighbors are in favor of the project but don't have the time to attend the many meetings to express their satisfaction and belief in the current ownership of Parkmerced. The Chronicle editors said it best: "While a few residents wax sentimental about the complex, the homes are showing the effects of substandard construction materials and a lack of modern amenities such as insulation and dishwashers. A rehabilitation of the existing units would be prohibitively expensive - and the cost of the upgrades would be passed on to the tenants. This overhaul of Parkmerced is a far better option for both the tenants and the city. This is a rare opportunity to add transit-oriented housing on the west side. The supervisors should approve the project."

Posted by James on May. 27, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

Wrong. The Development Agreement has been deeply scrutinized and is full of disastrous flaws; including the fact that the claims the project is 'green' are completely false.

The project -raises- greenhouse gas emissions for at least its first 25 years and thereafter will continue to raise them because of higher emissions created by ridiculously allowing 6,000 more parking spaces in the project.

Don't take everything you read at face value...

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 27, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

David Chiu and Leland Yee are typical politicians. They both posture and manipulate in order to promote their careers. It would make little difference to the city if one rather than the other became mayor.

John Avalos is more authentic than either Chiu or Yee. But Avalos will never be able to get enough support from the undecided middle voters to win.

Jeff Adachi is the most intelligent public official in SF. However, many in our local progressive sect demonize him as a heretic because of his pension-reform measure.

If SF progressivism had not degenerated in recent years into a paranoid, anti-intellectual sect, they could save the situation.

If they had not degenerated, they would not now be beholden to the paranoid troglodytes. They would welcome intelligence and independent thinking to progressivism. They would unite behind Adachi.

The theme of an Adachi campaign would be - Let's bring intelligence, effectiveness, and integrity to city government

An intelligent movement, welcoming to diversity, could make such a claim and be believed.

However, a paranoid, anti-intellectual sect cannot.

And there you have the core irony of this election.

Posted by Arthur Evans on May. 27, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

I am a resident of Parkmerced, and I approve of the plan to demolish my garden rental so I can move into a brand new apartment that is energy and water efficient. I know there are many other residents who also approve, or at least don't disapprove, because I walked neighborhoods with a Parkmerced employee to discuss the plan with residents. I commend David Chiu, as well as the other Board members, for voting for this plan. I consider them very progressive, recognizing that Parkmerced is a neighborhood of the past, and this plan will provide very desirable housing for the future. San Francisco is a great place to live. I applaud this plan that will make it much, much better.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

Jeanie, why should the hundreds (and there are indeed hundreds) of Parkmerced residents who oppose the developer plan and want to stay in their homes, be forced to leave them, just because you and some others of a small minority think the project is a good idea?

Is the concept of living in real democracy so meaningless and alien to you that you do not care what these other people think, want or need.

You need to take a serious look in the mirror and decide if the person looking back is in fact a human being...

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 27, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

I suggest you re-read my post. Not only did I not meet anyone who was adamately opposed to the plan, but the overall survey only found 9% who did not want the plan to go forward. I have talked with residents who complain of the mould, the lack of insulation to ward off the cold and the noise of neighbors. I know of people who have moved because of the maintenance problems. I am looking forward to a community that will provide so much more than what we have now.

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

Yes, how dare you, Parkmerced resident who supports the opposite of Eric Brooks. Don't you know he knows better? He knows more about what you deserve or want than you do. He's the king of the progressives, the most knowledgeable about green anything and everything, blah blah blah.

Low blow to tell a person who lives in a development, supports the change, that they should question their humanity. I was wondering if I should buy a hybrid. Do you have any opposition?

Posted by Eric Brooks is an Idiot on Jun. 03, 2011 @ 11:01 am

What are you talking about 'Idiot'?

My remarks referred to what hundreds of Parkmerced -residents- opposed to the project are saying themselves. This whole fight is about -their- stand against project that will demolish their homes...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 03, 2011 @ 11:57 am

Well, as long as you're speaking on behalf of the community you don't live in or represent or have a base in or service through a tenant's right organization, go forward with your patronage. It would make too much sense for residents of the development actually debate amongst themselves about what makes for them and advocate for what they believe.
Like I said, how dare you Parkmerced resident development supporter, how dare you have an opinion or view on this matter. Do you know Eric Brooks represents all things progressive?

Posted by Eric Brooks is an Idiot on Jun. 09, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

Apparently you have trouble reading simple English. (So see the video link explained below so this whole thing will be much easier for you to understand.)

To repeat.

I'm not speaking for anyone, I am simply repeating what Parkmerced residents have said themselves in pubic hearings, on the record.

