Funding for Affordable Housing Headed for Vote in State Legislature

Host: Michael Krasny : kqed – excerpt (includes audio)
Guy Marzorati, reporter, KQED’s California Politics and Government Desk
Laura Foote Clark, executive director, Yimby Action
Tim Redmond, editor, 48 Hills.org
Fernando Marti, co-director, Council of Community Housing Organizations…

The California State legislature is set to vote on a package of affordable housing bills as early as this Friday. Among the bills is SB 35, which would streamline the approval process for development projects in cities that are not meeting regional affordable housing goals. Supporters of SB 35 say the measure is needed to tackle the state’s critical housing shortage. But opponents say the bill wrests control of housing policy from local governments and could actually make housing more expensive in low-income Bay Area neighborhoods. We take up the debate… Listen to the show here

RELATED:

Comments by Tim Redmond:

…SB 35, the Wiener bill that would promote more market-rate housing development in the mistaken belief that more luxury condos will bring housing prices down, will come to the Assembly floor any day now. Fernando Marti, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, and I were on KQED Forum Friday debating this bill with Laura Foote Clark, executive director of Yimby Action; you can listen to the show here

What I told Clark was that the whole premise of SB 35 is false. No housing gets built without financing, and most financing comes from investors who want the maximum rate of return. The private market right now will never build housing for the middle class. If you built so much that prices started to soften, that money would go elsewhere.

Much of the affordable housing that cities get comes from forcing developers into building more below-market units than they want. Take away that tool and you will get less affordable housing. Not surprisingly, the landlords and developers are among the biggest backers of this bill, and tenant and anti-eviction groups are against it(more)

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Should we build lots more housing in San Francisco? Three reasons people disagree

by Julia Galef – excerpt

Some people, such as YIMBYs, advocate building lots more housing in San Francisco. Their basic argument is:

Housing in SF is the priciest in the country, with the average one bedroom apartment renting for over $3,000 per month (compared to the nationwide average of $1,200.)

The main reason rents are so high is because the supply of housing has been artificially restricted — new developments are constantly getting blocked by land use regulations and neighborhood associations. Meanwhile, demand to live in SF continues to rise. And since supply is not keeping pace, rents go up, as a growing number of would-be tenants outbid each other for the limited housing available.

Therefore, it’s important that we find a way to increase the rate at which we’re building new housing in SF, or it will be a city in which only the rich can afford to live.

I’ve been trying to understand why others are critical of this argument. I think there are three main areas of disagreement between what I’ll call the advocates and the critics, and I’ll briefly explain each in turn. (Note that I’m trying to present the strongest version of each argument, which may be different from the most common version.)… (more)

Newsom’s lawyer says voters can’t be trusted

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

In stunning argument, Lite Gov’s legal team says land use decisions should be taken away from voters — and that the Port’s future should be all about big-money development

It leaves Newsom, who is running for governor, in the odd political position of saying that the voters can’t be trusted.

Deputy Attorney General Joel Jacobs also argued that the main issue at hand was money – how much the Port could make from commercial development. In essence, he said that the five commissioners, all appointed by the mayor, should be allowed to approve whatever sort of tall buildings they wanted if it would bring money into the agency, and the rest of San Francisco should have no check on their decisions.

“The more revenue generated by profit-making projects, the more the Port can do to promote other uses,” he said… (more)

IF THEY DON’T TRUST US HOW CAN WE TRUST THEM?

While our readers are pondering that amazing claim, we are working to put together a list of all the bills currently running through Sacramento that are base on one theme: Removing voters’ rights to determine how the state government functions by changing the laws that limit the state’s rights to decide for them. These claims prove that the state legislature does not trust us. Why should we trust them?

There is a long list of bills. Let’s start with AB 943, authored by Santiago, that raises the bar for referendums on developments in California by requiring a 2/3rds majority to pass. This bill has already bee passed by the Assembly and was sent to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee this week.

Find out who voted for this bill and let them know you are onto them. Call or write the Senate members to stop them from passing this one. Meanwhile, stay tuned for more bills to fight.

Plan Bay Area 2040 Draft Plan

If you are one of the unhappy San Francisco residents or a middle class citizen this plan will not please you.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) will host an open house to receive comments regarding Plan Bay Area 2040.  The open house is Wednesday, May 17, 2017 between 6:30pm and 8:30pm at the MTC headquarters at 375 Beal Street ( about a 10 minute walk for Embarcadero Station). DRAFT PLAN LINK

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is now available; comment on the DEIR and the Draft Plan through June 1.

Some statistics include:
*  501,000 jobs added between 2011 and 2015
*  65,000 housing units built between 2011 and 2015
*  Regionally 1 house built for every 8 jobs created.

HOUSING
Where will the region plan for the 820,000 new households forecasted between 2010 and 2040.  Regionally by 2040, 3.4 million households are forecasted. 46% will be in the “Big 3 Cities”  — SF, Oakland, San Jose.

JOBS
1.3 million new jobs  (36% in the Big  3 Cities)

So what does it all mean?  Climate Change, Housing costs and displacement, Economic Development and Environmental Impact and Transportation.

