Seawall 322-1 Site

The City of San Francisco is moving forward with plans to build over 100 units of affordable housing at the base of Telegraph Hill, on the underdeveloped half-block parcel fronting Front Street between Broadway and Vallejo which is currently a parking lot for 225 cars.

As we first reported early last year, the Seawall 322-1 site was identified by the Port of San Francisco as “the greatest affordable housing development opportunity among the Port’s seawall lots in the northeastern waterfront.” And as such, the Mayor’s Office of Housing has been working on plans for a 115-unit building to rise up to 65-feet in height on the site, with housing for residents making no more than 65 percent of the area median income ($44,150 per year for one person, $50,500 for a family of two).

As we also reported at the time, the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association, Friends of Golden Gateway, SoTel Neighbors, and Telegraph Hill Dwellers are all concerned that the city’s plan “does not consider the needs and concerns of the neighborhood” and have been working together to propose alternative programming for the site.

Representing the aforementioned stakeholders, The Northeast Waterfront Advisory Group is now pushing the city to include more housing for middle income residents making between 80 percent and 120 percent of the area median income (up to $81,550 per year for one person, $93,250 for a family of two).

The well-timed positioning and pitch from the group, as quoted by the Business Times: “We don’t want to be a neighborhood that ends up with just the rich and poor…We want a neighborhood that’s for everyone.”

163 thoughts on “Affordable Housing Battle Line Drawn: Low Income Vs. Middle Class”
  1. HAHAHAHA….oh, the irony. THD you are nothing but elitist snobs. Can’t wait to see what they pull out to fight this project.

    1. HAHAHA…oh, the delicious irony, right?
      Can’t wait, right? You’re just living for this stuff, right?
      Yeah, sorry but that sounds a little pathetic.

  2. Could this be the first account of an activist group fighting for housing the middle class in San Francisco? This is certainly the most disenfranchised group of wage earners in the city.

    1. is it fighting for a group when it is by default because you are trying to avoid a worse option? I am sure they would go for parking lot or park or sculpture garden if they could pull it off

  3. “We don’t want poor people, so can we get just kind of sort of poor people?” – The Northeast Waterfront Advisory Group

    1. In their defense, I think it is natural for educated people to relate to other educated people, for example schoolteachers, police officers, etc. who are “squeezed” in San Francisco. Such people are not “poor” and therefore “sort of poor” is grossly inaccurate.

      1. Please. Their *only* objective is not having the great unwashed living at the base of “their” hill. They think it will be Section 8 trash and crime, and think that by appealing to “middle class” interests they can accomplish their objective. I’d bet a large sum of money that if the initial City RFP was for middle-class housing, the THD would fight it tooth and nail (but under some other rubric).

        1. Agree 100%. If it was for middle-class, they would argue for low-income…their only goal is to stall and eventually prevent any building.

        2. Exactly.

          They’d fight it no matter what, but they’ll fight especially hard against the poors living nearby

  4. Maybe Mission residents would like to house all the people at the lowest income levels so that both low income and middle class will have a home.

  5. Wow. Aaron Peskin can’t let any development happen in his neighborhood without his stamp of approval. Even affordable housing.

  6. Market rate housing is needed there. Only an idiot grinds filet mignon into hamburger meat. It ain’t rocket science – just common sense.

      1. Not sure about the analogy. How is the site metaphorically being ground into hamburgers? If filet mignon represents the choicest cut of land/location, then the correct analogy would be “letting poor people eat filet mignon.”

        1. True. Hitman is assuming that BMR would automatically be of inferior quality. It doesn’t have to be. After all this is the city of “something for nothing” and BMR advocates could make the point that it would be unjust to have anything but stellar architectural talent involved.

        2. This was my take on the analogy:

          That land = filet mignon. Affordable housing = hamburger (and not the fancy kobe beef kind).

  7. The city’s plan “does not consider the needs and concerns of the neighborhood”, how ignorant of the city to make plans for housing that doesn’t consider the people who already have housing in the neighborhood.

    “We don’t want to be a neighborhood that ends up with just the rich and poor…We want a neighborhood that’s for everyone. And by everyone we mean no poor people.”

    1. Everyone should have an opportunity to buy at that spot – particularly those of us that subsidize housing in the neighborhood.

    2. This is reminiscent of Animal Farm by George Orwell I read in high school. Everything is taken away for equality and good of all until one group of animals declares themselves more equal than others.

      1. Maybe the Telegraph Hill dwellers can form their own version of Calle 16 – a group dedicated to keeping Telegraph Hill’s cultural heritage of being White and Rich. Same principal, no?

        God, I’d love to see that play out.

  8. Plenty of those units will have waterfront views, which could fetch big bucks at market rate. A better use of this City asset would be to sell the valuable land and use the profits to towards 200 or even 500 affordable units. Or make a deal with a developer for market rate on this site contingent they build 200-300 units elsewhere.

    1. The housing activists want low and moderate income integrated throughout the City. It is supposed to prevent slums.

      1. Better yet, that site is well-removed from the Bay. Only the uppermost floors would have water views and attract market rate prices. Sell them off and go with the current proposal with the rest for a true mixed income property.

  9. I sense a multi-step process being put into play here. First step here is to prevent housing suitable for “the poors”. Next step will be to reduce the height of the project. Finally there will be pressure to preserve some or all of those parking spaces.

    Somewhere along the way the developer will punt providing the NIMBYs their intended result.

    1. According to the article, the City is the developer. I’m not sure how your scenario will play out.

      [Editor’s Note: The parcel is Port property and the city is developing the programming framework for the site, but an RFP will be issued and a developer sought.]

  10. The hens coming home to roost. And right across from the 8 Washington site, the poster child for the concerned neighborhood groups fighting for affordable housing for the little guy.

    Or a bunch of snobs.

    Which is what they are showing themselves as.

    If they had any real class (which they don’t), they would be a little mindful of their reputations at stake here.

    1. If they want to constrain the market I would rather their be no market than a market only for some. SF can wallow in its failed policies until everything is Ellis’d.

