Why I hope Sup. Farrell is wrong about condos


So Sup. Mark Farrell thinks the Board of Supervisors is ready to turn its back on the tenants movement and vote for legislation that would increase evictions, eliminate rental housing and undermine one of the most important pieces of tenant legislation to come out of City Hall in decades?

Gawd, I hope he's wrong.

From the Examiner:

Similar proposals have gone nowhere at City Hall. Farrell acknowledged it has been a “third rail,” but he suggested the political climate has shifted. “This is a different Board of Supervisors and this is a different time,” Farrell said.

Yeah, it's a different Board of Supervisors. Five years ago, the 8 Washington project would never have been approved in its current form. Five years ago, Ed Lee wouldn't have been elected mayor.

But I don't think this board is ready to abandon the tenant vote.

Making condo conversions easier is a huge deal. When San Francisco put a limit on condo conversions more than 20 years ago, it was a landmark law that put the preservation of affordable, rent-controlled housing over the needs of speculators. Over the past decade, the single greatest threat to tenants in this city is Ellis-Act evictions done to create tenancies in common. And the only check on more of that happening is the disincentive posed by the limits on condo conversions.

If Farrell gets his way, and TIC owners can bypass the conversion lottery, tenant organizations will be furious. There are, at best, five reliable pro-landlord votes on the board, so It's not going to happen without either David Chiu, Christina Olague or Jane Kim siding with Farrell. A lot of things suprise me in local politics, but that would be a shocker.


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