1540 Market Street, Suite 100
SF, CA 94102
What is the SF Bay Area Renters' Federation?
SFBARF is an unincorporated club of pro-building, pro-density renters. Housing shortage is bad for renters (and good for homeowners, incidentally). High prices are merely a symptom of the underlying shortage. Fixing prices won't solve the shortage problem. Without, at least, a 5 fold increase in overall yearly production of housing in the Bay Area, we will continue to suffer from displacement, crowding and exploitation from landlords. For more information read an interview here with the founder of SFBARF. Even more press can be found here.
Why Yes on C?
Prop. C would amend an existing seismic safety bond program to make unused funds available for a new purpose: to acquire and rehabilitate apartments that house tenants at risk of eviction and to convert those apartments to permanently affordable housing, aka, help fund the small sites acquisition program. Small sites acquisition (and rent control) are the two best programs we have in San Francisco to directly combat displacement. Small sites acqisition has the added advantage of preserving existing buildings, which many people like the look of.
Because it's related to a bond issue Prop C requires a 2/3 majority. Prop C is not controversial. The Board of Supervisors and the political scene are unanimously in support. However, 20-30% of voters vote "no" on all ballot props, on principle, so make sure you tell your friends to vote Yes on C!
Why Yes on J&K?
Prop J allocates money from the general fund for homeless and transportation services, an estimated $47.75 million and $95.5 million per year. Prop K raises that money through a sales tax. If only J passes, it will be nullified by the mayor, because without the funding provided by K, none of the programs outlined by J are possible. So we have to vote for them together.
You might ask, 'Why do we have to pay for these basic city services through a sales tax, why not through property tax like everywhere else in the US?' Good question my friend. Property tax increases are capped in CA by Prop 13, a 1978 statewide ballot measure. Prop 13 guarantees that homeowners' property taxes will rise slower than inflation. That means that city property tax revenues rise slower than inflation over time, forcing cities to make up the difference through sales taxes.
One way to mitigate the budget bleeding effects of Prop 13 would be to permit new housing at a very fast rate. It doesn't matter as much for property taxes to be capped, if a locality is adding many thousands of new property tax generating homes each year. This is another reason why SFBARF is pro-building.
The programs outlined in J are clearly needed. The best argument against K is that sales taxes are regressive. At the same time, the benefits created by this tax will be reaped primarily by the poor. On balance, it is a net wealth transfer from richer to poorer people.
NO on DHLM
The problem with housing production in San Francisco and the rest of California, simply put, is too much interference from neighbors. The solution is to make control over land use either more decentralized - give land owners the authority to do what they want on their property; or more centralized - give more authority to the city, regional or state government. Either one would be better than what we have now. Our current system of block level control is 3 decades old, and has demonstrated its effectiveness in preventing housing from being built.
What does this have to to with DHLM? DHLM are charter amendments that would each, in different ways, take power away from the Mayor's office and redistribute it to the Supervisors. For years the anti-housing 'progressives' have been trying, and sometimes succeeding, to pass laws that move authority away from the Mayor. This is because, as discussed above, the more we give authority over land use to central powers (Mayors or the Governor) the less power immediate neighbors have to block housing and the more housing we can build. The anti-housing progressives want to be able to preserve their ability to block housing, so they, led by Aaron Peskin, have put forward this slate of measures to move authority away from the Office of the Mayor.
For more information on Props DHL&M please read the SPUR Ballot Guide.
No on X
Prop X would require one-for-one replacement of "Production, Distribution and Repair" space if the space is demolished or converted to another use. Prop X is advertised as preventing artist displacement, when in fact it will increase residential displacement by making it harder to demolish disused industrial space and replace it with housing.
Let's look at a specific example, 1296 Shotwell Street. The current tenant at this address is Auto Repair, Smog & Auto Changers, which falls under the PDR category (auto repair). Recently MEDA & CCDC were awarded a grant by the Mayors Office of Housing to tear down the one story auto repair structure at this address (displace this small business) and build 94 fully subsidized apartments for low income seniors. If Prop X passes, projects like 1296 Shotwell would become infeasible, because Prop X would require MEDA&CCDC to rebuild the demolished auto repair shop on the first floor of the proposed project!
This is absurd. Although it is undeniably unfortunate for Auto Repair, Smog & Auto Changers to be displaced, on balance, it is better for the Mission to build new subsidized housing. There are people who are opposing this project. This ballot measure would serve their interests, not the interestes of San Francisco renters.
For more information visit No on X.
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