    2. “right across from the 8 Washington site”?
      No, that’s completely false.
      If you can’t be bothered to look at google maps for 30 seconds in order to avoid looking completely ignorant, how do you imagine people might view your other opinions?

        1. Have a seat with the other ignorant guy (or liar, you can choose).

          8 Washington is at Washington between Drumm and Embarcadero, 2 blocks south and 2 more blocks east of this proposed project.

          That means these sites are 4 blocks from each other, not “right across from” or “cater corner”.

          If you can’t manage to be truthful about something so easily disproven, how do you imagine your other opinions sound to intelligent, rational listeners?

          1. fyi, the two nearest corners of these two properties are about 500 feet apart, or about one and a half or so blocks apart. The google map location you linked to is at the south side of the proposed 8 Washington project. The north corner of the triangular shaped 8 Washington project is much closer to this parcel and not far from Broadway. Did someone forget to take their play nice with others pills today?

          2. The proposed buildings are at the far south end of the property, about 2 blocks south of Broadway on the Embarcadero. So yes, a proposed open space appended to the buildings would have been located 2 blocks and around the corner from Front and Broadway. It’s obvious from the picture at the top of this page that these locations are neither “right across from” or “cater corner”. There are 2 existing buildings that are “right across from” and “cater corner” to the Front Street site.

            If pointing out all of your repeated blatant factual errors hurts your feelings, you have my sympathy.

          3. The location of the “site” was the original reference you objected to, not the location of the buildings. Thanks for repeating your own demonstration of inaccuracy. Wouldn’t want anyone to miss it, not by a block or two at least.

          4. “sf” and “Orland” stated that the Front Street site is “right across from” or “cater corner” to the 8 Washington site.
            That is not true, and the untruthfulness of their statements along with their (and your) vehement denial of those facts casts doubt on everything else you’ve posted here.
            Have a nice day!

          5. I haven’t denied any facts, vehemently or otherwise. For one so concerned with the truth of statements and so quick to cast doubt on others, a closer reading might be in order. Have a nice night, and be careful stepping on your own credibility.

  11. The biggest shortfall in the City is construction of units for middle-income housing, so this is a good thing. Practically speaking, it has a lot better chance of being built as well.

  12. I have an idea, let’s erect some sort of structure, a ‘wall’ if you will, all along the waterfront, to help protect the poor working-class people from exploitation by greedy developers…

  13. I suppose the Telegraph Hill dwellers and the folks in Golden Gateway need *somewhere* for their cooks and cleaning ladies to live.

  14. I’m normally for market rate housing as that type of supply is the only thing that will slow the mass increase of prices. However, in this case, I hope this gets built and only includes those making less than $50K as the plan currently has.

    The 8 Washington project was a nice project that would’ve brought much needed, mid rise and very nice looking housing to the area. it was far from a wall. Since the rich in TH paid for and lobbied against that, while invoking the false pretense that it was an anti-poor development, and thereby getting the poor and disenfranchised against it, I’m all for this. They should be for it too if the pretense they used before is true to them. You cant have it both ways. In fact, I would love for this to be a large tower of SROs only, just for the sake of giving the TH dwellers the medicine they need for the sickness they have in being anti-poor and anti-development, and anti-everything except their own self interests.

    1. It’d be cool if the large SRO tower could be designed to look like a big middle finger, directed towards Telegraph Hill.

  15. “much needed, mid rise and very nice looking housing” for the 1%.
    For goodness sakes! Won’t somebody please think of the poor millionaires and overseas investment companies!

    1. If we provide more housing for the 1%, then the 2% won’t be living in 50 year old TICs because they will be able to move to a decent condo. And then the 3% can move into 50 year old TICs, freeing space that was a room in a shared house for the 4%. And so on.

      There is no “building housing for the 1%.” There’s building the most profitable housing possible freeing up space down below. The problem of course is that we’ve under-built for so long that prices won’t fall until 10’s or even 100’s of thousands of units are built. But prices are so high right now that if we’d just let developers build, they will build. They are “greedy,” remember? But then again, greedy developers only take advantage of the richest people, if we just let capitalism work.

      1. That’s a very interesting opinion.
        How long, in your projection, will it take to build enough of “the most profitable housing” before we see the first homes become available for low income San Franciscans?
        Roughly how many luxury condos for the 1% and for overseas and US Real Estate Investment Trusts will need to be built before we see units affordable for low income families?

        1. Probably 100s of thousands. I said that in my reply. But are we really so concerned about real estate trusts buying the entire high end? And if we are, we should worry about them.

        2. 8 Washington was not intended to relieve the “housing shortage.” No need to rationalize a justification for it. It was an excellent proposal on its individual merits and would have replaced an eyesore and civic embarrassment: a parking lot in a location like that! Should’ve been built and what happened will always be a stain on the people of SF.

          1. “what happened will always be a stain on the people of SF”

            Thanks for not being laughably over dramatic about a luxury condo development that wasn’t allowed to exceed the existing height limit.

            As for the location, it’s not just a parking lot. There’s a health club with swimming pools, tennis courts and exercise studios and there are some small grassy open areas surrounding the north end. Not surprised that you would attempt to mischaracterize this given your misleading comments above. It’s also worth noting that this development would have been green lighted if the developers had accepted the existing height limit, and admittedly a slightly smaller but still massive profit from their investment.

            Have a look at Google Street View for Drumm and Washington and get informed before you spout off more misleading nonsense. Unless of course, that’s your goal.

      2. not dubious, flat out incorrect. A nobel prize in economics was given for demonstrating that housing prices don’t follow anything like this naive formula.

        1. housing is much more sticky and we probably can’t build enough supply to fill the demand for the bottom 85%, but the law still works if we could build enough supply. At the very least, more market rate housing does impede the acceleration of prices.

          speaking of %s, the median and mean salaries of this city must be rising in the past 5 years with all these new jobs in tech.

          1. Wait, was that supposed to be an answer to these 2 questions:
            How long, in your projection, will it take to build enough of “the most profitable housing” before we see the first homes become available for low income San Franciscans?
            Roughly how many luxury condos for the 1% and for overseas and US Real Estate Investment Trusts will need to be built before we see units affordable for low income families?

