Why SF Progressives are full of shit, part 1 out of infinity
This is the first in a series of posts explaining why SF Progressives are basically liars. I don’t know how many posts there will be, ultimately. I am daily depressed by the new, cynical misdirections they invent, so I don’t anticipate ever running out of subject matter.
The first cynical misdirection one is the name itself. “Progressives” in SF are actually, literally, conservative. Their primary concern is protecting (or conserving) neighborhood character, which is synonymous with stopping new building. They will prioritize conservation of the existing built environment over all other concerns: affordability, diversity, public health, access to opportunity, bike and public transit infrastructure. This makes them a particularly devious part of the public conversation. At least pro-life activists are transparent with their goal. Progressives tell the SF public they prioritize affordability, diversity and the environment, but their actions betray them.
This post is about the SF Progressive claim that they want to capture 100% of the profits from development. This is an argument they use to justify high inclusionary percentages and to oppose the density bonus. In fact, Progressives support high inclusionary percentages and oppose the density bonus because high inclusionary percentages kill housing and because the density bonus helps build housing.
I know SF Progressives don’t actually care about SF capturing 100% of the profits of development because there is a policy they could promote that would achieve that goal, and they don’t pursue it.
Reader. Can you think of a way that a city could capture 100% of the profits of at least some developments? I’ll wait …
The city can be the developer!!! The city owns land. The city can develop its own land.
This is a policy that would achieve the Progressives stated goal, but no progressive has ever shown any interest at all in promoting any such project. In fact, when I ask about it, the conversation goes like this:
“oh that’s impossible, the city can’t be a developer. That can’t happen.”
“no one at the city is a developer”
“hire a developer.”
“no no no no a city can’t be a developer, that’s not a possible thing.”
“Canada does it. The Canadian Federal government develops its own land, and keeps the profits it generates. In addition, individual cities, like Vancouver, also develop their own land.”
“We can’t do that in SF.”
So if a SF Progressive tells you he thinks the city should capture the profits from development, try it yourself. Suggest the Progressive pursue a policy that would achieve the stated goal and see what excuse they make up for why it’s certainly impossible.
Until next time!