San Francisco June 7th 2016 Primary Election Guide for YIMBYs

If you live in San Francisco, there’s a good chance you and your friends talk a lot about housing prices. Earlier this year, prices for a 1-bedroom apartment exceeded Manhattan for the first time, making San Francisco one of the most expensive cities in the country.

How did this happen?

Policies at the local, regional, and state levels have blocked sufficient new housing from being built. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people are rushing into the area, looking to take advantage of a booming tech economy. In 2015 alone, the region added over 64,000 new jobs while building only 5,000 new units of housing. The result is not only record-breaking prices, but also increased displacement of long-time lower-income residents, threatening the city’s diverse culture.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Get out to the polls on June 7th and say “YES IN MY BACKYARD” for a San Francisco with enough housing for everyone. You can find your polling place on the SF Elections website.

Below are my recommendations for the election with emphasis on key races that relate to housing and transportation. If you’re in a hurry, there’s a cheat sheet at the bottom with my recommendations for every race in the election. If you have any questions, please reach out on Twitter.


State: State Senator District 11

Scott Wiener is the pro-housing, pro-transit candidate. He understands that housing prices are set by supply & demand and authored the city’s Subway Master Plan. His main opponent Jane Kim frequently opposes new housing construction and has repeatedly tried to dismantle the city’s tech shuttle program, which takes cars off the road. Vote for Scott Wiener.

San Francisco Proposition C

VOTE NO. Today, San Francisco requires that 12% of units in any new market-rate housing project be set aside as “Below Market Rate” (BMR) housing, available to individuals and families who earn less than some percent of the the area median income. This is known as Inclusionary Housing. Proposition C would increase the amount of required BMR units in new construction from 12% to 25%.

Double affordability sounds great, so what’s the problem?

Inclusionary Housing is paid for by the housing developer, not taxpayers. A move to requiring 25% BMR, a number “grabbed from thin air” by supporters, increases the overall cost of housing. This will slow down new construction and put even more upward pressure on prices.

A report from the San Francisco Office of Economic Analysis found that Proposition C will cause a decrease of 11-13.5% in housing production and points out that a loss of market-rate housing “harms affordability for all income groups — especially those for which no affordable housing subsidy is provided”.

Proposition C will contribute to a scarcity of homes and increase displacement. VOTE NO.

Democratic Council Central Committee (DCCC)

If you haven’t heard of the DCCC, you’re not alone. Fortunately, Grow San Francisco has a great post explaining what the DCCC is all about and why this election has critical implications for our housing shortage:

There’s an obscure, often overlooked San Francisco election coming up in June: the Democratic committee that runs our local politics. If you know who to vote for, one informed vote for abundant housing will have the impact of hundreds — even thousands — of votes, in every local and state race, for the next 4 years.

The SF YIMBY Party has done the hard work of sorting through the dizzying list of 60 candidates (including 10 incumbents) running for 24 seats. They have put together a pro-housing slate, which I recommend following:


Other Races & Cheat Sheet

Below is my full list of recommendations, based on information above and endorsements from regional democratic party leaders and organizations:

FEDERAL: UNITED STATES SENATOR
Kamala Harris
FEDERAL: UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 12
Nancy Pelosi
STATE: STATE SENATOR DISTRICT 11
Scott Wiener
STATE: MEMBER OF STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 17
David Chiu
STATE: MEMBER OF STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 19
Phil Ting
DEMOCRATIC PARTY COUNTY CENTRAL COMMITTEE (DCCC) / ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 17
(Vote for all)
Alix Rosenthal
Arlo Hale Smith
Francis Tsang
Gary McCoy
Jill Wynns
Joshua Arce
Leah Pimentel
Malla Cohen
Rebecca Prozan
Scott Wiener
Tom Hsieh, Sr.
Zoe Dunning
DEMOCRATIC PARTY COUNTY CENTRAL COMMITTEE (DCCC) / ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 19
(Vote for all)
Emily Murase
Joel Engardio
Kat Anderson
Keith Baraka
Marjana Philhour
Mark Farrell
Mary Jung
Rachael Norton
Tom A Hsieh Jr.
Trevor McNeil
JUDICIAL: JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT, OFFICE NO 7
Paul Henderson
STATE PROPOSITIONS
Prop. 50 (Suspension of Legislators): YES
CITY AND COUNTY PROPOSITIONS
Prop A. (Health & Safety): YES
Prop B. (Parks): YES
Prop C. (Housing): NO
Prop D. (Police Shootings): YES
Prop E. (Sick Leave): YES
DISTRICT PROPOSITIONS
Prop AA. (Bay Cleanup): YES

All recommendations are my personal opinion and do not reflect the views of my employer.