A ballot measure intended to stop market-rate housing developments of more than 20 units in the Mission, and not just in the area around 24th Street, has been drafted by “a coalition of affordable housing and progressive groups.”

The expected measure would create a moratorium on market-rate housing projects across the Mission for up to 18 months, during which “the Planning Department would study how to create a “neighborhood stabilization plan” that would boost affordable housing with new zoning rules and funding,” according to the Business Times.

And according to an executive of the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club, a member of the coalition, the goal of the measure is not to stop all development, but “to stop incredibly large development that focus exclusively on market-rate housing” and “ensure that if developers are going to build in our city they’re going to figure out a way to build affordable housing, even if that could be cutting into their 15 to 20 percent profit margins.”

103 thoughts on “Ballot Measure To Halt Housing Developments In The Mission Drafted”
  1. This is so wrong. So completely wrong.

    And housing prices just will keep going up and up and up and………….

        1. To all the folks who continue to question the economics of supply and demand, I will try to lay it out very simply:

          –Will building or not building more market rate housing now reduce prices right now? NO!!
          –Will over-building market rate housing now (during a boom) result in a dramatic reduction in rental prices when we hit the next bust (which I watched happen here in 2002 and 2009 and will inevitably happen again)? YES!!
          –Will halting building now (during a boom) keep prices from declining during the next bust? YES!!

          So really you have two choices — over-build now and get lower prices in the future, or halt building now and have higher prices forever. Your choice.

          1. Most people do not like change, even if not changing goes against their long term interest. Building more diminishes the pressure on rent controlled tenants. But by seeing new wealthier people around, the long term residents feel threatened, therefore they want to stop this in its tracks.

            Therefore we have the situation of frogs surrounded with hot water and the more they stay put the more the temperature is rising

      1. Yes, it is in fact that simple If I were an existing landlord in the Mission, then I would love this measure and seek to raise rents on all available units I had and also look at all legal avenues for evicting current tenants, including the Ellis Act, to cash in. It simply would make my property more valuable. The growth limitation measure Proposition M was strongly supported by the existing big downtown landlord’s at the time because they knew it would limit competition for their office developments. I imagine this new proposed ballot measure will get big support from many existing Mission landlords.

        1. I suspect that if you were a landlord in the Mission, you would already be doing those things. And landlords in the Mission *are* already doing those things. This supply/demand imbalance cannot be solved by expecting San Francisco to house everyone who wants to work here…or work up and down the Peninsula to Mountain View.

          For those who keep saying that more supply of high-end housing reduces costs to consumers, please provide some tangible/measurable evidence of that (other than recitations of mechanistic ideas about how markets operate). To all of the armchair economists in this comments section, can anyone quantify the extent to which rent/home price increases in San Francisco have been mitigated by the construction of thousands of units over the past several years? How much money have renters been saved by the removal of rent controlled units from our housing stock?

          It seems to be a widely held article of faith here that if we give developers and landlords (“home creators?”) everything they want that buyers and renters will be the big beneficiaries. I’m skeptical.

          1. I would say the burden of proof would be on you since you’re questioning the very basic principle of a capitalist economy.

            Please prove that under-building didn’t create the supply constraint. Please prove that rent control did nothing to create scarcity. It’s very basic stuff.

          2. @Fronzi…it’s so basic you’re not going to be bothered to support your position. Ok got it.
            I’m saying That belief in free-market fundamentalism without need for support is not convincing. Real economists aren’t afraid to show their work.

          3. There have been fewer new units built than new residents by somewhere in the 10s of thousands over the past decade. Over the same time period, housing has become significantly more expensive. Given those facts, I think the burden’s on you to explain why it’s so much more complicated than commonsense supply and demand.

          4. dude, if you bring in more new residents than you build housing for, then prices will rise. its pretty simple. SF has a ton of pent up demand and has been building quantitiy as if its palo alto instead of a real city.
            Its a very simple explanation. now can you please try to explain why you think stopping new housing will help lower or stop the rise in costs. That would be a nobel prize winning explanation if you could do it

          5. I don’t need evidence. I will put my $ where my mouth is a buy the Mission until every unit is Ellis’d. It is common sense and I hope people like Dixon Hill win and vote for their own gentrification.

