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Mayor Ed Lee faces fire over who benefits as S.F. booms

March 29, 2015

: latimes – excerpt

The 656-condo Lumina complex promises a “transcendent living experience,” with a club lounge, climbing wall and pet grooming station. The smallest units start at about $1 million. The penthouse is priced at $49 million, a city record.

But on this day, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee had donned a hard hat and orange vest to tour a development farther away from the bay that satisfies the affordable-housing obligation for Lumina’s developer, Tishman Speyer: a complex that will sell 190 condos at below-market prices.

As the elevator doors clanged shut, Carl D. Shannon, Tishman’s senior managing director, told him: “Not everyone in City Hall agrees with me, but I think that building housing solves the housing crisis.”…

Lee, 62, a former tenants’ rights lawyer who spent more than two decades as a city bureaucrat before reluctantly becoming interim mayor four years ago, was ushered into a three-bedroom unit that will be sold for $300,000 — an unheard-of price in a city where the median price for a house or condo last month topped $1.1 million…

In the years since Lee became mayor and cozied up to tech, San Francisco’s unemployment rate has been more than cut in half, the skyline has been transformed, city coffers are plump, and philanthropists are stepping up to help fund everything from hospitals to schools.

But anxiety is skyrocketing along with housing costs, as many fear the city they love is vanishing. “Evict Ed Lee” graffiti abounds.

The boom, in short, is his legacy, his problem and his opportunity….

“The freaks and the hippies and the queers and the immigrants that really helped shape San Francisco into an exciting, cool, fun city of substance, all of that’s being chipped away at daily,” she said…

David Talbot is the founder of Salon.com and author of “Season of the Witch,” which tracks the tumult of San Francisco from 1967 to 1982 — and lauds that other Lee, the young tenant defender.

“The tech elite has bought Ed Lee,” he said…

Lee’s mantra when he took office was “jobs, jobs, jobs.” But by early 2014, as protesters blocked the white buses that ferry tech workers to Google and other companies to the south, he revised it to “housing, housing, housing.”…

But some believe the high-end housing must be slowed. “At some point we will run out of land,” said Supervisor David Campos, who is calling for a market-rate freeze in the Mission District until affordable housing is expedited… (more)

Related:
San Francisco’s not anthem – Not My City Anymore

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