SF needs a mayor who will tax, spend, and regulate

By Calvin Welch : 48hills – excerpt

City-Hall-Chessboard

A new life-size Chessboard has appeared in front of City Hall as a reminder that old-fashioned political strategies can work as well, if not better, than money, media buys and sound bites. Sim City does not exist in the real world, people do and people vote. Regardless who wins, new games will begin after the June 5 election. photo by zrants.

Consider a short list of the realities facing our next mayor:

The social/economic/cultural transformation of the city through unchecked hyper-gentrification caused by a development policy that has, at its heart, maximizing speculative real-estate profit at the expense of existing residents and the businesses and activities that serve them…(more)

A local-government public sector dominated by bureaucrats, policies and programs that see “facilitating the market” as the primary goal of government…

An alarming under-investment in our urban public infrastructure …

A growing assault on local democratic government specifically aimed at San Francisco led by, at the state level, real estate speculators and their legislator allies seeking an end to “local control”…

The rapidly growing re-segregation of our civic life involving the toxic brew of race and income inequality,..

Given these realities, the June 5th election for mayor has the unmistakable feeling of being a directional election defining San Francisco’s future… (more)

The tax and spend part will be a matter or who is taxed and how the money is spent. There is a growing resentment of government overreach into citizens’ lifstyles and pockets that runs counter to government priorities that appear to favor more government employees and larger tax bases to support them. Workers and consumers, overwhelmed by the load now, are being asked to sign onto more debt. They may balk and repeal some of the taxes. At least one recall is in play now. More could follow.

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The myth of long-term housing “underproduction”

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Mission-Bay-at-Third

New Mission Bay condos on Third Street next to the T-Line near the ballpark, by zrants

Has California—and SF—failed to build housing for the past 50 years? The data show otherwise

In an interview with Phil Matier on CBS April 1, State Sen. Scott Wiener repeated a line I’ve heard from him, and from many others in politics and the news media, over and over:

“There’s a reason we don’t build much housing,” he said, “and it’s been that way for 50 years.”

This is one of the central pieces of the housing market mythology that defines the debate over SB 827 and the larger question of development policy in the city, the region, and the state.

And when you look at the actual facts, it doesn’t seem to hold up…

Here’s how Fernando Marti, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, puts it:…

What the data shows is that, while the rate of production generally tracked population growth, often faster, it crashed in 2008, and even with the booming economy, it hasn’t come back. The sooner we start understanding what’s really been happening since 2008, rather than blaming a fictitious “50 years of underproduction,” the sooner we can get to real solutions that matter.. (more)

Agents of Change: Civic Idealism and the Making of San Francisco

By Benjamin Grant : spur – excerpt

A city built and controlled by private enterprise

San Francisco was a village of 500 people in 1848, just wrested from Mexico and renamed, when news of the gold found at Sutter’s Mill reached the East Coast. By 1855, the population had reached 50,000.

Nineteenth-century San Francisco went from a rough-and-tumble boomtown to a Victorian city with cosmopolitan ambitions. Its familiar contours emerged as the arid peninsula’s hills were gridded, and its bayshore filled with sand, blasted hilltops and hastily abandoned ships. It matched astounding diversity and relative tolerance with gross inequality and greed, giving rise to an active labor movement marred by spasms of nativist race-baiting and violence.

It was a city built and controlled by private enterprise, and basic services like transit, water and recreation were speculative ventures tied to the city’s rapid growth. City government was corrupt and weak, and party bosses doled out patronage in the form of monopoly franchises for essential services. Private streetcar lines were extended into the dunes, opening adjacent land for rapid development, while the Spring Valley Water Company snapped up watersheds all the way to Livermore.

San Francisco’s development was driven by a small group of oligarchs who ploughed fortunes made in mining, timber and railroads into a new speculative venture: an urban economy based on manufacturing, finance, trade and urban development. These miners, industrialists, financiers and real estate speculators set out to forge a worldclass metropolis in a single generation, enriching themselves in the process. They built the city that would collapse and burn in 1906: an exuberant and frankly ambitious Victorian jumble that was  monument to its own explosive growth…(more)

Can Big Tech Be Tamed?

by Gary Kamiya : modernluxury – excerpt
(includes Photo-illustrations of Tech Titans by Clark Miller)

As the tech industry grows to unfathomable proportions, San Francisco needs to grow to match it. A call to arms for a city under siege.