          6. Nice straw man “belief in free-market fundamentalism”. Really? This has been debunked many many times. Most market supporters here are not fundamentalists.

            For one, I have said many times that the market needed to be regulated, simply because we are not the wild west with unlimited space and resources. Yes we need to build more, we need to support new developments and NOT discourage people who want to risk their own money. But we must do it following strict guidelines in height and density, and we must look at transit and livability. And wherever we CAN have density, like on a transit corridor such as the Mission, limits have to be loosened. We could easily see 6, 8 or 10 floors.

            Now will extra supply help lower prices? On one hand developers are not supposed to be idiots and should be able to restrain themselves from building too much too fast. But the issue with construction cycles is that between the time you’ve secured your nice plot of land and the time you’ve sold your units, 4, 5 or even 6 years could pass. Market cycles being what they are, there’s always the chance that you will end up with a relative fire sale. Anyone who was following the market in 2008-2012 has seen a market that lost its support and anything delivered at the wrong time just lingered for months and months. Cubix? Also poorly timed flipping at ORH or The Beacon.

            After each downturn there’s always a lag period during which 1) developers will be more risk averse 2) financing will be harder to get. This period in our last cycle was 2009-2011. We have seen new developments these past 4 years on Valencia and Mission. They were ridiculed as overpriced but the reality is that they were very profitable because there was almost nothing of quality for sale in that area. Now there are many new projects that jumped on the bandwagon these past 2 years and in my opinion some might be poorly timed. Just let them build and when the downturn comes, there will be “more affordable” housing for a year or 2. Right timing is the last chance for the middle class in SF.

          7. Let me guess, Dixon Hill. You’re also still looking for evidence that greenhouse gas emissions are affecting the climate, right? I mean, it’s just a kneejerk reaction based on a mechanistic model.

        2. As a Realtor, I’m in favor of this. If passed, it will create scarcity, increase the number of buyers/offers and drive up prices even more. I couldn’t think of a faster way (other than a natural disaster) to clear the riff-raff out of the Mission. Just because you think you are a rent controlled a/o protected tenant, so long as you live in a privately owned building, you are always in danger of an OMI or being Ellis’ed.

  2. Pale face ship come in harbor. Bad news.
    No place to get smoked venison around here.
    All squaw displaced by burrito shops.
    No more new tepees.

  3. “ensure that if developers are going to build in our city they’re going to figure out a way to build affordable housing, even if that could be cutting into their 15 to 20 percent profit margins.”

    or maybe the developers will simply build in another neighborhood or city nearby.

    1. Not likely. Developers love this city and the fat profits from a good market. The amount of product in the pipeline proves how much they like building here. The city can and should demand more from them in exchange. Developers understand about pricing their goods at what the market will bear. We should do the same when it comes to the privilege of building in San Francisco. The provides more to developers (in terms of providing a desirable place to locate businesses and residences) than they give the city.

      Much of the product in the pipeline may not be built during this cycle. Several cycles may be required to build everything currently contemplated. But while developers want to build, we should demand plenty in return.

      1. Developers will make whatever profit they seek from their developments. If they can’t build 40 units then they’ll make the same profit on 15 or 20 units. Affordable? Not so much.

  4. Pure insanity. Even if it fails at the ballot, this just means more uncertainty for developers. Uncertainty increases costs so this is just accelerating the lack of affordability in SF. I guess I should be happy since it will just drive the price of my home in the Mission up even faster, but I’m sad for the collective stupidity of SF progressives.

      1. People like you and me are rational liberals, not the ignorant militant types who flock here for they 3 year maximum tenure.

    1. much much worse. these uneducated fools are only hurting themselves, while putting real money into current owners pockers.

    2. For who? Not community organizers, who do better the more their constituency is threatened. Not politicians, who like to be seen as trying to accommodate the needs of the people. Not property owners, who will make more money.

      Oh, the people that need affordable housing? Yes, I agree. Only going to get worse.

  5. If this passes and developers cannot build new market-rate housing in the Mission, won’t that increase the incentive for property owners to Ellis Act their tenants?

    If so, the law would harm the very people it seeks to protect.

  6. So send these politicians a message by voting NO on any moratoriums. They seem to think they understand the collective will of all SF residents. The Giants may also put their office towers and hotel on the November ballot. Vote YES on that.

