Preliminary results released in late August showed that the 25 percent affordable housing requirement for private developers that voters approved in June may prevent more housing from being constructed. Specifically, the city controller found that a level of 18 percent for new rental housing and 20 percent for new condos was the most the city should require of developers if it does not want to make it too costly for them to build housing.

Meetings have been held between city officials and developers since the results to iron out whether to drop down the requirement or not. Proponents of the ballot measure that instituted the 25 percent level, Proposition C, said they would adjust that level based on further studies, like the one the city controller released.

We asked candidates for District 9 supervisor what they think of the preliminary results.

What do you think about the preliminary results for the Proposition C inclusionary housing requirements? Do you think the Board of Supervisors should follow the controller’s report if it indicates that 25 percent is infeasible? How should this level be set?

Respuestas en español aquí.

Iswari España, Training Officer with the Human Services Agency

I think it is interesting the controller’s report only focuses on profitability. There are approximately 50 housing development projects coming down the pipeline in the Mission, and with the housing demand and market prices at a steady level, I can confidently say that new housing developments will not come to a halt regardless of the report’s findings.

I do not think the Board of Supervisors should follow the controller’s report without conducting an independent study on the matter, with the input of all stakeholders. In my opinion, inclusionary housing requirement levels should be set by considering the violent displacement in our area, and studies on environmental gentrification effects. Let’s be clear we have to build, the requirements are not meant to punish the construction industry, rather to ensure that San Franciscans have an equitable place to live.

Hillary Ronen, Chief of Staff for Supervisor David Campos

If I am elected supervisor, I have pledged to build 5,000 units of affordable housing in District 9 in 10 years. A portion of those units will come from market-rate projects.

I am looking forward to changing the tone in District 9 around development and will seek out relationships with developers who are willing to work cooperatively and creatively with me and community members to build projects that both turn a profit and create large amounts of affordable housing.

I believe it is time to think outside the box to address the worst housing affordability crisis our city has ever seen and I am eager to work with anyone who is as passionate about building affordable housing as I am.

The controller’s preliminary report does not take into account the State Density Program or the character of different neighborhoods — many of which already allow upzoning. I would like to see the controller update the report — and corresponding inclusionary requirements — using a neighborhood by neighborhood lens.

Melissa San Miguel, Education Advocate

In June, the voters of San Francisco voted to increase affordable housing requirements for market-rate housing developments. The controller’s preliminary report confirms our city can and should increase the requirements. Ultimately, the city has something developers want – precious San Francisco real estate. They will still build here. When the inclusionary housing requirements are increased, more affordable housing will be built. What our city needs is a long-term housing plan that includes both market-rate and affordable housing units that can provide predictability and a path forward. Moreover, our city’s leaders must ensure there is an emphasis on building affordable housing units to address the affordability crisis thousands of people are facing as they struggle to stay in San Francisco.

The controller’s report provides helpful information, but the Board of Supervisors is tasked with the leadership and tough decision-making needed to make the city affordable for those with the fewest means. The Board of Supervisors can change the rules of the game! As Supervisor, I am committed to fighting for increased affordable housing requirements that the residents of District 9 clearly want and need. I am here to fight so that working-class and middle-class families are winners in our city.

Joshua Arce, Civil Rights Attorney

It’s too early to know the full impact of Proposition C on our current affordability crisis. Two very important components of Prop. C, however, are the inclusion of a middle-income housing requirement and the Board’s authority to determine the most effective overall affordable percentage. As the only candidate with a concrete housing plan for District 9, I would similarly utilize a fact-based and data-driven approach to achieve the highest possible level of affordability while ensuring that we’re actually building housing not just talking about it. We must never repeat the housing policy failures of our past District 9 representatives.

43 Questions is a weekly series — started 43 weeks before Election Day — to question the candidates running for District 9 supervisor. Send us questions to info@missionlocal.com and let us know in comments or in an email if you think candidates have answered as asked.

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  1. Does Hilary Ronen have a plan? “It’s time to think outside the box” / “changing the tone” / “work creatively with developers” is NOT a plan. Spouting numbers with no plan is completely meaningless.

    1. Ronan has neither a plan nor a clue.

      Even with all the supposedly-incredible amounts of housing that is underway, SF is on track to create only about 21,000 new units of housing this decade (2010-2020) — Citywide.

      That includes about 3,000 units of Subsidized (aka Below-Market-Rate) Housing — again, Citywide.

      Ronen is promising to create 5,000 Subsidized Units in 10-years in the Mission alone, by somehow miraculously convincing (for-profit) Developers to do so? What enormous incentives and subsidies is she going to provide? Where is all the “free money” required to do so going to come from?

      Does she even have a modicum of understanding how housing — be it either market rate or subsidized — is actually financed and created? Her promise of 5,000 Subsidized Units in 10-years is simply a bald-faced lie — political posturing of the most craven sort — something people love to hear, but she can’t possibly deliver on.

      Remember, she’s spent the last 8 years as Campos’ sidekick and neither of them has done squat.

      In fact, they’ve been instrumental in railing against housing development in the Mission which has only exacerbated the housing crisis.

      SOME ACTUAL FACTS:

      In the 35 years following WWII, in an era of declining population — from 825K down to 690K — SF still had pro-housing policies that resulted in the creation of about 32,000 new units of housing per decade.

      This is why — from the 50’s thru the 70’s — beatniks, hippies and other counter-culture types were able to rent and buy relatively cheaply in SF. Now — ironically and hypocritically — those same people (e.g. Calvin Welch and later day fellow travelers like Ronen), are doing everything they can to keep others from doing the same.

      Since the implementation of ever-increasingly anti-housing policies starting in the late 70’s — and continuing to the present — we’ve averaged only about 19,500 new units per decade; and this has been during a period of consistent population increase — from 690K in 1979 to over 865K today.

      This is why we have housing costs that have increased at an exponential rate over the past 3 decades and are now are at crisis levels.

      None of these D9 candidates seems to fully comprehend this reality — maybe Arce has just a bit of an “inkling”.