SF Mayor Ed Lee’s legacy: Economic boost that exacerbated income inequality

By Carolyn Said : sfchronicle – excerpt (includes graphics)

By almost every measure, San Francisco’s economy boomed during Mayor Ed Lee’s six-year tenure, adding jobs, companies, housing and office space. Of course, that also exacerbated the city’s well-known issues: income disparity, congestion and transportation, and lack of affordable housing.

Whoever takes over at City Hall will inherit a vastly different climate than what Lee faced in January 2011 when the city and country were emerging from a brutal recession and local unemployment stood at 8.9 percent, higher than it was during the dot-com bust. It’s now an impressive 2.7 percent, among the lowest in the country.

San Francisco under Lee became even more of a mecca for technology, cementing its cachet as the nation’s startup capital. The number of venture-backed startups here more than doubled during his administration, while the number of tech jobs tripled.

San Francisco and Silicon Valley don’t have a hard border, or even a soft border,” said Terry Connelly, dean emeritus of Golden Gate University. “They’re one and the same. That’s a big change, and that happened under Ed Lee.”...(more)

The legacy of Mayor Ed Lee includes the huge impact his enthusiasm for sports and arenas had on the culture shift in San Francisco away from liberal, progressive humanitarian politics toward a much more competitive reach for gold. The increase in the tax base through fast-rising real estate valuations, has not been sufficient to off-set the damage done to our most vulnerable citizens who are losing their homes as the wealthy flood in to displace them. Solving this conundrum will be the job of the next mayor. San Francisco citizens must demand a plan of action before choosing the next Mayor as this will be the most important task. All candidates should prepare to show us their plans.

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Mayor Lee the face of a new, enlightened SF

 

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Getting to the bottom of why SF budget is so big

 By Heather Knight : sfchronicle – excerpt

When San Francisco city officials explain why their annual budgets are so huge — this year’s totals $9.6 billion, an all-time record — there are usually two explanations.

First, new residents are swarming into San Francisco like seagulls to AT&T Park, and they’re expensive. The new residents, not the seagulls. The second? We’re a city and a county, which means we’re responsible for just about everything.

But on closer inspection, neither explanation holds up completely. For starters, the city budget has soared in recent years, far outpacing the population growth.

In 2010, the budget totaled $6.4 billion in a city with 805,000 people, meaning the city spent nearly $8,000 per capita. Six years later, the $9.6 billion budget is paying for services for 865,000 residents, or $11,100 per capita. Inflation explains a little of that increase, but certainly not all of it… (more)