  7. The whole concept is silly. Even if so called affordable housing units were built in the area, that would only benefit the very small number of people either lucky to win a spot from a lottery and who also have incomes below whatever line is set. In other words, what they propose does nothing to make the Mission or any other part of San Francisco affordable at a large scale, for a great number for people and families. The only thing that will work is the up gauging and infill of neighborhoods throughout The City.

    1. I agree with you. I would also suggest a little investigation of the group drafting this referendum. I would be willing to bet that they are either individuals that will benefit from the reduced supply and higher prices or they just don’t have a grasp of unintended consequences.

      1. Based on what I’ve seen at public demonstrations and neighborhood meetings, it’s the latter. There’s a level of mob mentality that is propagated by a few ringleaders who just really don’t get it.

        1. generally this type of thing is led by misguided and uneducated individuals who get others to vote against their own self interest. I dont find this much different than all the uneducated southerners who vote republican because of their “religion” even though repub policies hurt them socially and economically. its all ideology without an practical sense.

          1. Nixon ‘ s “Southern strategy” = pure racism and it’s still working today. To his everlasting credit, LBJ recognized it coming but went ahead with his civil rights legislation because it was the right thing to do.

  8. Even by misguided ballot initiative standards, this is pretty short sided and counter-productive to their own stated goals. It immediately creates some interesting dynamics. Property owners have an incentive to vote for it as decreased supply will increase prices.

  9. If Campos is supporting this, we might finally be on the same side of a ballot measure but for much different reasons.

    1. I deeply regret voting for Chui. I wish I had the forethought to vote for Campos and send him to Sacramento where he could do no harm.

      1. Is that the way we get rid of incompetent and divisive politicians? Send them to Sacramento with a promotion?

        Nope. He should just go the Daly way: a failed business, then the suburbs, then begging his old buddies for ANY job.

        1. Yeah. I too was tempted to vote Campos to get his worthless ass out of our city but couldn’t bring myself to give him a promotion. Better that he is defeated at the ballot box and takes a long walk off a (decaying) short pier.

      2. Don’t make the same mistake again – support this measure as it is the rope Campos will hang himself with!

  10. this is dumm…but please vote on this and if it passes…then my little 2 unit building in the mission will go up in value another 15%

    THANK YOU!!!

  11. The best way to make a city more affordable:

    Invite all developers to try their luck, set up some basic guidelines of heights, density, give them the permits, watch as they stumble upon themselves to build, then overbuild. The overbuilding creates an oversupply that can be picked up for cheap on a regular basis.

    1. That’s a very simplistic concept.

      So, over building does nothing more than create an oversupply of housing to be bought cheaply? Really?
      By your way of thinking then, the quality of life HERE in SF, the human scale of our neighborhoods, our unique local businesses, and the culture that really does make us unique around the planet, does not seem to matter.

      Let’s just “overbuild”. Nothing else matters. Right?

      1. Still busy building straw men, futurist?

        some basic guidelines of heights, density

        Reading is hard. I get it.

      2. Good lord. get out of your bubble for a minute or two and travel the world. SF just isnt that special.I love the profound cognitive dissonance of someone who exalts “SF culture” and the simultaneously argues for shutting the gates to town so that only people who are lucky enough to be here now can experience it.

        1. Really? So we’re not that special or unique? Ok. Well, when I was in London, Paris, Berlin and Frankfort recently why did EVERYONE there I met just instantly lit up and wanted to say how much they love San Francisco, or can’t wait to come and visit?

          I’m glad we’re building, but hope we never “overbuild”. We can’t accommodate everyone who simply “wants” to live here, and we don’t have to. There really is a definable limit as to how much we “should” build and how dense we want to become. It’s not our sole responsibility to house the entire demand that the Bay Area attracts.

          Since our urban transit and infrastructure is far lagging behind the demand that housing will cause, we have to moderate the growth, with long term and RESPONSIBLE solutions. And that means to not simply feed the demand with more and more.

          1. So because people in some of the worlds largest cities knew where you were from, and “lit up” – it proves SF is some magical wonderland where nothing should ever change in order to preserve your subjective view of “culture” and “unique local businesses”?