          2. well you know it will never happen within the city core. we would have to build 200,000 units for the median salary to afford the average home.

            people below the median will always need subsidies. But i dont think they all have some right to live in the heart of SF. there are many more affordable units within a short BART or ferry ride . If you think of the 20x 20 area (like most big city acreage), instead of the 7×7, there are affordable units, and if the region as a whole would mass build, then we might see some affordability. Right now, SF economy is booming . Housing prices will remain very high.

            If i made the median salary, i would chose to live outside of SF and commute. I wouldnt feel entitled to get handouts.

          3. Shiller and others have shown conclusively that it doesn’t work that way at all. SF has far too much investment money that treats real estate like gold or bonds or any other ROI vehicle. Similarly, much of the new wealth in town is investor money laundered through startup companies. Nothing wrong with any of that, but the capital flows are overwhelmingly larger than the petty decisions of a mere few thousand buyers each year. The kings and queens of the capital markets set the price windows, not the pawns waiting for the movers to deliver their household goods. A few guys in London rigged the LIBOR for how many years? and made how many billions doing it?

          4. People can’t just set prices. There have to be buyers. If your claim is that low interest rates have destroyed most investment options, so rich people are buying property to hedge against inflation, I’d agree with you. But the market still reacts to supply and demand. And we should probably raise interest rates, because right now we continue to screw over all those who made prudent investing decisions their entire lives.

        2. Actually, I think you are misunderstanding the idea of inefficient markets. To a first order approximation, my formula is sound. Supply and demand still holds over the long term. But prices will fluctuate due to emotions and bubbles as well. The difference between these two is inefficiency. You are making the claim that the bubble component is stronger, and right now, I’d actually agree with you. Build 100k new dwellings, 1M in the bay area, and suddenly I’d argue the fundamentals begin (“begin” being the key word) to dominate again. This is why proper urban planning and transit planning is so important.

          1. The relevant commodity is money, not real estate. The ease with which the supply of money can be increased or decreased and shifted among investments/demands is orders of magnitude bigger than anything our little real estate market can buffer or channel.

            London bankers did “just set prices” on the LIBOR. How many loan payments depended on whatever number they made up? How many real estate contracts were made or unmade by their “just set prices’? And the Fed does “just set prices” on bank rates and can create a trillion dollars in a meeting. And similar decisions are made in Beijing and Berlin.

            San Francisco is like a small boat in an ocean of money, subject to the tides of central banks, the currents of currency flows, and the winds of wall street/sand hill rd. We should set sail and a course as best we can, but we shouldn’t think we command the elements. All these little calculations of ‘if we only build a few more x then y’ are hubris, which the money gods punish without mercy.

          2. Again, I agree with part of what you are saying. By lowering interest rates we are screwing over prudent investors and those on a fixed income from things like bonds. And therefore we are sending a ton of money into the stock market (most of which isn’t creating new jobs) and into housing, because it’s generally not the worst inflation hedge.

            However those prices are not decoupled from supply. And ultimately the value of a house is one house. Or more accurately, one house compared to the regional income. If we play too much with the money supply we get inflation and salaries have to go up. Or we could favor workers over investors, something we don’t do now, but that too would increase housing prices if we don’t build more, even though it favors the middle class.

          3. In SF and most of the US, the price of a house depends more on factors that have nothing to do directly with real estate than on factors that do directly affect real estate, such as construction costs and supply. Your formulas are rubbish because the real estate supply/demand curves aren’t first-order rank factors in real estate prices. They are like the tornadoes at the edge of a hurricane, very dramatic locally, but not the main event or even the source of their own energy. A small number of people in Washington/NY/London cool down and heat up the SF housing market faster and with much greater force than anything the Mayor plus the BOS plus everyone else in SF ever do.

            Do what we can, but don’t confuse the nearly trivial effects compared to independent external forces.

          4. pity, everything youre saying is directly linked to DEMAND. all that money increases demand. yes, while theres ton of money out there and limited housing, the market will continue. you are indeed right that money is basically falling off trees in the bay area right now, and everyone wants to live close to the trees to catch a few leaves.

            I agree that we can’t outbuild the demand, but we can limit the appreciation by building more to partially fill the belly of the demand.

            anyway, this thread is about rich TH dwellers not wanting anything built near their castles and the peasants and middle class to be as far away from their moat as possible.

          5. there is a relatively fixed demand for shelter, there is a relatively unlimited demand for investment returns. The US long ago shifted the tax structure and housing subsidies towards investors and away from people who struggle to have adequate shelter. Mitt Romney paid a lower tax rate than his illegal immigrant gardener. THD is another form of this callous selfishness. ¡Viva la Revolución Reagan! Solidarity within the ruling class.

          6. the demand rate is not fixed. Are you mad? all these new jobs are bringing more people, which increases demand for housing HERE. when population in a specific area shrinks, house prices stagnate. when population in a specific area increases, house prices go up. Its the demand that is more fluid in SF than supply is. the increase in supply has been steady and VERY LOW. the demand has far outpaced the supply. honestly, this is not even debate worthy.

          7. San Francisco’s population has grown by 4% since 2000. The number of housing units has grown by 8%. Then why have housing costs outpaced inflation and income growth?

            There is a growing demand for San Francisco residential real estate by rich people not needing it for shelter. Mark Zuckerberg bought what had been a family house here, but not as his primary residence. And he is making sure it won’t be as affordable as it was before. Halsey Minor never occupied his crumbling french chateau near the Presidio. Many of the new luxury condos are just another bauble in some rich person’s constellation of indulgence.

            Wealthy people are remaking San Francisco block by block into their town and that is squeezing others out. No city can keep up with that. Don’t get blinded by the hysteria of the ‘housing crisis’. That is used to get otherwise reasonable people to be complicit in the ‘build more for rich people while pretending we are building for middle class families.’