I. A MIGHTY RIVER

Cities, it’s been said, are like rivers, and San Francisco has always been a leaping, unpredictable one, constantly jumping its banks and fed by the most varied and unlikely springs. I’ve been splashing in this unruly current for almost half a century. But several years ago, something happened upstream. A great deluge of money of a magnitude not seen since the bonanzas of the 19th century began to crumble our protective levees, hoisting San Francisco’s skyline, swamping its housing, stalling its traffic, and profoundly altering its character…

The combined market value of Apple, Facebook, and Google’s parent company, Alphabet, all headquartered within 40 miles of downtown San Francisco, is more than $2.2 trillion—about the same as the gross domestic product of Italy, the eighth-largest economy in the world… (more)

 

 

SF mayoral hopefuls, minus Breed, hold heated housing debate

One candidate in the San Francisco mayor’s race wants to shake out the pockets of real estate developers. Another wants to sue speculators who he said are putting people out on the street. A third called for a rigorous analysis of the city’s housing stock… (more)

The mayoral candidates have some good ideas to share. Let’s hope that whoever wins, these ideas are considered for development. Please comment on the source if you can.

San Francisco mayoral debate: Candidates promise housing, axe for planning department

Adam Brinklow : curbed – excerpt (including video)\

At debate organized by YIMBY groups, Breed, Leno, and Alioto pitch housing and take aim at department heads

Mayoral candidates London Breed (current president of the Board of Supervisors, former acting mayor), Angela Alioto (former supervisor), and Mark Leno (former supervisor, state assemblyman, and state senator) convened with YIMBY Action and San Francisco Housing Action Coalition at the Swedish American Hall Monday night to debate housing, win over YIMBY voters, and address what moderator J.K. Dineen called the city’s “pathetic track record of building housing.”

All three candidates promised more housing to one degree or another and all made a point of criticizing San Francisco’s long and difficult entitlements process and, if elected, promised less red tape. (They also took time out to joust at each other over how each finances his or her campaign, drawing occasional boos from the packed house.)… (more)

Mayoral Debate. 3.5.18

Fear and Loathing of L.A. and S.F. on the Campaign Trail

By Joe Mathews : zocalopublicsquare – excerpt

Our Gubernatorial Race Could Turn on Which City Californians Resent Most

Which city—San Francisco or Los Angeles—do you love to hate more?

This is shaping up to be California’s question for 2018. Each of the two top contenders for governor is a former mayor of one of those cities, with each embodying certain grievances that Californians hold about their hometowns. And so their campaigns—and the many moneyed interests with a stake in the outcome—are already playing to resentments about these two places.

Gavin Newsom, like San Francisco, is derided as too wealthy, too white, too progressive, too cerebral, too cold, and so focused on a culturally liberal agenda that you might call him out of touch. Antonio Villaraigosa, like Los Angeles, is portrayed as too street, too Latino, too instinctual, too warm, and so unfocused in his economically liberal ideas that you might say he lacks a center…(more)

“Which city—San Francisco or Los Angeles—do you love to hate more?”

That would depend whichever city you reside in. San Francisco was sued by former Mayor Newsom, who came to his senses and agreed to settle. If he does become Governor there is no guarantee he will not continue to attempt to undermine his former home town. There is not widespread support for him among those in the know about the case.

No sure how Los Angeles feels about their former Mayor. Do most enough pepole blame him for the traffic and stack and pack housing that is gentrifying their neighborhoods to bother to vote against him?

After years of anti-car legislation and a failed attempt to get people out of their cars? It seems the more dollars cities pour into fighting cars the more cars their are. Maybe the best solution is to do nothing and see what happens. Given the higher power and more time, will either of these former mayors quit beating that dead horse?

The state Democratic Convention delegates failed to anoint anyone, showing just how divided the party is and leading one to believe that other candidates may stand a chance. Stay tuned…

 

 

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