            I hope you aren’t thinking that you’re speaking for anyone but yourself when you say “we can’t accommodate..”

            Let’s think back to a more welcoming time in SF when housing costs were not in the stratosphere. Do you think people like you were arguing that it wasn’t SFs responsibility to house people who simply “want to live here”? We had a hell of a lot more of the unique culture you reference then. I get it though: SF became perfect and unchangable the day you landed.

          2. futurist,

            I’d say SF is a combination of strikes of luck and the choices of its citizen. The strikes of luck were the gold rush, silver rush, the rebalancing of the world towards the Pacific, the 1st dot-com boom, the 2nd tech boom.

            At every boom people have taken chances, blazed a new path, made their own destiny. And this is what build SF. Now we can choose to worship the past and slow down growth. But every entity that stands still during boom times is due for a painful time when the inevitable downturn comes.

            By the way, you didn’t react when I called you out on your strawman. It’s not the first man I see you do that. Maybe it’s too lowly of you to admit your excesses?

          3. SF’s popularity has nothing to do with its “human scale”. People love to come here for a lot of reasons, but most of them never set foot in the neighborhoods we’re debating on this site. Most visitors spend their entire time north of Market and east of Van Ness, save for the odd trip to the Golden Gate Bridge. They love SF for the climate, the views, the dining and the shopping. They haven’t been coming here for “the people” for at least 20 years.

            Btw, people light up when you say you’re from NYC too. How’s that for “human scale”?

          4. Read AGAIN what I posted 2 hours ago:

            1. I welcome change. I welcome all the new construction.
            2. I don’t advocate going higher and higher just to increase density. Our transit system cannot handle it.
            3. I advocate working within the existing zoning regulations.
            4. I like the scale of Mission Bay. I love the scale of Rincon Hill and the new lower Folsom.
            5. I love the new growth around Van Ness/ Market.
            6. We are a special/unique American city. Let’s not forget that. And yea, it really is a magical wonderland. And it’s been changing since it was founded.
            7. I welcome the new housing market rate and “affordable” in the Mission.
            8. let’s stop the madness of the DR process and let’s not allow EVERY project be put to a public vote. We have a planning commission for those roles.
            9. Let’s get Oakland on board to build a LOT more housing.

          5. “…EVERYONE there I met just instantly lit up and wanted to say how much they love San Francisco, or can’t wait to come and visit”

            Dude, don’t confuse politeness and an affinity towards a good vacation destination with exceptionalism. No doubt SF and coastal California are great places but there are so many others.

          6. Futurist is exactly right in pointing out that “more building – lower rents” is not the only relevant consideration. Others include ensuring that a lovely city is not rendered not so lovely; the will of the residents; traffic concerns, mass transit capacity; crime; strains on schools, parks, water/energy/sewer infrastructure, etc.. It is no answer to just say “don’t worry about it, we’ll deal with all that later.”

            I’m a big fan of further, smart development. And I agree that those complaining primarily about rising rents are being irrational in opposing all new development. But I’m certainly not at all in favor of “overbuilding to create an oversupply that can be picked up for cheap.” That is madness. These are extremely complex issues and involve far more than basic supply/demand issues that many incorrectly believe to be the only relevant consideration.

          7. I completely disagree. It is our duty and imperative to provide housing for everyone who wants to live here. If someone wants to move to SF and they are able bodied and can get a job, they should be able to do so and we should be building housing for them. Anything else is selfishness and sociopathy masked in a thin veneer of “protecting the city’s character.”

            San Francisco IS special. Especially smug and self-centered.

          8. This is why I stated above that this is an excellent candidate for a ballot initiative. There are obviously fundamental disagreements on this very important issue. A democratic vote is the best way, and the only real way, to address it.

          9. Ok, so wow!!! It’s actually our DUTY AND IMPERATIVE that we supply housing to anyone who wishes to live here?

            Well. that’s a good one. Trouble is a lot of people actually think this way. We actually have NO duty whatsoever to provide all the housing that demand generates. China already does that in their most over crowded, smog filled cities with block after block of dreary super tall high rises. How’s there quality of life?

            MY premise is that QUALITY OF LIFE here MUST rank highly in our goals of providing housing while keeping San Francisco a livable, humane city. We have no inherent social or moral obligation to grow unchecked.