          8. those stats are wrong and what we are talking about is the mass increase in price since the recessions and last burst of the bubble. 2009-2014 is more apt, and there are way more new residents than new units since that time

          9. If you prefer a longer baseline, San Francisco’s population has grown by about 60k since 1960, during which time we have built 120k housing units. The only decade in that entire 50+ years when San Francisco housing construction did not keep pace with population was in the 1990s, when we underbuilt by about 8k units.
            Sorry to sour your cherries, but we haven’t had a shortage of housing, we have a shortage of housing that residents can afford. Building more luxury housing to be filled by more new arrivals that work at more new office towers all paid for by more outside investor money won’t lessen that housing crisis. It only makes it worse.

          10. everyone except you, is talking about what’s happened in the past 5 yrs. not the past 15 or the past 60.

            50K new residents. 10K new housing units

          11. Moto, your statistics are wrong, if the US Census is to be believed. In 2008 San Francisco had 808,976 people and 359,905 housing units. In 2013 San Francisco had 837,442 people and 381,001 housing units.

            28k more people, 21k more housing units. Percentage increase in housing units 67% faster than increase in population.

            The only period in the past 50+ years that San Francisco did not build housing fast enough to keep up with demand was in the 5 to 7 year period during the dotcom boom. Other than that one stretch, San Francisco has actually overbuilt new housing, not underbuilt. Though we do have a lot of mediocre and aged housing stock.

            The so called housing crisis is a pricing crisis caused by a flood of investor money chasing the next twitter/uber/pinterest/airbnb/genentec/salesforce etc Very similar to the dotcom era, except this time we actually are building all the new housing needed, even plenty of mansions and ultra-luxury condos with views for the uberwealthy to have another home away from their home away from their home.

          12. “The only period in the past 50+ years that San Francisco did not build housing fast enough to keep up with demand was in the 5 to 7 year period during the dotcom boom.”

            You are deeming the population increase to be equal to “demand”. This is clearly not the case. The population increase consists of those individuals who were able to access the supply of housing. Demand includes those individuals who have not been able to move to SF, but wish to do so.

            And please cite your source for all of this investor money that is purchasing residential property as an investment. I hear this all the time from housing activists, but have yet to see a definitive source for this statement. I’m not necessarily saying it’s untrue, but it’s thrown out there as fact, when anecdotally, I don’t see it.

          13. Looking at these numbers could actually make a case against rent control.

            After all a lot of the sticky rent controlled tenants have been there 25+ years. You will find empty nesters, retired folks, widows, widowers, all living in the same space where they raised their kids. One person will hog a large 2 or 3 bedroom while families of 4 have to cram into a small apartment.

            This is one underreported factor for the current ridiculous housing deficit.

          14. parklife, you are confusing desire with demand. I desire many things that are in abundant supply, but I can’t afford them. How many people wish to move to San Francisco if they could afford to? Millions perhaps, most of Oakland except for Matt in Uptown, perhaps. What do you think?

            By your wishful definition of demand, everyone that used to live in San Francisco and still wishes to, but left because they couldn’t afford it are part of the demand, even if they bought a house somewhere else. If only we could have a half-price sale, vacancy rates would surely plunge. Of course we did have about a 25% drop in average asking rents after the dotcom bust.

            If you don’t like using the actual population and population history, with a quite clear pattern going back two generations, as a guide to demand, then ok, what is your better measure? Please cite your sources.

            San FronziScheme, good luck pitching an end to rent control so that we can kickout widows and retires to make space for app developers from out-of-town to crash until they get rich enough to look down on the rest of us from their overbuilt mini-mansions on Corona Heights. At least we know your heart is in it.

            “If wishes were fishes, we’d all cast nets into the sea.”

          15. Pity,

            Desire is related to demand. We limit demand by pricing the object of our desire (housing in this case) at the point at which only a select few can purchase the item. By using the population increase as a proxy for demand, you are discounting the fact that a housing shortage exists and is primarily responsible for the high prices we see in SF.

          16. Anyone marginally priced out of San Francisco can buy or rent in other parts of the bay area and commute in for work if this is where they work. That’s an inconvenience, not the fabled ‘housing crisis’ that requires heroic policy changes and a reshaping of the skyline and demographics of our city.
            But let’s humor the thought, since we have gone this far.
            If there is a housing shortage in San Francisco, then how many are we short? 1, 10, 100, 1000, 10000, 100000, millions? How shall we determine the magnitude of the shortage so many claim exists?
            What would happen if we built however many more it would take to end the shortage and meet the demand now and in the future? Would prices stabilize in some meaningful measurable way? Would they go up at or around the CPI or at the rate of inflation in the cost of materials and labor? Would they go up even faster than during the ‘shortage’ or slower and by how much?
            Do we even have a measure to gauge the success of ending this accursed shortage? Because if we don’t, then the entire concept is meaningless. Truly vacuous. Just a way for people to justify policies they either don’t understand but like to think they do or they understand and profit from all too well to want them understood by those who don’t.
            Haven’t we always been at war with the ‘housing crisis’? Seemed like we had won when the rents dropped by 25% not so long ago and also when they dropped and stayed down for the better part of a decade in the previous down cycle. Funny how neither of those victories were due to building more or taller or bigger.
            We have a shelter shortage. Tonight there is someone sleeping on the sidewalk under my window. And thousands more in our city are sleeping on the streets or are housed in horrible conditions. And hundreds of thousands or maybe millions in our country.
            How many $2000/sqft condos do we have to build in neighborhoods that used to house poor and working people before we can meet the demand for decent shelter for all? Maybe if we create a few more tax cuts for vc funded companies some will trickle down to warm the lady beneath my window. Maybe if we refuse to prevent the illegal behavior of the ubers and aribnbs so they can thrive at the expense of existing businesses, some of their booty will trickle down to her.
            Maybe instead we can be honest about the intellectual vapidness and sheer selfishness of the call to push poor people out of the way so we can build more for wealthy people in the vain hope that somehow that will satisfy their demand. Maybe then we can face our moral crisis and in doing so discover we do have a shelter crisis, but not a housing crisis.

