A Great Election for Housing
November 5, 2015

The Richardson Apartments in Hayes Valley. Photo by Sergio Ruiz for SPUR

The November 2 election was an encouraging sign that San Franciscans are aligned behind one of the key solutions to our affordability crisis: build more housing.

SPUR worked hard to build support for Proposition A, the bond dedicated to the construction and rehab of affordable places to live for low-, moderate- and middle-income San Franciscans. We are thrilled by its passage and encouraged by what appears to be a broad pattern of voter support for creating more housing for all income levels. The passage of Prop. A, Prop. K, which boosts San Francisco’s ability to build affordable housing on city-owned land, and Prop. D, which will allow a mixed-use neighborhood with 1,500 dwellings to move forward at Mission Rock, were all significant steps forward. At the same time, the rejection of Prop. I, the Mission Housing Moratorium, by a decisive 57 percent signals public interest in having more, not less, housing.

2015's housing bond is the first to pass in two decades in San Francisco. After affordable housing bonds in 2002 and 2004 failed to gain the two-thirds vote required, the passage of this year's Prop. A with 73 percent support demonstrates the progress that can be made when all the parties who care about making this an affordable city work together to craft and pass a common-sense initiative. The bond won’t solve the crisis, but it is an important step toward the goal of investing more than $1 billion in housing over the next five years and accelerating the delivery of 30,000 new units of housing by 2020. 

It took us years to get into the housing mess we're in. It will take us years to get out. But as our community continues to be torn apart by high housing costs, our job at SPUR is to move the conversation in the direction of actions that are constructive and offer real solutions to make San Francisco affordable again. This election, the voters agreed.

There’s a lot more that needs to get done to deliver on the pledges of this ballot. The implementation of the bond will require coordinating a lot of work between the city and the nonprofit housing community. Prop. K has added a tool to the toolkit for building new affordable housing using city resources, but it will take time to see results. Projects now in the pipeline – including Prop. D’s Mission Rock proposal – will add a significant amount of housing to the city once they are built. But it will take years of construction to climb out of the massive housing deficit we’ve amassed since 1980 — a deficit that grows each year that we fail to permit new units that can house our population and bring down costs.

We'll say it again: There is no contradiction between making huge investments in below-market-rate housing while at the same time tackling the structural under-supply within the housing market, which is the real cause of this mess. We need many different solutions, all working together. Let’s get to work.

 

Here's an overview of the ballot measure results in San Francisco:

Proposition

   SPUR's      recommendation

 Yes (%)

 No (%)

A: Affordable Housing Bond

                         Yes

73

27

B: Parental Leave 

                         Yes

68

34

C: Expenditure Lobbyists

                         No

75

25

D: Mission Rock Initiative

                         Yes

73

27

E: Public Meeting Requirements

                         No

33

67

F: Short Term Residential Rentals

                         No

45

55

G: Renewable Energy Disclosure

                         No

23

77

H: Defining Clean Energy

             No position

80

20

I: Mission Housing Moratorium

                         No

43

57

J: Legacy Business Fund

                         No

57

43

K: Surplus Public Lands

                         Yes

73

27

To review SPUR's ballot positions in full, visit our 2015 Voter Guide >>

 

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