    2. Lol, the best way to make the city more affordable is to make it undesirable to live here.
      It’s expensive to live here because lots of people want to do so, and they are all competing over a relatively small number of available units.

      If 1000 people want to live here, and 10% of those 1000 people are rich, and there are only 100 units available, then guess what, we have 100 rich people moving in, paying rich prices to do so.

      1. Really? Are you pranking us?

        So how do we make it undesirable?

        And what’s the problem with rich people? If you and I are part of that group ( I’m just being hypothetical), then are we part of the problem?

    1. The scary thing is it could pass. If the proponents appeal to the NIMBYs in neighborhoods like the Richmond and Sunset and Potrero with a “you could be next” campaign, they could really rile up the Walking (brain)Dead and get the votes they need.

      1. I think it’s just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, but I’m gonna vote for it. My elderly father-in-law owns two buildings in the Mission so this will surely increase my wife’s inheritance.

        1. Some many of Campos’ proposals have cost me a lot of money, this is the only one that will give my property portfolio & rents a boost.
          A very dumb idea if it’s about helping people in the Mission, but great for landlords and all property owners in the Mission.
          Just get rid of rent control and end the divide, this is the only hope for the middle class.
          Ethically who should vote for this?

  12. In general, the initiative process is asinine.

    However, the general question raised by this one of essentially “what do we want the Mission to be” would seem to be among the better issues to address through the initiative process. The SF residents will either vote Yea or Nay on this, and then we will know. I’m voting against this should it muster enough support to make it to the ballot (which is far from certain), but I do think it is a good subject to put to a vote.

    1. You think the average voter is informed enough about development and economics to provide anything other than an emotional yes or no vote on this? Voting on something just because you can is not a good reason. This is an embarrassment to good government.

    2. Yes, what do we want the Mission to be – a rundown, underbuilt neighborhood along a major transit corridor; or a neighborhood pulling its weight on the City-wide need for increased housing? (And by the way, the housing cost in the first alternative are not any better than in the 2nd. Discuss.)

    3. Yes, but this initiative reeks of bias. Housing propositions that Campos spits out every couple of weeks is specifically targeted at keeping the “cultural” aspect of the Mission intact. And he does it several ways: by helping people already in to stay put, and preventing new people from moving in. He is walking a very fine line…

      1. So, will this “What do we want the Mission to be? ” ballot measure also come with multiple choice (A) – (D) answers as well? If so, please list the alternatives.

        1. Well, these initiatives are designed to elicit a gut reaction. It’s basically an Us vs. Them question which is idiotic in a city as diverse as SF.

      2. Let Campos win this one as it is a win for all property owners. He is leading the wave of gentrification, whether he knows it or not. He is a modern day Communist version of Jim Jones, leading his ignorant minions to their own slaughter. They march along willingly with their megaphones and anti-tech rhetoric knowing not what will really be accomplished. Campos is either the biggest idiot or simply a psychopath that gets off on power, regardless of the true consequence. Given his Harvard background, I think the latter is the truth. OK with me this round because I got my chips in the game and he is only assuring their value will not be diluted.

        1. Yes he is a militant, and yes he is a closet communist. But a Jim Jones?

          I would say he represents the latino version of a current that is recurrent to San Francisco since the 60s: people who cannot fit into the capitalist/consumerist American mold who come to some California communities to build or find their utopia.

          But this utopia being just that, they either
          1) accept reality and divert their energy towards living their lives but with a positive approach into improving society
          2) spend all their energy trying to break capitalism and create the utopia they were supposed to find. They get stuck in the past and they can bring down a lot of people with them.

          1. I think even those in Communist China (which now has hyper-capitalism economy) would laugh. Bloomberg magazine had an article about the super rich in China wanting more economic class differentiation because “otherwise, why would anyone want to work harder?”

          2. Or they can move to Redding up north. Plenty of cheap housing there and little chance for gentrification. Utopia’s awaiting!

          3. If you lead your people to their destruction simply because you get off on that power, I think that is Jim Jones. Campos does not seem to be stupid… he is a lot of things but stupid does not seem to fit him. How can he possibly propose such a measure to his flock that will do more harm than good to them? Answer: Psychopath.

