November 2015: NO on Proposition I

No issue in San Francisco seems more acute than our current housing crisis, and to be sure it is an environmental issue. Vibrant, socioeconomically, diverse cities are the best way to prevent suburban sprawl and its attendant environmental problems such as resource-intensive living and habitat destruction. Unfortunately, cities across the country are facing similar problems of housing demand outstripping housing supply. Proposition I is a well-meaning attempt to address part of this crisis in the Mission district, one of the San Francisco neighborhoods most affected. Long term residents and businesses in the Mission are dealing with a dramatic increase in property values which is, in turn, leading to a high number of evictions and a rapidly changing neighborhood character. Prop I would establish an 18 month moratorium on housing projects that do not contain 100% affordable housing (with possibility of a 1 year extension). In that time, the City would be required to come up with a Neighborhood Stabilization Plan which would propose ways to help the Mission reach 50% affordable on new construction going forward.

While we strongly believe more must be done to address San Francisco's housing crisis and the affordability issues it creates, we believe Prop I will likely not improve much and will more likely cause greater harm. By stalling new housing construction, even for luxury units, without addressing demand, Prop I will most likely cause the already sky-high value of existing housing stock to increase, fueling still more speculation, and more evictions. While it is critical to build more affordable housing in San Francisco, and in particular to the Mission, Prop I does nothing to actually address the issue of creating more affordable housing.

In addition to this measure's practical limitations, we also dislike the fact that this is essentially ballot-box planning. However much we may agree with the intentions behind the measure, to protect the City's affordability, socio-economic diversity, and character, we urge you to vote No on Proposition I.