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It’s still called trickle-down economics, even in San Francisco

February 26, 2015

By David Campos : sfexaminer – excerpt

Who Paid Attention in Economics 101?

Something unsettling has occurred – the ghost of Ronald Reagan has spoken from the grave and he’s chosen a San Francisco Supervisor as his mouthpiece.

A colleague of mine, Supervisor Scott Wiener, recently published a letter addressing affordable housing activists and an unnamed elected official. The letter claims that people who don’t believe in laissez-faire housing policies also don’t believe in the law of supply and demand. While affordable housing advocates are used to the mischaracterization of their policies, I have to admit I am surprised that a San Francisco Supervisor in 2015 is dusting off tired, warmed-over Milton Friedman tropes and trying to pass them off as smart housing policy.

Let me be clear – not a single affordable housing activist denies the existence of the law of supply and demand. Where we all agree is that the incredibly complex San Francisco housing crisis won’t be solved by the recitation of freshman economics notes. But while we’re talking about Econ 101, here’s a refresher – the policies they are pushing aren’t referred to by liberals as “supply and demand” they’re called “free market development” – otherwise known as deregulation. And deregulation is a bad idea for most markets, especially housing.

Let Them Eat Cake Development

My Moratorium is Better than Yours

There has been a lot of speculation and hand ringing about possible interim controls in the Southern Mission. Here’s some history. In the last 20 years, the Mission District has lost 1,400 Latino families. My office and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce and Economic Development – with the unanimous support of the Board of Supervisors – funded the creation of a neighborhood group called Calle 24. Its goal is to protect the character of the Southern Mission and prevent displacement of its residents and small business. Following an almost two year process, the community group made up of local residents, merchants, and artists came up with a plan.

The group has called upon the board of Supervisors and the Mayor to do three things: fast track the development of affordable housing in the Mission; pass interim controls to preserve land for affordable housing development in the neighborhood; and form a special use district, with controls similar to those in Japantown, to preserve the neighborhoods unique historic and Latino character. Ironically, the same colleague who has criticized Calle 24’s recommendations, recently introduced similar development controls on what he calls “monster houses” being built in his own neighborhood. Free marketeers often try and stop poor communities from having a voice in development, but are happy to exchange their ‘supply and demand’ hat for a nimby hat when it comes to protecting their own backyard.

Economics 102

Tenant Evictions have risen 38% in the last 3 years. Ellis Act evictions, which take rental units off the market forever, have doubled every year for the past three years. Almost 2,000 tenants were evicted last year, the highest in 15 years. Housing advocates have consistently asked the Mayor and Board of Supervisors to support policies that would end the erosion of our current supply of affordable units and have consistently been rejected. When people are evicted from their rent controlled homes we diminish supply. When apartment owners convert units to condos we diminish supply. When homeowners put units on the short term rental market we diminish supply. Civic leaders are going to have to take this crisis seriously and be willing to put forward innovative solutions that don’t rely on false cause and effect – the people of San Francisco are demanding it.

David Campos is a San Francisco supervisor… (more)

One Comment leave one →
  1. holeshothunter permalink
    February 26, 2015 8:21 am

    Weiner. Rub him out.


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