Photo by Mimi Chakarova.

The upcoming November election is shaping up to be one of the most controversial in recent years. A new housing bond, a moratorium in the Mission, and short-term rental regulations are on the ballot to address the city’s worsening housing crisis, albeit it in very different ways and drawing varied reactions.

Tech firms and private developers have spent millions to defeat the Mission moratorium and the short-term rental measure, while many of those same groups have poured thousands into supporting the city’s historic affordable housing bond.

If the negative attack ads aren’t quite informational enough, here is our guide to the housing initiatives on the ballot this November:

Proposition A would create a $310 million fund for low and middle-income housing by issuing bonds, paid back through a small increase in property taxes. The fund would be split four ways:

  • $100 million to build new and repair existing affordable housing for low-income residents
  • $50 million for affordable housing just in the Mission District
  • $80 million to repair existing public housing
  • $80 million to help middle-income residents pay rents or buy their first homes in the city

Though the measure is widely supported, there is some contention from the Green Party, which claims a lack of oversight will mean the fund is used to favor certain developers. The initiative also requires a two-thirds majority to pass because it raises taxes.

Proposition F, the so-called Airbnb law, would regulate short-term rentals by capping them at 75 days per year and requiring hosting platforms to pull any hosts who are not registered with the city.

As the law stands now, hosts are required to register with the city to pay a 14 percent hotel tax, but only 700 of some 5,000 hosts city-wide have registered. The new measure would solve this problem by making it illegal to list a host who is not registered with the city, shifting the burden to the hosting platforms.

The measure would also require platforms to submit quarterly usage and revenue data to the city, prevent the short-term rental of in-law units, and allow neighbors within 100 feet of a suspected illegal short-term rental to report wrongdoing and sue the violating host.

But the proposition is controversial, and so is Airbnb’s campaign to defeat it. The $25 billion dollar enterprise has come under attack for its passive-aggressive billboard ads and outsized campaign spending. The firm has raised some $8 million to defeat the measure against the opposition’s $200,000.

Proposition I is the Mission moratorium. It would establish an 18-month pause on all market-rate housing in the Mission District and require the city to create a stabilization plan to address the neighborhood’s housing crisis.

It also prevents the conversion of production, distribution, and repair spaces, an attempt to stem the loss of arts spaces in the neighborhood.

Most of the disagreement over the measure stems from strong viewpoints on what would best address the housing crisis. Opponents of the moratorium say the only solution is to build more housing as soon as possible, while proponents argue that market-rate housing only makes the neighborhood less affordable and doesn’t help keep the city’s minority and working class population in place.

They also say the neighborhood is in dire need of a housing plan and have put forward their own version of a plan that calls for more than $500 million to be invested in affordable housing the neighborhood over the next 10 years.

Proposition K would give affordable housing developers first preference for vacant city-owned land, like abandoned buildings and parking lots. It would allow them to develop that land into affordable housing for a variety of income levels.

It also creates a new process for the development of surplus land: City agencies would put together a list of such sites and present it to the Board of Supervisors, which would be able to choose which sites the housing office should choose for housing.

The measure is virtually uncontested. Proponents say it would give the city another way of building more affordable housing, and that the city may have hidden surplus land that should be included in a master list.

For a full list of the propositions on November’s ballot, click here. If you’ve already registered to vote, you can vote at city hall now or wait until November 3 to vote at a polling place.

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  1. First, thanks to Mission Local staff for distilling these issues down to the basics. I will be mailing in my ballot tomorrow (Monday, 10/26) and was looking for just this type of info to make my final decisions.

    As for Prop F, I have an amusing, (depending on one’s point of view) anecdote that has nothing to do directly with the measure itself, but some may find interesting.

    I’m the only African American tenant living in a “very” desirable Mission district apartment bldg. Been here for 23 years and have seen all the changes to the surrounding ‘hood.

    For the past two years my next door neighbor often rented out her apartment for a few days, up to a week at a time, when she was going out of town. I don’t think the bldg. owner knew (or knows) about it.

    In any case, one day I come home and there’s an elderly White couple sitting on the steps in the hallway admiring the view out the window. The man was cool and spoke, but the woman looked at me as if she had “never” seen a Black person before in her life!

    She looked at me with a mixture of surprise and hostility which she made “no” attempt to hide. She was going to spend the next few days living next to a Black man! OHG! ( Oh her God!)

    Frankly. I was pissed the eff off! This woman was throwing shade at me in MY house? Oh, Hell No!, But, if there’s one thing Black folk know, if we took the time to respond to “every” slight, that’s “all” we would be doing and I don’t have time for that.

    However, MIss Thing did get a heavy dose of Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan during her stay and I sincerely doubt if she would “ever” rent “that” apartment again.

  2. F IS controversial, and made more so by poor reporting. For example, a neighbor can ALREADY report on and/or sue their neighbor for illegal short term rentals. This law doesn’t “allow” it as something new, just gives a PROCESS for it. Tired of misinformation. Let people make TRULY informed decisions when voting.