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‘By right’ done wrong

May 30, 2016

BY NATO GREEN : sfexaminer – excerpt

Negotiations are underway in Sacramento over housing. Here’s what’s up.

San Francisco Assemblymember David Chiu put $1.3 billion for affordable housing in the state budget. The Governor’s budget included zero housing funds. Chiu’s proposal would have, for one year, allocated about what the State used to spend annually on affordable housing through redevelopment, before Gov. Jerry Brown ended redevelopment.

Last year, Chiu got bipartisan support for a $300 million tax credit for affordable housing, which Brown also vetoed. Then Brown vetoed Chiu’s bill to resolve legal challenges to local inclusionary mandates to require a percentage of affordable housing in new development. Why?

When Brown removed the $1.3 billion for affordable housing from the budget, he said that land and construction are too expensive for public subsidies to address the housing crisis — that might be persuasive, except that literally no one argues that public subsidy ALONE could address the housing crisis. Moreover, a new analysis from UC Berkeley concludes that subsidized affordable housing has double the impact of market-rate development in reducing displacement. So maybe Brown is just wrong, and California needs both new construction and subsidies…

Since the end of redevelopment, negotiations over individual developments are the main way communities fund affordable housing. In San Francisco and Oakland, communities drive hard bargains, get some good deals and stuff gets built. If the governor funded affordable housing, it would ease the pressure on these negotiations. Instead, with AB 2501, he tips the scales toward developers and Realtors so they don’t have to negotiate with dumb community people who don’t even wear suits.

Expect a backlash, and maybe a proposition, from small white towns angry about a state power grab... (more)

Build affordable housing the right way, By Katy Tang : sfexaminer

Recently, my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors announced a proposal: “Density done right.” The goals behind their proposal are to be applauded — to create affordable housing without jeopardizing tenant security, to ensure that families and seniors in the local community can afford the housing provided by each project and to ensure that the creation of density does not mean losing affordability.

While these goals sound great, the reality is that the “Density done right” proposal does nothing to create new affordable housing other than add new barriers. The proposal was a reaction to the Affordable Housing Density Bonus legislation that I introduced along with Mayor Ed Lee and the Planning Department…

Let’s not be short-sighted about how we build affordable housing in San Francisco. Let’s work together to build affordable housing the right way — and that means offering real avenues to build 100 percent affordable housing and real incentives to get market-rate housing to offer one-third of their units at affordable levels. I welcome input from supervisors Peskin and Eric Mar on getting the best proposal, but let’s not erase all the hard work and analysis that has already been done on this issue. Let’s build more affordable housing now — not less and not later.

Katy Tang represents District 4 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors… (more)



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