    2. you are obviously one of the hill dwellers. Like i said, if you dont want the 8 Washington project for the top 5%. (lets’ be fair, its really not only the 1%), then you should be happy to provide homes for the lower 40%. you can’t say “we dont want the top 5% “(even though all TH dwellers are in that demog), and at the same time “we don’t want the bottom 40%”. what you want is no development so you can protect your views, keep out the nouveau riche, and keep out the riffraff. The TH dwellers are a bunch of rich elitists. I hope they surround you with low grade BMR units. it will be ugly for the city, but maybe you all will get your due for stopping good projects.

      1. Sorry to break it to you, but no. I am not the object of your obsession.
        Just a San Franciscan who believes we should use our public property and capital for the benefit of the lower and middle class first and let the rich and the and the overseas investors and the Real Estate Investment Trusts take care of themselves. They can wipe away their tears with private jets when they’re forced to accept smaller long term profits, rather than a never ending financial orgasm while the rest of us are thrown into the streets.
        In short, I disagree with the Trickle Down approach to housing.

        1. you are using a different name now, and im not sure you even read my message. i do think this should be affordable housing. the TH dwellers are against it.

  16. Just build something crappy. Then market rate will be affordable and everybody gets what they want.

    1. Even better – just convert the parking lot to a Trailer Park.

      If you want to have “diversity” in the Trailer Park, half is allocated to single-wides, half to double-wides.

  17. Who’s fighting for the people making 66-79% of median?
    (Hooray for arbitrary discrimination in the name of equality.)

    1. The town councils of Novato, Danville, and Gilroy.

      I don’t mean that in a snarky way as it sounds. I just mean, when you can afford good schools and backyard space, but not crazy city prices, the suburbs await.

      1. Why is this point not brought up more often? If I was making $45,000/year, I would live in Oakland and BART into the city. Why are we so obsessed with this idea that lower income people have a “right” to live in the city? There are many people with good jobs who make this choice every day. Even if lower income housing is subsidized, the neighborhoods are expensive in so many other ways…it seems completely irrational to me.

          1. I mean what “right” do you personally , Not Bashing, have to live in San Francisco?
            Because if you don’t like it, you should leave.

          2. no one has a “right”. I personally live here because it has everything I want and I can afford it. Like “not bashing”, if I made less money, i would move to a more affordable area. I imagine that is the case the vast majority of people who have any type of idea how to manage their money, keep a budget, make risk vs. benefit assessments, etc. The poor and uneducated can be excused, but the middle class worker who are somewhat educated and making 50-100K are not excused. when i made that type of money, i had roommates and knew i couldnt buy. if i would have thought home ownership was necessary, i would’ve moved elsewhere. Instead, i waited until i could afford it. If my family were still making under $150K, I would probably be in the East Bay or San Bruno, where i could get to many places on BART in under 30 min.

          3. Moto, thanks for being pragmatic. Why is living in SF any different than owning a BMW? Some people can, some people can’t. And some people will, if they save and work hard.

          4. @ Source – “If you don’t like it, you should leave.” Oh, you are one of those people. Ok, good to know. I have a “right” to live here for the same reason that anyone has a “right” to live anywhere: I pay for it. That “right” would immediately be taken away if I could not pay for it.

            As for your other argument, you can’t be serious. Are you really saying that if I use a service that we all (including me) pay for then my presence is being subsidized? That was a joke, right?

        1. It was explained earlier to me that including low and moderate income housing will protect the entrenched political structure. This sounds plausible to me.

          1. Exactly. The old hippie democrat pteradactyls want to be in power forever. I’m not in favor of any BMR housing, period.

        2. It’s not about having a “right” to live in the City, but what kind of a city do we want. I wouldn’t live in Atherton if I could afford it, and I certainly don’t want to see SF turned into a facsimile of that wasteland.

          1. It’s never going to be Atherton, because 1) housing quality in SF is very diverse and most of it is unfit for Atherton types, 2) the lower quality stuff is artificially expensive and would be cheaper without rent control, ensuring diversity 3) we are housing 830K people and there is a limited supply of people with 50M+ net worth.

          2. If I understand you correctly, you’re saying that you don’t want SF to be only for the rich. And I definitely relate to that. However, under our current policies you have to be very well off to move here – even a one bedroom in the sunset will now set you back $2,800/month. So it seems that our attempts to engineer the population mix have failed. Unless of course success is a city of the rich, a few lucky middle class people living in BMR housing (with little chance to make a profit on their biggest investment , since those units are capped) or rent controlled housing. And of course projects, SRO’s and a massive homeless population. Building more BMR’s, projects and SRO’s does indeed suggest that people who can’t afford to live here have a fundamental right to do so. Again, I would never choose to stay here if I couldn’t afford it. and it would never occur to me that my neighbors should subsidize my presence.

          3. Not Bashing,

            $2,800/month is not cheap, but it’s not out of reach. A couple making $55K each can pull it off.

            Is this more expensive than Oakland or Vallejo. Hell yeah! But these cities are more expensive than most of the midwest or California City or Taft. They’re more wealthy, people make more money.

            It’s sad people can’t pay SF rent with a Modesto paycheck, but that’s just the way it has always been.

          4. I demand an Atherton BMR unit! I am entitled to one as I have no doubt I make less than the median income there. The lawyers and bankers that serve Atherton need housing too!

          5. Again, I would never choose to stay here if I couldn’t afford it. and it would never occur to me that my neighbors should subsidize my presence.

            Thank you.

          6. @Pfffttt, @Not Bashing:
            Do you build your own roads, hospitals, fire stations, schools, airports, etc?
            No? Then guess what?
            Your neighbors subsidize your presence.

          7. @Source – Your analogy would work better if there was a private landlord who was responsible for paying for a fire house out of his own pocket for the benefit of us all. This is closer to the expectation for private subsidy by individual property owners to maintain the greater city interest of an economically diverse population through rent control.

            Of course, we don’t even know if the population of rent controlled tenants is economically diverse, we just know that they have been renting for a while.