A question raised at a recent MTC committee meeting was: Should cities seeking economic development take responsibility for housing?  (Think the Menlo Park Facebook Expansion).  The local Menlo Park approval for 6,000 more jobs has regional impact.

No mention of a Public Regional Express Bus System to move the population.   More Private Commuter buses operating on your residential street?

Draft Plan and Draft EIR at Plan Bay Area 2040 Draft Plan

RELATED:

It’s not surprising that President Donald Trump’s proposed tax plan would hollow out the middle class. Income tax reductions will be robust for corporations and those in the highest income brackets. Others won’t fare so well.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren warns of the demise of the middle class in her book, “This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class.” She writes about growing up in the 1950s, when minimum wage supported a family of four. In 2017, minimum wage can’t support a household of two.

But hold on a minute before simply bashing Trump. Are you surprised that progressive California Democrats are implementing strategies that increase economic inequality?…

Now Plan Bay Area 2040’s “Regional Forecast of Jobs, Population and Housing” shows the rich and the poor growing to the highest numbers, but not the middle. The historic bell-shaped curve is inverted…

The plan forecasts: “The ‘hollowing out’ of the middle is projected to continue over the next 25 years. Household growth will be strongest in the highest income category, reflecting the expected strength of growth in high-wage sectors combined with non-wage income — interest, dividends, capital gains, transfers.”…

Further: “Household growth will also be high in the lowest-wage category, reflecting occupational shifts, wages stagnation, as well as the retirement of seniors without pension assets.”…(more)

 

Longtime San Francisco residents unhappy with city, says poll

by : curbed – excerpt

SF-skyline

San Francisco’s view-killing wall on the waterfront seen from the bay is unpopular with many long-term residents – photo by Zrants

The longer you’ve been living in San Francisco, the less likely you are to be happy with it.

That’s one of the lessons from the 2017 San Francisco City Survey released Tuesday, in which those with more than 30 years of San Francisco living under their belts generally gave City Hall a thumbs down.

The controller’s office conducts the survey every two years to measure general satisfaction with public services.

Overall, public opinion seems fairly mellow this time; most of the 2,166 randomly selected phone respondents gave the city either a B or a B- grade on things like public safety, transit, and parks. Libraries got a B+.

The public ranked homelessness as the city’s biggest problem, with 33 percent of responses highlighting it as their top concern… (more)

What is to like about a city that sold its soul for a few buckets of gold. People used to come for art, culture, social equality and other non-material qualities of life because there was no money. The new San Francisco draws get-rich-quick schemers who believe their virtual reality and future vision is more important than anyone or anything else and can’t wait to kick us out of our homes.

 

What Is The Market Demand For Micro Housing In San Francisco?

By Scott Beyer : forbes – excerpt

San Francisco, CA–There’s no doubt that the demand for living in San Francisco would, under an open market, create far more housing; this, in essence, is what the high prices and Nimby battles are all about. But one remaining mystery would be—void of the regulatory barriers, what type of housing would all this demand create? Existing data and anecdotal observation suggests that a lot of it would be micro housing.

Indeed, micro units—which vary by definition, but are generally thought to be studio apartments of under 300 square feet—are taking off in U.S. cities. Before Seattle’s government effectively regulated them away, they were accounting for a quarter of the city’s new housing starts. Other prominent projects have gone up in New York City, Austin, Denver, and other places where density and high prices require smaller living arrangements. The nation’s largest micro-unit project is even being built near downtown Houston, a city where big, cheap sprawl housing is still readily available, even close in (although some of the project’s units have since been converted to condo hotels)… (more)

Neighbors Ask UCSF to Help Pay for Mission Bay Growing Pains

By Noah Aroyo : sfpublicpress – excerpt

Looking to improve the quality of daily life in Mission Bay, local groups are pressing for more bike lanes, new bus routes and more green space as the city’s newest neighborhood grows.

Rather than lobby developers or City Hall, residents want the area’s dominant presence — the University of California-San Francisco — to help pick up the tab, which could be tens of millions of dollars.

UCSF will soon expand its Mission Bay campus, further crowding streets and public transit. Normally, the city would charge a private developer tens of millions of dollars in fees and taxes to pay for offsetting the long-term impact of the construction — more traffic, less parking and crowded public buses and streetcars. But because UCSF is a public institution, it is exempt from such levies. It also pays no property taxes, like all government entities and nonprofit organizations.

Residents of Dogpatch want better Muni service, more parkland, a community center and parking structures to relieve the daily scramble for streetside spaces. Top on the list: more buses…

Since September, the Dogpatch Community Task Force — community groups and staff from UCSF and City Hall agencies — have met monthly to find agreement.

The university will respond with “a comprehensive offer” at the next public meeting, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Genentech Hall at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus, said Barbara French, Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications and University Relations. She declined to provide details, but said that the task force would be able to “help to shape the final plan.”…

UCSF’s discussions with the task force are required as part of the real estate development process. The last meeting is slated for March 21.

If UCSF sticks to its schedule, the housing project will be finished by summer 2019 and the clinic by spring 2020. 777 Mariposa St. is still under its previous owner’s lease until 2018, the earliest that UCSF can assume ownership…(more)