How to Vote Pro-Housing
San Francisco YIMBY Supervisor Endorsements for the November 2020 Election
How to vote for pro-housing Supervisors in November!
San Francisco YIMBY is proud to announce our endorsements for the November 2020 District Supervisor races! Over the last few months, we’ve interviewed and received questionnaire responses from a great group of candidates. We thank all of them for their time and thoughtful solutions to the housing crisis. We also thank our membership for asking tough questions, engaging with the candidates, and voting on our endorsements.
Below you will find our endorsed candidates and ways to help their campaigns. We’ll be working hard between now and November to get out the vote for our endorsed candidates. Join YIMBY Action today to stay updated on all the virtual house parties, phonebanks, and other campaign events we’ll be doing in preparation for election day.
District 1: Marjan Philhour
Marjan first ran for Supervisor four years ago and narrowly lost to the sitting Supervisor. With the sitting Supervisor declining to run for re-election, Marjan is back and continuing to run on a strong pro-housing platform.
Marjan has a consistent record supporting building housing of all types throughout District 1, especially on transit corridors like Geary Blvd. She backs efforts to streamline the approval process for badly needed housing and supports the Mayor’s charter amendment to do just that. As a small-business owner, she established the Balboa Village Merchants Association and has opened a small business with her sister, so she understands the need to streamline the business permitting process as well.
None of the other candidates approach the issue of housing with the seriousness it deserves, too often falling back on disingenuous slogans like “only 100% Affordable housing”. We deserve a Supervisor who realizes that 100% of 0 is nothing. We need to be building more housing at all levels to support stabilization programs like Small Sites, one of the only sources of additional affordable housing in District 1 in the last four years. Marjan is that candidate.
We’re proud to endorse Marjan Philhour for District 1 Supervisor.
District 3: Danny Sauter
Danny Sauter is a longtime YIMBY Action member and activist who is challenging the incumbent for the District 3 Supervisor seat. Danny is President of North Beach Neighbors and works to make his neighborhood more inclusive, livable and vibrant. One key strategy is in building more housing. Danny Sauter is a strong advocate for San Francisco YIMBY’s goal to create housing affordability through housing abundance. Danny recognizes that market rate housing is key to building more subsidized affordable housing, and we need to build both. Danny led support for new subsidized affordable senior housing at 88 Broadway against delays from the current incumbent. On issues of zoning, Danny supports legalizing fourplexes across San Francisco. These modest, missing middle homes will provide opportunity for middle-class families. Danny is a renter and understands the impact of our housing crisis. He advocates for expanded renter support, tenant law clinics, and better enforcement of rent control violations through a rental registry.
On street issues, Danny is an avid bike user and supports sustainable transportation by bus, bike and walking. He has a forward-thinking vision for more bus lanes, bike lanes, and safer streets, including a car-free Columbus Avenue. The pandemic is showing popular demand for taking more street space for restaurants and people.
We are proud to endorse Danny Sauter for District 3 Supervisor.
District 5: Vallie Brown
A re-do of the November 2019 election pits pro-housing candidate Vallie Brown against incumbent Supervisor Dean Preston. Just like a year ago, Vallie supports building housing at all income levels, grew up housing insecure, and has 10+ years experience working in the District 5 office. She created the first city-parklet, expanded farmers markets in the district, and championed car free JFK. Vallie was instrumental in identifying, purchasing, and funding new affordable housing in the District, and upzoned the Divisadero corridor, paving the way for hundreds of new families to have a place to live in the city.
After the November 2019 election, we wanted to provide the new Supervisor an opportunity to show how he would prioritize housing. While we supported the sanctioned tent encampment at 730 Stanyan that he worked on with the Mayor, we are disturbed by his anti-housing efforts to delay approved homes at the Lucky Penny housing site which would have added $5 million to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, four new homes on a vacant lot on Grove Street, and his opposition to state density bonus expansion. Furthermore, he has failed to advocate for below market housing at the UCSF Parnassus campus and has refused to take a stance on maximizing the number of affordable homes at 730 Stanyan.
We are proud to endorse Vallie Brown for District 5 Supervisor.
District 7: Myrna Melgar
Myrna Melgar knows more about housing, and the barriers to building more housing, than anyone on the ballot this year. Until stepping down to run for office, Myrna had the challenging role of President of the San Francisco Planning Commission. She has a Master’s in Urban Planning, and has also worked for the Jamestown Community Center, Mission Economic Development Agency, and deeply understands the unique challenges all housing and especially affordable housing face.
Myrna believes in reforming the permitting process and upzoning along commercial corridors. As a former Planning Commissioner, she can lead the way in ending discretionary review abuse and streamlining the production of affordable housing. She supports safe parking sites in her District, which will provide stability to the unhoused population living in cars and RVs.
Finally, Myrna’s allies span every corner of San Francisco’s political landscape. We are excited to support such a trusted leader because housing should not be a partisan issue. We hope that with leadership like hers, progressives in San Francisco can heal the wounds of segregation, end the displacement crisis, and bring more people home.
We are proud to endorse Myrna Melgar for District 7 Supervisor.
District 9: No Endorsement
San Francisco YIMBY is disappointed that the incumbent Supervisor did not draw a challenger this cycle.
While YIMBYs have mixed opinions about the wisdom of blocking market-rate housing in the Mission, this would not be disqualifying alone, as we understand the unique challenges of that area. However, Ronen does not limit her opposition of new housing to communities suffering displacement: she also opposed all new development in wealthier and whiter parts of her District, such as Bernal Heights. It is troubling to hear Supervisor Ronen use the language of racial justice and anti-displacement while she votes to maintain San Francisco’s racist zoning. Her efforts to block market rate housing in wealthy neighborhoods have robbed the Affordable Housing Trust Fund of the fees those projects normally contribute. Year over year, Ronen has made it harder — not easier — to build affordable housing. She even banned RV parking in the Portola, making it even harder for our unhoused residents to have a place to sleep.
YIMBY Action is not endorsing in District 9.
District 11: Ahsha Safai
Ahsha Safai is running for re-election as the District 11 Supervisor. He has been a strong advocate for more housing. He helped create HOME-SF, the city’s density bonus program that increases height limits in exchange for more below market rate housing. He supports statewide housing reform, such as State Senator Scott Wiener’s SB-827 and SB-50, and advocated for new homes in his District, such as at 65 Ocean Ave.
He also worked closely with then Supervisor Vallie Brown to create a vehicular navigation center at Balboa Park, giving a safe sleeping site for our most vulnerable residents. It is vital that we keep his pro-housing voice on the Board of Supervisors.
Ahsha’s challenger is a former Supervisor, running again due to a loophole in San Francisco’s term limits. He has opposed all efforts at statewide zoning reform and intends to block all market-rate housing. Curiously, he admitted in our endorsement questionnaire that San Francisco has exclusionary housing policies but rejected reform.
This race is a clear choice between a candidate who believes in addressing the housing crisis through building more housing and a candidate who uses anti-displacement language to defend racially segregated zoning.
We are proud to endorse Ahsha Safai in District 11.
Don’t forget to join!
To help these pro-housing candidates win, join our amazing community of activists. Please sign on as a member of YIMBY Action (SF YIMBY is a chapter of YIMBY Action). Learn more about membership here.