            And we try to protect these tenants because it’s fair to protect people who have been living in San Francisco for a while because they’ve been here for a long time and have always had those apartments.

            Like how we should keep giving CEO jobs to old white men, because they have always had those jobs. Oh wait….

          8. @gold_rush_town
            Thanks but it’s not an analogy- you should look up the definition sometime! 😉
            I’m stating definitively that in some ways I subsidize @Pfffttt and @Not Bashing (and you too, yay for me!)
            We all pay for the firehouse, but not all of us use it.
            When it’s used to save @Pfffttt and @Not Bashing’s Libertarian Playhouse, then the rest of us have just subsidized your presence.
            You’re welcome.

          9. @gold_rush_town, each one of the items in your list about rent control in San Francisco is incorrect or misleading.
            The costs of rent control are spread broadly through the community, not just by landlords. That was demonstrated clearly by the experience of removing rent control in the Boston/Cambridge area. They learned that rent control depresses investment in properties of all kinds in the areas around them. Remove rent control and you will see billions invested in fixing up and raising the rents and sales prices for residential and commercial property. Everyone can collect higher rents and prices (rising tide…), not just the previous rent control properties. Whole neighborhoods bear the cost, not just the specific rent control properties. And the city foregoes the extra taxes that would be collected by having more expensive property and higher income residents. Regardless of the merits of the policy, the costs are community-wide.
            The rent control population in SF has much lower median incomes than home owners. They are certainly more econimically ‘diverse’ as in more representative than home owners. Also, you don’t know that rent control tenants “have been renting for a while” compared to tenants of non-rent controlled units, all you know is that they are renting units covered by rent control.
            At least two-thirds of rent control units in SF have tenants with 8 years or less of occupancy, according to Census ACS. The vast majority of rent-control units in SF have been priced after the great rent price doubling of the dotcom boom. The average asking rent in SF at the dotcom peak was as high as it was in 2014, CPI adjusted, according to Paragon Realty (namelink).

          10. Give me a freaking break, Source Majuere. You don’t subsidize any of those public services for me or anyone else. I (we all) also contribute to fund those services, and if and when I use them, I’ve earned my right to use them. Your comparison of apples to oranges makes no sense,

            And about rent control, I met a guy who was gloating/boasting about living in the Marina (bfd, btw). Five minutes into the conversation, I learn that the schmuck makes $100K+/year (no big deal). He’s not a schmuck because of his income; he is so because he is one of the MANY who takes advantage of the VERY broken rent control system–and then has the nerve to brag about it. No shame. Disgusting. He’s not the only one. I know of others who sublet their rent-controlled unit for MORE than their monthly rent, so they actually PROFIT from rent control. And who is policing this kind of activity? NO ONE.

          11. @ Jake
            “The costs of rent control are spread broadly through the community, not just by landlords.” The costs are born directly by landlords who could otherwise charge a fair market value. There are other indirect costs to other renters, sure, but not at all like the shared cost of a resource like a library or a fire department that are taxed. There is no rent control tax borne by residents. There are only direct subsidies by individual landlords.

            “The rent control population in SF has much lower median incomes than home owners.” You have no evidence of this. What survey has ever been done that examines the incomes of rent controlled tenants? The US census does not publish income information by address.

            “At least two-thirds of rent control units in SF have tenants with 8 years or less of occupancy, according to Census ACS. The vast majority of rent-control units in SF have been priced after the great rent price doubling of the dotcom boom. The average asking rent in SF at the dotcom peak was as high as it was in 2014, CPI adjusted, according to Paragon Realty (namelink).” If seems you are arguing that rent controlled tenants are paying around market rent. If so, then you haven’t been paying attention. That’s what all the fuss is about.

          12. @Pfffttt, tenants do get evicted for unapproved subtenants. The rent board keeps stats on it. If a landlord either just doesn’t care or doesn’t take enough care to know who is living in their unit, hard to blame anyone/everyone else for letting it pass.

          13. @gold_rush_town, of course I have evidence that “The rent control population in SF has much lower median incomes than home owners.” I don’t publish conjecture on SocketSite. You don’t need address level detail to determine this from the census data. If you allocate all the lowest income renters in SF to the non-rent control group (totally unrealistic), then the remaining group of highest income renters will still have a much lower median income than home owners in SF.

            Some rent control tenants pay market rate and many don’t. I provided a little actual data. There is a lot of fussing on SocketSite about rent control, most of it not backed by any data at all, much of it little more than anecdotes like Pfffttt above, and almost all of it plainly wrong about how the costs are shared through the community. I didn’t make this up. The economic studies have found it and I have linked to them before.
            Yeah, real life is a little more complex than the jingle landlords like to repeat about how they have all the costs. The only surprise is that anyone would be surprised, though I do recommend the studies – gives a much better understanding of the coupling of value in a neighborhood, though if you live next to an SRO you might have already noticed.

            If SF phased out rent control like they did in Massachusetts, then it would be worth a lot of money to property owners and a lot of cost to all renters, not just rent-controlled, all, that’s what happened in MA. That is ‘what all the fuss’ is about. Clothe it in language of fairness and equity if that makes you feel good, but it is about money, a lot of money. Money and value that is not priced into property now and that would be a huge transfer to enrich owners if they could get it.

          14. @ SanFronzi – I agree, I was (somewhat inelegantly) trying to compare the cheaper SF neighborhoods to moving out of the city. Yes, it costs more to live here and always will.

  18. The other factor the THD are no doubt aware of is that there is funding for affordable housing for the income groups proposed, but very little funding for housing serving the higher “middle class” groups they are asking for and without subsidized funding the construction and land cost will make the project “luxury.”

    1. Ding ding – that’s the answer here. Similar to the call for 100% affordable at 16th & Mission. These “activist” groups know that by demanding something that’s nearly impossible, they get to maintain the status quo. At least in the Mission it’s theoretically possible to get the city to pay for affordable housing (though not likely). The THD are far more cynical since there is no identified funding stream for “middle income” housing. The projects have to be big enough (like the HOPE IV projects) that the higher end pays for the subsidized middle income housing. But this project is nowhere near big enough to pull that off, and you can bet THD would oppose anything higher than 65′ even if it would make their purported vision a reality.

