SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation during their meeting Tuesday that would create nearly $400 million in funding for housing for the city’s middle to low-income workers.
The Housing for SF Workers legislation, initially introduced by Supervisor Matt Haney, seeks to raise a 20-year-old impact fee that developers of new, large-scale office buildings pay to mitigate the housing need they create.
The new funding would not only create nearly 1,000 new units for middle to low-income workers, it would additionally help create 715 units for people experiencing homelessness and help with the acquisition of 150 units at risk of losing affordability, all within the next seven years.
“Over the past two decades, our housing crisis has been fueled by the city’s failure to pay for critical housing for San Francisco’s low and middle income workers,” Haney said in a statement.
“This is a dangerous and unacceptable trend that we cannot afford to continue and has led to the crisis we have on our streets,” he said.
“San Francisco has the worst jobs-housing ratio in the Bay Area, the highest cost of housing nationally, and an out of control homelessness crisis. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result,” he said.
“Today is a victory for San Francisco’s janitors, security guards and hotel workers! We can’t continue to build offices without asking where our city’s low and middle-income workers will live. We can’t continue to push low-income workers into four hour a day commutes. We need to draw a line in the sand and say that if you work here, you can live here,” said Tracey Brieger with Jobs with Justice.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Supervisor Gordon Mar introduced an amendment to the city’s Charter that would prevent candidates from being appointed to the offices their running for within 90 days of their election.
In addition, the Fair Elections Charter Amendment would also prevent office appointees from entering races for offices they’ve been appointed to if appointed within 90 days of the election. Supervisors will now consider placing the charter amendment on the November 2020 ballot.
The charter amendment’s introduction comes after Mayor London Breed earlier this month appointed Suzy Loftus as district attorney following the resignation of George Gascon.
Loftus is already running for District Attorney in the Nov. 5 election against Chesa Boudin, Nancy Tung and Leif Dautch. Police reform advocates and community groups have said Breed’s appointment gives Loftus an unfair advantage in the race.
“Part of why I ran for supervisor was because of my strong belief that we the people deserve to choose our representatives in free and fair elections,” Mar said.
“In 2019, when our democratic values and norms are under assault on a nearly-daily basis, it’s more important than ever that we work to strengthen our democracy, not weaken it. It is plainly undemocratic and wrong to appoint a candidate–any candidate–to the office they’re running for weeks before a contested election,” he said.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California has endorsed Mar’s charter amendment.
“We find open and democratic races to be paramount with providing communities meaningful say in who gets to be their District Attorney,” Yoel Haile, criminal justice program manager for the ACLU of Northern California, said in a statement.
“This political machination has deprived communities from having meaningful say through the electoral process. This legislation is a good step in the right direction. We believe the fair thing to do when an incumbent resigns would be to appoint someone who is not a candidate for that seat.
This would allow the democratic process to run its course and avoids the perception of improper meddling in an election that tips the balance of the scales,” he said.
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