    4. That would be a fine question if the desired outcome was actually connected to the question on the ballot. But in this case, a voter could certainly be voting for a particular vision of the Mission (preserve economic and cultural diversity, protect existing residents, a mix of affordable housing, etc.) but the ballot’s outcome is completely opposite (few new units built, prices on artificially constrained stock go even higher, speculation and displacement accelerate). Achieving that desired vision (which is just one of many options, BTW) requires very nuanced policy approaches that are not suited for the ballot.

      Maybe we need a referendum on the vision (since not everyone agrees with the one I posited above), and then put more thinking into the policy options to achieve that vision. This knee-jerk, feel good moratorium does nothing to either clarify what is desired or improve anything on the ground. If the commenters here are right, this may pass with an unholy alliance of activists and landlords/realtors, both who think they are getting the better deal.

      1. or put a referendum on the ballot to “build more housing in the mission in order to lower housing costs and make the mission more inclusive and diverse”

  13. This has all already been vetted. The ENP took a decade plus to put into action. Why can’t Ed Lee simply veto this, saying “Eastern Neighborhoods Plan takes precedence” ? A real mayor would do that. Ed Gladhand Lee will equivocate.

  14. Indian having drink in a bar, minding own business.

    A Spaniard, then a Southerner, then an Italian, then an Irishman, then a Mexican walk in. They all point to the Indian and shout “Hey man, that’s my seat.”

    Indian points to sign reading, “No Reservations” and raises eyebrows at group.

  15. The people who sell junk mail, robocalls, political ads and tv ads will make a fortune off all these stupid ballot measures this fall. Whole forests will be decimated for lies via the mail box.

  16. I think EVNA and DTNA should get onboard with this referendum. Those neighborhood associations demand affordable housing and stopping market rate development looks right.

  17. This is great news. There’s plenty of other places in the city to build. SOMA where you can just raze the existing warehouses, parking lots, garages, and build hundreds of units. The mission needs to be protected from mass development.

    1. @LarryG, why does the Mission need protection from mass development? I tried looking for a list/map of historical buildings in the Mission and right now, only found a few. I think that’s a reason you would restrict development at least in this location, since other restrictions such as available build-able land isn’t an issue.

      1. Thank you!!! This is hand’s down the strongest argument and nobody else is making it.

  18. Very stupid!!! Without added supply, Ellis Act will force out more low renters from the Mission. Why…if you don’t build supply, you push out to feed demand. Economics 101. Supply and Demand. Again, very stupid!!!

  19. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Honorable Supervisor Campos for this wise initiative. As an owner of several properties in the Mission, this is fantastic news. Let’s limit new development, push values of existing buildings higher, and make the mission even more precious.

    Mission = Nob Hill in 5 years? Yes, please.


  20. I hope this passes and I hope the Mission becomes even more unaffordable so that all we’re left with is highly paid tech workers and old people who bought years ago.

    In fact, let’s expand this to the entire city so that we build no more housing That’ll be sure to improve the situation.

  21. There is so much stupidity in a city with arguably the greatest concentration of brain power in the country. It’s such a tragedy.

    The proof in why building more housing = lower housing costs is all around, aka just about any other city. Seattle, for instance. Prices will always rise in a desirable land-constrained coastal market with a surging economy. But they can be tapered by building more housing.

    And the obvious question is IF WE DON’T BUILD MORE MARKET RATE HOUSING, HOW THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO BUILD AFFORDABLE HOUSING? There are no other funding sources now – our funding source IS extorting developers to build for poor people in addition to people who can support their project (aka market rate renters/buyers).


    1. maybe, but some of the mission residents really do bring down the average brainpower by a lot

  22. We can’t look at this issue of affordability district by district. This is a City wide problem – a Bay Area wide problem. The Mission does not operate in a vacuum.

    I find it completely unfair to the entire city that an area w/ exceptional access to public transportation is able to fight against density.

  23. Am I the only one questioning why we are not building large development around 16th/Mission and 24th/Mission? These BART stations should be transit hubs with high density housing development centered around them. How does this not make sense?

    1. because there are still some looney people who think building more housing raises prices


    My wife and I want a home in Atherton but with our meager six figure salaries cannot afford a decent one. Let’s make it BMR to artificially make it happen shall we?

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