  19. I’m loving the comments here – Most have seen rights through the “Telegraph Hill Neighbors Assn” position as – “We don’t mind poor people…well…we do mind poor people but maybe we can upgrade them to working middle class….who aren’t really poor…their just not able to buy lots of expensive stuff like us….” amazing….

  20. Why wouldn’t the city sell this land for top $$$ and build 1000 affordable housing units near public transportation off of 3rd street?>

  21. FYI- there are 2 NEW and large CCDC low income developments directly across the street which none of these groups opposed. I don’t think its unreasonable to ask for middle-income housing to be thrown in to the mix. The city is just lazy and cheap, and this will help the Port mitigate fees for their pet project at Pier 70.

    1. CCDC low income developments. Ugh. The market should decide, period. I hate these gov’t busybody bureaucrats who do things like this.

      1. So we should give up on long-range planning, zoning, and all the rest to let the “market decide, period”? What kind of city would that give us? I personally appreciate that my neighbor can’t build a bar, nightclub, auto-body shop, or Ike’s Sandwich shop. As for planning and encouraging low-income and subsidized housing,it is wholly appropriate that a city try to encourage and maintain a mix of housing quality, affordability, size, etc. so that it can maintain a mix of people – that’s what makes a city a dynamic place to live. Oh, and it has also been required by CA law for almost 50 years:

        “State law recognizes the vital role local governments play in the supply and affordability of housing. Each governing body (City Council or Board of Supervisors) of a local government in California is required to adopt a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development of the city, city and county, or county. The housing element is one of the seven mandated elements of the local general plan. Housing element law, enacted in 1969, mandates that local governments adequately plan to meet the existing and projected housing needs of all economic segments of the community. ”

        So your libertarian fantasy is never going to happen here. Try Somalia…..

  22. Ok newsflash. Poor people do not live in Paris or New York. Get over it. Our city is changing. Everybody talks in such extremes. You can do well and not own a jet. I do well and I don’t own a car.
    Actual sitch below:
    Minnie rented a 3 br in PAC heights in her 30’s with roommates, yes it’s under rent control. She gets married to Mickey 2 years ago, when she is her mid 40’s. Mickey owns a condo in San jose, that he bought many years ago. She works in SF,he in the valley. They kept both of their homes and they both make under 100k. These people are not close to the 1% but are using the broken system because they can.

    When it is so cheap to keep a unit as a placemarker, this will continue to happen. The landlord will continue to subsidize the rent. New units that get built are not under rent control. All this building is to basically replace the zombie units that are under inhabited with units that are at market. Of course with the city requirements of 30% being low income housing, it is 2 steps forward, .6 steps back.

    The last thing seedy broadway needs is low scale anything. It is just desserts though for the people who live by and fought 8 Washington.


    1. 3 million NYC residents live in poverty. How do falsehoods and Mickey Mouse economics further your agenda?

      1. Jake – Regarding your comment “There is a lot of fussing on SocketSite about rent control, most of it not backed by any data at all…”

        When your family is screwed by entitled tenant scum for multiple generations, you don’t need anymore data than that. Rent control tenants should know that there is a big fat target on your back and everyday rent control remains in place the chances of you getting a fat payout so you can move to Manteca grows exponentially.

        1. Must make plenty of sweet profit off your tenants to balance all the bitterness you carry. Otherwise, why stay in a business where you loathe your customers?

          If tenants have the better part of the deal, then join them. Sellout now at record high prices and become an entitled SF renter. And maybe some lucky day pocket a fat payout while moving on to another rent controlled property in SF. Why not choose a life of entitlement instead of getting screwed?

          FWIW, at the rate of Ellis conversions over the past generation, SF will run out of rent controlled units in several hundred years. Hopefully, your family won’t suffer until then.

          1. I would do that but I have morals. Money is not everything except to tenants. I love the typical rent-controlled tenants response: sell. It is my right not to have to sell so I won’t.

            I’m done with rent control. I just got myself a non-rent controlled building so you people can support my prices. I would rather leave my rent-controlled stuff vacant than contribute to supply in this city. By the way, my stuff is absolutely gorgeous – bay views and well kept. Enjoy the target on your back.

          2. Yes, you have the right not to sell, but you also have the right not to own. So why do you own rent controlled property in SF? It doesn’t seem to make you happy. And you say you don’t need the income. You must know there are more than 50k rental units in SF that are not under rent control.
            BTW, I’m a longtime owner in SF not a renter. I just don’t see why anyone would be in a business they don’t enjoy and doesn’t generate profit.

          3. Hitman – I don’t understand this at all. If your units are empty and gorgeous, you obviously got rid of the leeches you so despise, and could get market rate at a time of really high rents. So you are eschewing a significant income stream on the CHANCE that that income stream might not appreciate at the same rate as the market? And that is just a chance – the market could drop, or your tenants could leave (after all, they’ll be paying a pretty high rent if they start now). In your experience, what’s the average residence time? And you’ve had these units for a long time, so you are certainly benefiting from Prop 13 keeping your property taxes low. Unless these are heavily leveraged, your carrying costs can’t be more than the rent you’d get in today’s market. And if you can’t cover the carrying costs at that rent, how can you afford to keep them empty? This goes to show that there is no such thing as a perfectly rational market – people make irrational economic decisions all the time,

            I could understand that if you had

        2. The lack of self-consciousness here is breathtaking. You received property purely by birthright (“family . . . multiple generations”) and you’re morally indignant about the entitlement of your tenants? Too much.

      2. what percentage of Manhattanites below 110th street live in poverty nowadays? that’s likely what was meant

          1. Does your primer on “civility” depend on whether I live north or south of 110th St or my income?

          2. thanks for the advice and for your offer of instruction. So generous of you, and so kind. Having done some growing up around 110th st, my manners can in small percentage be somewhat poor. Hopefully, they’ll not rustle your civilities further.

