September 28, 2015 Housing Action Coalition

SFHAC November 2015 Voter Guide

Electioncard2-v7One of the most important things anyone can do for the City is get to the polls on November 3rd and vote! Some may think that it’s not worth voting this year since the Mayor is running unopposed, but nothing could be farther from the truth! This November’s ballot has FIVE land-use measures on it that will impact all those who call San Francisco home.

The SF Housing Action Coalition wants to help you sift through these ballot measures and campaign jargon. The SFHAC’s Ballot Analysis Committee analyzed the pros and cons for each housing and land use measure and put together this handy voter’s guide. If you want to keep San Francisco on a smart-growth path, consider our recommendations for November 3rd. Don’t underestimate this! Getting to the polls on November 3rd matters to our City’s future!

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Prop A – Affordable Housing Bond – YES! YES! YES!
We have an opportunity to put $310 million dollars directly into affordable housing — a key part of the City’s $2.7 billion plan for funding affordable housing over the next 20 years. While federal and state funding for new affordable housing has been drastically declining, we need to invest locally in our affordable housing infrastructure. The Affordable Housing Bond is a fair, effective way to do this while NOT raising property taxes! Prop A focuses the funding on residents that are at risk for displacement, especially our teachers, seniors, renters, first-time home buyers, and those living in public housing, which is in desperate need of overhaul. A YES vote will help protect those who want to stay in San Francisco. This measure needs a two-thirds vote to pass, so please tell all your friends to get to the polls and support it!

Prop D – Mission Rock Development – YES!
The work that has gone into the Mission Rock project defines good design and planning. It will create a vibrant new neighborhood with the all the benefits that go with it: lots of housing, neighborhood-serving retail, preservation of the historic pier and vibrant open spaces.

Prop D exemplifies effective and responsible community outreach and participation. It was the subject of lengthy discussions among a large group of local and neighborhood stakeholders. Because of this, it has won the endorsement of the district supervisor as well as a long list of City and elected leaders.

Finally, the Mission Rock project used innovation and the size of the project to increase the housing affordability. Forty-percent of the 1,500 new rental homes will be available to lower and middle-income residents, the folks that currently need it the most.

Prop K – Surplus City Property – YES!
Prop K expands the allowable uses of surplus City properties to include building middle-income housing on them. The intent of the measure is to make it easier for surplus lands to be developed as affordable housing. While an earlier version was less flexible, it has since been modified to win the support of the Mayor and all 11 SF Supervisors. While it’s difficult to anticipate the City’s future real estate conditions or its civic needs, building housing on surplus public properties to improve affordability is a worthy strategy. It deserves your support.

Prop F – Short Term Rental Restrictions- NO POSITION
We take seriously the allegations that short-term rentals may reduce the supply of rental housing that would otherwise be available to San Francisco residents. We believe that, for many reasons, the City deserves a well-regulated short-term rental market.

On the other hand, SFHAC believes these types of issues are best solved through legislation in which public hearings are held and all stakeholders’ views are heard.  

Trying to solve an issue like this at the ballot box promises unsatisfactory outcomes and unintended consequences. The short-term rental market, associated with new firms like Airbnb, is growing explosively, both in the US and worldwide. It does not seem likely that a ballot initiative, however well intended, can successfully anticipate a market changing this quickly. Worse, if the voters guess wrong, this measure cannot be amended, except by another voter-approved initiative.

The SF Housing Action Coalition is hopeful that the recently-passed legislation will be enforceable and effective in avoiding an adverse impact on housing availability. If this legislation is not working, we will look to our city leaders to strengthen it as necessary over the coming months and years.

Prop I – Suspension of Market-Rate Housing in the Mission – NO, NO, NO!!
While we understand that the City’s housing affordability and displacement crises make this measure emotionally satisfying, Prop I would cause real harm! The theory behind it is that a pause in housing construction will curb displacement, keep the Mission affordable and encourage affordable housing to meet the neighborhood’s demands. In reality it would have the opposite effect! The City’s Chief Economist recently published an analysis that shows how Prop I will increase displacement, raise housing prices and hurt affordable housing builders.

It is vital to keep building housing when our City’s economy is causing sharp population growth. Housing prices continue to rise because of the huge demand for our limited housing supply. Stopping the building of housing will worsen the very problems the proponents of Prop I claim it intends to solve. We believe we need more affordable housing to meet our City’s needs. But, Prop I is not a solution to achieving these important goals. A housing moratorium just moves us backwards. We should say yes to real housing solutions!

Finally, make sure you are registered to vote! You can register in less than three minutes using UpVote.

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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.

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