October 9, 2020 Housing Action Coalition

November 2020 Election Endorsement Blog


State Measures

Prop 15 (Property Taxes) – Split Roll, Prop 13 Repeal – No Position
Prop 15 would increase funding for public schools, community colleges, and
local government services by the changing tax assessment of commercial and
industrial property. Commercial and industrial properties would be taxed based on
their market value and this would remove the property tax limitation protections provided
by Prop 13. It does not impact residential property. This is a split roll.

SFHAC & BayHAC are not taking a position on Prop 15.  We discussed this measure at length and were unable to reach a consensus. We recognize the significant inequalities created by Prop 13 and fully believe it needs reform. At the same time, we also had a concern that, if this measure passed, it could create further incentives for cities to favor office and commercial property over housing because of the additional tax revenue potential commercial property would present. Therefore we worried that Prop 15 could disincentivize the building of new housing without counter-incentives being passed. However, the Urban Institute recently released a study showing that our concern may not be an issue after all, and we are looking into this further.

Prop 19 (Property Taxes)Support
Prop 19, Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and
Counties Amendment, permits certain homeowners to transfer their primary residence
property tax base value to a replacement residence of any value, expands tax benefits for transfers of family farms, creates funding for fire protection services, and reimburses
counties for revenue losses.

SFHAC & BayHAC support Prop 19 because it closes a loophole that allows the wealthy to transfer homes to their children (who use them as rental properties) instead of encouraging those homes to be put on the market.


Prop 21 (Rental Affordability Act) – Oppose

Prop 21 is a rent control overhaul initiative that would replace the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act of 1995 and allow local jurisdictions to enact rent control policies. There are two exceptions:

  1. If the home was first occupied in the past 15 years.
  2. If the landlord owns two properties or less.

It sets rent increase maximums of vacated units at 15% over the first three years of a new renter signing a lease. These increases are based on what the previous renter paid and does not take current market-rate rents into account.


BayHAC opposes Prop 21. Much like a similar measure proposed two years ago, overarching changes to rent control and Costa-Hawkins could lead to significant reductions in the production of new housing. The State Legislature recently passed AB 1482 and we believe the legislature should continue to make appropriate fixes to help renters across the state. Ballot box planning with subjective policies (such as the 15 year threshold in Prop 21) is rarely a good idea and could lead to unforeseen consequences, and we believe such is the case with Prop 21. 



San Francisco Measures 

Prop A – (Health and Homelessness, Parks, and Streets Bond) – Support

Prop A is a $487 million bond that invests in health and homelessness services, parks and open spaces, and right-of-way repair of public infrastructure. The goal is to support economic recovery and the health of those experiencing homelessness and struggling with substance use and mental health issues. This will fill the need to open more shelter beds, protect residential board and care facilities, and advance innovative treatment solutions. The bond is timed so it would not increase the tax burden on property owners and it would replace retiring taxes owed for previously-approved bonds.

SFHAC supports Prop A. Prop A is an investment in San Francisco’s future and its values, and includes the sound use of funds to better support people experiencing homelessness. 


Prop B – (Charter Amendment) – Oppose

Prop B is a charter amendment that would remove the Department of Public Works from the purview of the City Administrator and create a new Public Works Commission that would have oversight over the Department of Public Works. The amendment allows the Board of Supervisors to limit, modify, or eliminate the duties of the Department of Sanitation and Streets by a two-thirds vote and transfer those services to other City departments. If this is approved by voters, it would cost the government between $2.5M and $6M annually beginning in fiscal year 2022-23.


SFHAC opposes Prop B. Adding more bureaucracy in San Francisco is not the solution to the Department of Public Works’ problems. As the housing approval process currently involves the Department of Public Works, this measure could create additional hurdles to approving and building new housing. 


Prop H – (Neighborhood Commercial Districts and City Permitting) – Support
Prop H will simplify the permit application process and update outdated zoning laws for small businesses and community-serving organizations.


SFHAC supports Prop H because we’d like to see a similar simplification and streamlining with housing permits.


Prop I (Real Estate Transfer Tax) – Oppose
This ordinance amends the Business and Tax Regulations Code to increase taxes from 2.75% to 5.5% on property sales valued at least $10 million. It will also increase taxes from 3% to 6% on property sales valued at least $25 million. 


SFHAC opposes Prop I because it creates an economic disincentive to build new housing by reducing the investment returns on such construction. The controller’s report notes “Based on these projected changes to the local economy, the REMI model forecasts that the net impact on the City’s economy would be negative.”


Prop K – (Affordable Housing Authorization) – Support
Prop K is an initiative ordinance authorizing up to 10,000 units of affordable housing in the City under Article 34 of the State Constitution. The City is allowed to take any actions necessary to implement the ordinance, which means voters in the jurisdiction do not need to approve the housing developments. However, the measure does not actually provide funding for the housing or create any housing. 


SFHAC supports Prop K but wishes it did something to actually create housing rather than simply raise the limit because the City has still not built its previously-authorized homes. We also support Senator Wiener’s efforts to repeal Article 34.


SFHAC & BayHAC are currently not taking a position on Prop F, J and L, but recognize they are important for the City of San Francisco and encourage voters to do their own research.


Regional Prop RR(CalTrain Sales Tax) – Support
This resolution imposes a retail transaction and use tax at the rate of one-eighth of 1% within the City and County of San Francisco, and the counties of San Mateo and Santa Clara, to be operative on the first day of the calendar quarter and remain in effect for thirty years to preserve CalTrain service. This would raise $100M annually for CalTrain, support regional economic recovery, and prevent traffic congestion while also reducing air pollution with better trains and more frequent trains.


BayHAC supports Prop RR. Transportation and housing need to work in unison and this funding is imperative for CalTrain to continue to operate. 


Berkeley Measure MM – (Rent Stabilization Ordinance) – Oppose
This proposal will amend the City’s Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause in three specific ways. The measure would prohibit the eviction of a residential tenant for nonpayment of rent, authorize the Rent Stabilization Board to collect information from the owners to set and charge a registration fee for those units, and clarify the existing exemption for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to address a change in state law. 

BayHAC opposes Measure MM because it adds no new tenant protections and will discourage new ADUs and raise fees on housing without oversight. 


City of San Mateo
Measure Y – (Citizens’ Initiative) – Oppose

Extends a 1991 law that imposes a height (55 feet tall) and density (50 dwelling units per acre) rule on every parcel in San Mateo, including the transit-oriented districts adjacent to the three Caltrain stations.

BayHAC opposes Measure Y because the proposed ordinance offers no solutions to create sorely-needed affordable housing and no help with funding essential city services and economic recovery, and it also restricts the City’s ability to address traffic solutions and climate change.

City of Alameda
Measure Z – (Height Limits) – Support

This measure will repeal Article 26 (Measure A) and amend the General Plan to repeal the prohibition against building multi-family housing in Alameda and the citywide density limitation of one housing unit per 2,000 square feet of land. 

BayHAC supports Measure Z because it eliminates density restrictions and apartment bans.

Housing Action Coalition

The Housing Action Coalition is a member-supported non-profit that advocates for the creation of well designed, well-located housing at all levels of affordability. We believe more housing means more choices and better solutions.

Stay Up to Date

Get weekly updates with housing news, HAC updates, and more!