          3. sure thing, now, back to the thing that i actually said, on percentage? south of 110th, Manhattan, nowadays? not that high any more these days? (not, “poor people don’t exist there” — wasn’t me. you jumped down my throat for trying to make sense of something someone else said)

          4. 110th St? someone compares New York to SF and you interpret them as likely to have meant Manhattan south of 110th St. Why? Why exclude north of 110th St, and the other 4 boroughs? Especially in a discussion of where poor people live.

          5. uh, because I thought that that was what the person meant. Might be wrong. You get my point though.

          6. not sure what point you think you have made. There are millions of people living in poverty in NYC and some of them do live in Manhattan south of 110th St. FWIW, “110th St” has meaning as an historic racial/ethnic dividing line and some people use it as a kind of dog whistle, but maybe those weren’t the notes you meant to play.

            Regardless of any trends in NYC or some section of NYC, the poverty rate in SF is higher now than it was 15 or 25 years ago. The middle of the income distribution is slowly declining in SF as a percentage, not the lower or upper income ends of the distribution.

          7. Yes, as is Manhattan, and more so the Manhattan many (most?) people talk of when they say “New York City,” which was my point.

          8. I’ve spent a lot of time in Manhattan and while I’ve known people living there that rarely cross the East River and almost never go to Staten or the Bronx, they don’t say Manhattan when they mean NYC. And even if you do, why cut it off at 110th St? FWIW, Manhattan does run all the way north up to 220th St. Plenty of great stuff and people north of 110th St.

            So, no, I don’t think I get your point. I’m not even sure you ever made a point or one worth getting anyway.

          1. then your point was to suggest we replace a broad inaccuracy “Poor people do not live in … New York” with two narrower inaccuracies: Manhattan is NYC and the percentage of poor in an arbitrary slice of it wasn’t “that high any more these days.”
            Saying Manhattan is NYC is wrong no matter how many people do it. Downplaying poverty is pernicious, particularly in response to another’s flaming about it, or so the better angels of my Internet social graces tell me.
            FYI, there are more than 100,000 residents of Manhattan south of 110th St living in poverty. That seems like a high number to me, but I guess we could ask them, or maybe ask those that don’t even know Manhattan isn’t NYC whether living somewhere with 10k poor people per sq mile would seem like a high number, these days.

          2. no, my point is not for you to put words in my mouth. certainly that is not my point. I offered an explanation of what someone else might have meant. it’s a common misnomer, as well. And I was talking percentages all along, wasn’t I, so convenient of you to switch to numbers. The fact of the matter is that the Manhattan most people think of when they think of Manhattan, and yes of course Manhattan does not encompass New York City, but many think of it that way, does not have very many poor people percentage wise. OK? Feel free to not take the last word for once in your internet life. I am thinking you’ve not opted for that freedom before. Try it. It’s liberating.

          3. You’re welcome to look up the percentages. They don’t support your statements or the statements you sought to clarify.

      3. 1.6 million live in Manhattan, you are including the boroughs, where there are higher rates of poverty. All things being equal most metropolitan dwellers would rather live in NYC rather than the Bronx, queens,Brooklyn or Staten Island especially, if they work in NYC.

  23. I think what all of you don’t understand is that is simply MORE PROFITABLE to leave your prime SF property empty. That is what the math created by a bunch of idiots at city hall dictates. I can take my money out of the property with financing and invest that $ in better ways (i.e. buying rent control strangled properties and re-purposing). Sure rents are good now but they will be better tomorrow. They will always go up in this regime because the law is structured for that to happen. I’m not even considering the next crazy law that Comrade Campos will put on the books to screw me now if I get into that “business”. In my 20+ years in SF real estate I have only seen a soft tenant market during 2007-2009. If I rent my stuff out it only means that I have to write a big check down the line. Don’t think I am not investing in SF real estate – I am driving prices up just like the rest of you. The difference is that I am not stupid enough to get into the “business” of renting out rent controlled properties.

    I will be in the business of re-purposing rent controlled properties because that has become a low risk business. Ironically, it feeds itself. Ellis a property and there are more tenants looking for something (demand increase). The property that has just been Ellis’d is un-rentable for 5 years ( a supply constraint). It is a whole grand feedback loop that gets louder and louder everyday. All that noise is money. The small minds lame the Ellis Act but the big minds know it is a result of rent control itself. All of you real estate moguls people point to high rents now but that is a fool’s game because those rents diminish in real dollars according to the ordinance. To illustrate this truth, I would ask you would be “investors” to look around and consider how many landlords that rented their properties out 20 years ago would rather their building simply burn down for insurance money. If you have a building strangled by rent control you hit the lottery if your building burns down. There is something wrong with a system where an empty building is worth more than a leased one but I don’t expect any of you to understand that. Just keep voting like idiots and you vote for your own eviction.

  24. OK, now it’s clear. So it’s not that you can’t make money renting out rent controlled property, it HOW MUCH money you can make doing that vs. holding the property empty and then selling or “repurposing” it. Fine, maximize the return on your capital, but that does not mean renting is unprofitable. Business people can choose all kinds of return on investment, you are just choosing your own approach. It’s nice that you have the means to eschew the income and realize the long-term gains. Not all landlords can do that.

    1. That’s the point. Only landlords that cross the threshold from being mom & pop to player can. The effect of all the crazy Campos legislation is gentrify the city in every respect. Small mom & pop landlords cannot compete without a lot of luck or savvy that most don’t have. There is no middle ground allowed between landlords and tenants so rentals only go to the rich. I’m a lawyer and I already have my chips – I will succeed no matter what but I do care abut this city too. The carpetbaggers that come here to make political names for themselves are ruining the city. Campos is the true gentrifier – only too stupid to know it or too evil not to care.

  25. I would warn all landlords – unless you plan on slumming, don’t get lured in by the high rents. Sooner or later you will pay. Right now you can raise by 80% of cpi. I would not be surprised if it becomes 50% then 30% then 0. Payouts will always get bigger too. Stay out of SF unless you are ready to play dirty because the commies will always try and take from you.

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