Thea Selby, Bilal Mahmood, David Campos and Matt Haney are running for State Assembly. Illustration by Molly Oleson.

What are the biggest challenges to developing much-needed housing and making it accessible to those who need it? What ideas would you implement as an assembly member to overcome these obstacles?

Bilal Mahmood, entrepreneur and neuroscientist: 

The causes of San Francisco’s housing crisis are a significant lack of both affordable and market-rate housing, racist zoning practices that make it impossible to build new housing, and extreme permitting requirements that make it expensive to build. 

To develop the necessary housing, we must ban exclusionary zoning unequivocally. We must make it cheaper to build through streamlined permitting. And we need to boost support for modularized housing, which can lower the subsequent cost of housing. I would also wholeheartedly support Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 50 for more streamlined housing near transit stations, should the bill be reintroduced. 

To make housing more affordable today, I support a guaranteed income for all at $500 per month for households earning less than $75,000. We must also protect renters from prejudicial evictions, and to this effect, I support Assemblymember Alex Lee’s AB 854 for Ellis Act reform.

Matt Haney, current Supervisor of San Francisco’s District 6:

The lack of affordability of housing in San Francisco isn’t a problem; it’s a crisis. We need more affordable housing throughout the city, and especially near transit, so working people can afford to live here. We have to address this crisis from multiple angles, which is why I developed the Haney Housing Plan to outline what I would fight for in the Assembly:

  1. Change exclusionary zoning laws to allow for significantly more housing in every community in California.
  2. Build 100,000 units of new housing in San Francisco over 10 years, including massive investments in social housing, to make housing more affordable for all. 
  3. Extend the eviction moratorium and strengthen tenant protections to keep people in their homes.
  4. Hold cities and counties across the state accountable for building their share of new housing. 

I’ve served as a tenants’ rights attorney and, if elected, I would be one of just three renters in the Assembly, out of 120 legislators. I’ve built more housing in my district than any other, and I’m proud to be the pro-housing progressive in this race. 

David Campos, ​​former Supervisor of San Francisco’s District 9

When my family first came to the U.S., we lived in a one-room apartment. Not a one-bedroom apartment; it was one room. But my parents never complained about the conditions in our home, which included mold and rodents, because we lived in fear of eviction. Neighbors who complained were evicted. I am running to be a champion for families like mine, and to ensure that everyone, even the folks who wash our dishes, drive our buses or care for our children can afford to live in San Francisco.

To do that, we need more affordable housing, not just more luxury housing. We need housing that won’t contribute to environmental degradation, gridlock and, most important, displacement. We need to stop homelessness at the source by repealing Costa-Hawkins and expanding rent control, and we need to invest in truly affordable housing through the creation of a statewide housing bond.

Thea Selby, member of City College’s Board of Trustees

We need three things to build housing: money, land, and political will.

Money: Assemblymember David Chiu helped create the Bay Area Housing Authority and we should be using it to leverage regional funds for affordable housing ASAP. We should also work with our federal representatives to get Congress to start putting money into housing once again.

Land: We should be taking advantage of what already exists through Project Homekey, where quick sales of underused facilities can go towards transitional and permanent housing.

Political will may be the toughest hurdle of all. We need to get to yes on housing and I will use my power in the bully pulpit to bring people together to “get us to yes”. These next eight years (the period of the next Regional Housing Needs Assessment) cannot be time wasted. We have to build housing for our city, for our climate goals.

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REPORTER. Eleni is our reporter focused on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim over eight years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.

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    1. Agree! While his owning an English bulldog is attractive, his repeated blocking of housing in favor of 100% affordable while D9 supe overrides even my love for English bulldogs.

  1. Karl,

    In the olden days Joe O’Donoghue and I used to talk about digging into the earth instead of reaching up for the skies with our future structures.

    Being an old firefighter I was (and am) for burrowing in an earthquake zone instead of soaring and Joe agreed with my caveat that it was never recommended to go over 45 feet with your structures cause that’s high as a regular fire ladder (takes 4 guys minimum to raise it) … high as one will go.

    These candidates all favor overriding SF law on land use with continuing new State law as Chiu and Wiener tag-teamed to promote in Sacramento.

    So, with no winner for me on that key issue (I’ve already voted for Campos by the way – first day possible as always) … so, I look at other issues.

    Like keeping as many Progressives as possible on the Board of Supes.

    I’m particularly sensitive about District 6 cause I lived there the better part of 20 years.

    Since Ammiano nursed the local voters back to District elections we’ve seen every trick in the book as they say and the Wieners and Chius keep writing new ones.

    To control the BOS I was getting at.

    In the 22 years since Tom gave us neighborhood representation (I think each member has around 80,000 constituents) … Districts 6 and 9 have always been most Progressive at the polls.

    If Haney wins D-6 will get a Mayor Breed appointed YIMBY like Sonia Trauss who is
    absolutely brilliant but militantly ‘build em high and expensive, boys’ kinda gal.

    That simple.

    Haney is leaving over a year of representing D-6 on the table and the Mayor to a pick a conservative.

    Frankly Karl, that’s the only major thing at stake in this race.

    They’re all developer friendly but cool on my liberal social issues like gang of ducks.

    The D-6 thing tho, that really bothers me.

    Haney shouldn’t try to hand D-6 to Breed.

    Go Niners!


  2. Anyone but Campos. As a supervisor of District 9 (the Mission) he failed to support any affordable housing over 8 years in office. He sold out to the wealthy developer who built luxury condo’s nextdoor to the Mission Theater. The “deal” he negotiated included a $1 million payoff to various nonprofit organizations. Pure corruption. Do not vote for Campos.

    1. Craig,

      Your argument holds water fine.

      As long as you’re not supporting Haney who sold out to the wealthy developers on Stevenson Street.

      Where you stand on that development Mr. Weber?

      Niners in an hour, gotta get my sun tan lotion on and get in the chaise lounge in the backyard.

      OK, I got none of that.

      Gonna go tune it in on my radio and watch highlights later.

      Save Moliga!

      Save Chesa!


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