San Francisco District 9 Supervisor David Campos. Photo by San Francisco LGBT Community Center/Flickr

Big decisions are on the horizon for San Francisco: City elections are Tuesday of next week, and they’re gearing up to be contentious and close. While the mayoral race and certain propositions like the Mission moratorium and Prop. F have received the lion’s share of the attention, the less controversial measures have received less, even though they will have a big impact on the Mission and city-wide.

On this week’s radio program on BFF.fm, we took a look at one measure in particular: Proposition J, known as the legacy business fund.

Proposition J would create a city fund from which annual grants could be allocated to small businesses that are struggling to pay rent. Any small business? No. To qualify, a business must be 30 years old, or 20 years old but facing a serious risk of displacement.

Still, that’s a big pool. A lot of of San Francisco’s small businesses are facing significant rent increases as their leases expire – Navarro’s Martial Arts Academy in the Mission, for example

The fund is essentially a grant program. It would offer $500 per full-time employee to qualifying businesses, capped at $50,000 a year.

The fund also creates an incentive for landlords. If a landlord of a legacy business agrees to give that business a ten-year lease, they could get some $4.50 per square foot of property from the city, up to $20,000 per year for the landlord.

The city controller estimates that some 7,500 businesses qualify for the legacy business distinction. If funds were given to all these businesses, the controller says, within 25 years the city could be paying businesses and landlords some $94 million annually.

The cost is debatable, as is figuring out which businesses deserve money from the city. Mission Local sat down with Supervisor David Campos earlier this week to talk about it. Campos wrote the measure and has a few key explanations about supporting local businesses. Here’s that conversation:

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5 Comments

  1. Interesting. English is my second language but shouldn’t this be need based? What,happens if they,also own the property? Also please do not vote for trump

    1. I would not like a company like LA Taqueria to get this subsidy. They have plenty of business. I would hate to see this get abused like rent control is. Majority of people on rent control have fancy second homes and are the number 1 customer for brand new BMW at SF BMW according to my friend who works in the detail department. They brag,that low rent means brand new 7 series…. they pay,all cash too.

  2. If a business cannot survive on it’s own, it should not exist. This is not communist Russia. Capitalism doesn’t work if the goverment picks favorites and bails businesses out. It’s the same as Daddy bailing out the spoiled little brat of a child…….. “Well, he really trys hard so we should give him another chance.”

    Landlords will continue to have high rents because they know the government is subsidizing them. If all the businesses went out of business, landlords will have no tenants and will have to reduce rates. The market will work itself out, but you need to give it time and allow folks to fail.

  3. Campos is a false prophet. Where did this guy come from and why does he have sway on so many San Franciscans? He can’t even get the sidewalks in his jurisdiction brought up to standards, witness lower 24th St which has the dirtiest sidewalks in San Francisco by far not to mention the hazardous cracks and tree bases with ankle-breaking 4″ gaps. What about the ficus trees on lower 24th? These are nothing short of life-threatening. The ficus soak up water like a sponge and when the limbs snap they bring death and destruction. If our winter is anything as expected and these trees start snapping, 24th St will be a disaster area. 24th St is improving, no doubt about it but Campos and his cronies have absolutely zero to do with it. If you are a merchant with even half a brain you want the area to improve as fast as possible. You want those visitors from Valencia spilling over to 24th and if you can’t make the lease you find another location to set up in. If you’re a minority and you own a building you’ve hit the American Dream. The Embarcadero isn’t handling a whole lot of cargo anymore. Cities change. I don’t see the meatpackers in NYC protesting a whole lot about the change in their neighborhood. Little Italy in NYC was very much an Italian immigrant neighborhood once upon a time but haven’t they moved on over the years to a better place for their families?

    By the way, why is it Union St and Chesnut St are pristine and the trees are well trimmed and certainly not life threatening? Why is it their sidewalks are well maintained?

    Hey Mission District residents, are your streets a little more crowded the last couple years? Well, how about that Cesar Chavez St beautification project that took away a lane in each direction and is in gridlock most of the day? What do you think drivers are doing? They’re taking the side streets, that’s what. I used Cesar Chavez for twenty-five years but now I use the numbered streets to either Potrero or Bryant and then cut over to the freeway. Collateral damage, folks, all in the name of good intensions. We won’t even get into how many millions were doled out in tax money.

    Campos, yeah, a regular modern day Robin Hood he. All those poor little housekeepers and busboys and artists and guitar plunkers thinking they’re going to get lifetime rent control, keep thinking that. If he were honest he would have told you to get out three or four or five years ago. Three or four years ago close-in neighborhoods in the East Bay were still doable. We’re talking neighborhoods near BART and public transportation. Go price Fruitvale or McArthur now. You missed it, forever.

    In a nutshell, I question this guy Campos’ true motives, as well as his compadre Avalos? What are they bucking for? They’re soon to be termed out. Avalos has turned and is now championing himself as an environmental activist. Try the PUC website as well as the San Francisco Transportation Authority. How long has either one of these carpetbaggers ever held a job in the private sector? Both are much more interested in big national issues are they’re absolutely using San Franciscans for their self interests and self promotion.

    I’ve been in San Francisco for fifty years and have seen dozens of supervisors come and go. Very few have left a positive legacy.

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