Letter to the Editor: Beverly Hills mayor — don’t stereotype us

Opinion, Open Forum / sfchronicle – excerpt

Response to San Francisco Chronicle April 10, 2019 – In “Beverly Hills by the bay”

The Chronicle gets a lot wrong, not the least its offensive stereotypical depiction of Beverly Hills.

Despite The Chronicle’s contention that Beverly Hills “outlaws apartments,” the fact remains that more than 50 percent of our residents are renters and more than 60 percent of our housing units are multifamily.

In opposition to, say, Oakland, we have retained our “missing middle.” Our city’s density at 6,140 residents per square mile is close to the density of the San Francisco urban area, which at 6,300 people per square mile is the second-densest in the U.S.
The editorial talks of “racist” zoning practices, presumably referring to single-family housing areas and the covenants which in the past banned Jews and African Americans, with the intimation that Beverly Hills is somehow looking to perpetuate those deplorable old days.

Fortunately, Beverly Hills has managed to overcome racist zoning and is currently a majority-minority city, perhaps the only Jewish-majority city outside of Israel. Our “homogenous” city includes Holocaust survivors and more recent religious refugees.
It’s sad that The Chronicle has to resort to dog-whistle stereotypes in falsely describing a tight-knit majority-minority community.

We oppose SBS50 because, to paraphrase former LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, it is a real-estate bill, not a housing bill. In our city, it would result in luxury condos, not affordable housing. It’s fairly obvious: building more Rolls-Royces won’t reduce the price of Priuses. Building affordable housing is the best way to address the challenge, and we support targeted measures to help nonprofit
affordable housing developers.

Punitive, one-size-fits-all measures concocted by Sacramento politicians to enrich wealthy for-profit developers are not the solution to our state’s housing affordability issues; the San Francisco Board of Supervisors should proudly stand with the diverse communities throughout our state in strongly opposing this crony capitalist giveaway.

– Mayor John Mirisch, Beverly Hills(more)

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