To see these residents speaking for themselves, go to:



Click on the 'Video' link next to the topmost Dec 9, 2010 hearing date entry, which reads:

"12/09/10 03h 40m"

and then watch Parkmerced residents lay it down, for a full 3 and a half hours, as to what they do and do not want in their own neighborhood.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Jun. 09, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

The ill informed and purposely slanderous groups and some of their glory seeking members are excoriating David Chiu. Not once have I heard them actually talking about residents rights, but always about their opposition to the Parkmerced plan. They wiil continure to slander, libel, and otherwise smear anyone who does not confirm to their distorted views. The real shame is on them. I will vote for Chiu.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

The rights of the residents is all that the opponents are talking about. In case you haven't noticed, the rights of residents is the reason why this project has so much opposition. The residents pleaded in city hall for the board not to screw them, but they didn't listen.

As far as the focus on Chiu, that's because we expected this from all the mod/conservatives on the board. But Chiu got elected as an advocate of tenants and defender of rent control. I remember protesting a big landlord fundraiser for his opponent, Joe Alioto Jr., along with other activists organized by the tenants union. The big landlords shouldn't have bothered. David Chiu probably suits them just fine right about now.

Posted by Greg on May. 27, 2011 @ 9:28 pm

I think Eric touched upon a fundamental point in his above post entitled "Why."

Why indeed. Even if it were a minority (and it's not), but even if it were, why should they be forced from their homes because a developer feels they can make more money?

How you answer that question all depends on whether you feel that a renter has a right to their home or not. I know people, some on this comment board, who argue vociferously that it's not the tenant's home; it's the landlord's home and they can do whatever they damn well please. Others, myself included, argue that as long as you're paying the rent, it's your home and you have the rights to be secure in that home like any other human being.

Forget the fact that the deal sucks on the merits. The bigger, more fundamental problem, is that it was decided between the developer and the politicians, and the residents who live there have no say on whether they can stay in their homes.

Posted by Greg on May. 27, 2011 @ 11:20 pm

Gosh Greg, I think I will go over to Enterprise tomorrow and rent a car and declare it mine.

Posted by Guest on May. 27, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

As long as you keep paying "rent" for the car each day Enterprise won't mind.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2011 @ 8:24 am

Well Greg, democracy works if its going your way, right?. There is no official poll declaring the opposition to this project the majority. It was obvious thru the hearings that many people. or as you say, hundreds were for the development because there tired of living in a falling down old home with serious maintenance issues and paying a high price at that.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2011 @ 12:15 am

Total Bullshit 'Guest'.

I attended every hearing on Parkmerced.

There were never more than a handful of Parkmerced residents who supported the project.

Parkmerced residents who opposed the project outnumbered them at least 10-1.

In the one Planning Commission hearing that was held near Parkmerced itself, so many Parkmerced residents showed up to oppose the project that they filled an entire auditorium and shouted down city staff until staff let them speak immediately at public comment. The comments went on for many hours and comprised the entire meeting.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 28, 2011 @ 2:32 am

Correct me if I am wrong, but the proposed ParkMerced completion plan is 2040? What are they building a Theme Park? I used to live in ParkMerced, 12 years, in the Garden Apartments and though not as modern as the towers, they were very nice and quite comfortable. My thoughts are that a lot of people, particularly the elderly, will be dead before they are able to return to their newly, rent controlled apartments if this deadline is true. A lot of people are going to be displaced with this massive development project especially the elderly who given this deadline won't be returning. Given the state of our economy, a more humane approach would be a smaller project where you use existing structures and revamp them without displacing residents. Think cash for caulkers and the green economy approach rather than massive projects that are fit only wealthy developers and their egos.

As a home owner in the Sunset, lucky enough to own a 1949 Doleger Duplex with my spouse and long-time friend, we retro-fited and revamped our home quite inexpensively and are looking into a new roof with solar given the rebate. Most people who work for a living are revamping existing property and retrofitting.

Thank goodness, the Gang of 6 including David Chiu, does not have the power to decide the fate of the rest of the Sunset and structures like mine that were completed before they were born. Most of us would be looking at the street too, like the folks in the Garden apartments who have every right to be angry and are organizing to fight back.

Posted by Guest lucretiamott on May. 28, 2011 @ 5:09 am

Maybe you should run for Politics Eric. a handful of supporters showed up in favor for the project? Now that is real bullshit! Of course the demands for commentary at the beginning of the meeting at SFSU were only a tactic to keep the dozens of residents who hadn't been to meetings prior from gaining any insight to this project and what it offered them.

Posted by Guest on May. 28, 2011 @ 7:42 am