"The development community, Lazarus said, needs to remind people of the building boom’s positives..." Today's hip new clubs are tomorrow's dive bars. The tech community is completely unsustainable and will eventually experience a pull back (hopefully sooner rather than later). All of this renovation and "upscale" housing development will be much more affordable when the inevitable mass exodus occurs, just as it did after the dot com bubble burst. So yes, there are positives to the building boom. Unfortunately, a lot of people will suffer in the interim.
Supply and demand is one poorly understood concept.
Another is that forcing developers to build BMR housing forces up the cost of market rate housing. Between that and the costs of navigating SF's permitting process and neighborhood assuaging campaigns, why do people thing new housing costs a fortune?
What is 'affordable housing' and who qualifies by what standards? What percentage of our tax monies is funneled into an affordable housing unit/home? The voting residents must have a say in how new construction is to be designed and located, and not by crony politicians and corrupt bureaucrat planners.
A backlash against growth? There hasnt been any growth. The handful of high profile towers South of Market are background noise. The only thing thats growing is income and prices, certainly not the supply of housing.
What housing is built costs so much to build that it cant possibly be affordable even if demand wasnt so high.
Frank, I gotta admit you make a lot of very compelling points.
Regarding the issue of developers being forced to offer homes people can afford, I honestly don't know how much it costs to build a house in San Francisco, but making developers include a certain amount of affordable units in their developments is a pretty standard thing.
And doing so clearly isn't hurting the developers, because they're still very eager to get those developments started.
> Forcing greedy developers to build units that ordinary people can afford is not a crime, and it is certainly not theft.
Forcing a developer to build a unit at a cost of $500K and sell it for $400K is not a crime?
Yes, the wealth disparity has become very bad, and may get bad enough to take our country down. Empires don't last forever.
What is undermining our country is that it has lost the "unfettered free market" that it had so much of from the 40's through 80's. This period saw economic growth and prosperity that no people had ever seen anywhere or in any time in history.
Large corporations are now required to pour a lot of money to politics to compete. If one does not, then its competitor does and gets advantate to defeat it. In the last presidential election, both candidates raised over $1 Billion.
This buys distortions in the market. It has allowed a lot of the looting in our financial system, increasing the wealth disparity. For example, our government a few decades ago would not have allowed High Frequency Trading, which is outright market skimming.
In 1999, they bought the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. The banks also bought legislation in 2005 to allow them to increase leverage from 12.5-to-1 up to 30-to-1, which they did. They wrote and paid for Obama's financial bill which does not have a reinstate of Glass-Steagall. It's also a hit on the small banks and credit unions, forcing them to merge as you may have noticed.
The money in politics creates a kleptocracy.
@frank, you automatically lose all credibility when you describe things like rent control and taxes as "socialism."
The unfettered free market has created massive wealth disparity throughout our nation, and destroyed countless lives and families. You free market anarchists had your chance, and you ran our country right into the ground.
It turns out that greed is not, in fact, good.
You whine about housing being "confiscated"? Give me a break. Forcing greedy developers to build units that ordinary people can afford is not a crime, and it is certainly not theft.
There have been two ways to bring rents down that have been discussed here:
1) More supply of housing.
2) Apply socialism to confiscate money to take housing supply out of the free market supply, arbitrarily choosing which comrades it is given to.
The confiscation has been through rent control, taxes to subsidize housing for some people and taking below market rate units from development projects (paid by new unit owners, increasing the price of housing).
Reducing the number of units in the free market portion of housing reduces supply, increasing the free market prices.
"In an NPR interview former Mayor Art Agnos said "The problem is that we don't have housing for the middle class which is now defined as people making between $60,000 and $120,000 a year." He's right, that kind of cash is what most people with careers get paid in the city. There is no way they can compete with tech workers pulling down 120 k plus salaries for entry level jobs. We can't all be tech workers and you can't have a city that is made up of one kind of worker."
The primary reason we don't have housing for the $60K-$120K people is that we confiscated so much to give to the < $60K people instead.
@RobertoRobot2: There is a difference to be observed between superficial inspection (mine), perspicacious analysis of and recommendations put-forth toward convincing monetary authorities of significant and compelling problems requiring modification of a monetary system (Michael Kumhof) and “denouncing” the American monetary system, which my opine is not, and on behalf of Mr. Kumhof, neither his. Whether-or-not an audience is needed, more mentally acute individuals than I are analyzing ongoing financial ruin and socio-macro-economic degradation, globally, and making recommendations to monetary authorities. All things will not be accomplished by committee or referenda.
@Awayneramsey, your first paragraph was spot on, and I agree wholeheartedly. You're going to lose your audience, however, with that second paragraph. There's no point in denouncing our monetary system, because that's not something we can change any time soon.
To Jim Lazarus of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and others concerned: The Big Lie no longer convinces. Those struggling financially every day while doing the grunt work for subsistence wages, emphatically, will not accept being “reminded of economic benefits” by arrogant unheeding rent-seekers when they know they are not now, nor ever will share in those benefits. And to Nate Ballard, a democratic strategist: History records many cases in which election polls are not the only means citizens have to get the attention of official liars.
Supply-demand, as currently supported, is fallible and should not be considered “a law” since laws, in the purest sense, possess intrinsic and unique consistency that allow for anticipated outcomes (Unless in the present context, income inequality and social degradation are the intended objectives?). The same manifests a structural, “banking money creation” problem that feeds “inflation anticipation” and perhaps, enhances if not supports income inequality. Markets (developers) aware of this inconsistency may seize the opportunities yielded by this inconsistency and prosper while the micro-economy becomes more anemic. Some advocate, (Michael Kumhof) removing fractional reserve banking risks by restoring central banking control over sovereign money by eliminating money creation, by banks, “ex nihilo” (out-of-nothing) that also cause large swings in GDP. Otherwise stated, this would be a debt-to-equity swap instead of a debt-to-debt balance sheet recording. Stated yet another way, credit should originate from bank reserves or public money, not more debt.
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Dont you think that if you were wanting to get activists onboard with development that you would include those leaders in the meeting? Its kind of like a bunch republican males holding a meeting for their members to say they need to be more "sensitive" to women....or you could just be more inclusive all around.
I can only respond to those PO'd about the city the same thing they tell me when I mention the out of control crime. They tell me if I don't like it move. So if you don't like the city, move.
With the exit of the middle class and the nerdization of SF, all of the cool people have left. This city has officially become doucheville... $10 domestic beer, ubercars, hipsters lining up for food trucks, mission bars packed with start-up goobers in $200 jeans, newbie cyclists who should still heave their training wheels.... Christ, I could go on and on. Nevermind the cost of living, who the hell really wants to live in the midst of this dorkfest? I never thought I would say it, but L.A. is the place to be these days.
The main impediment to building more affordable housing tends to be the so called "housing activists" purporting to represent communities that would benefit from it. That’s largely because many are not so much in favor of affordable housing as they are simply against market-rate housing. And as such they must ignore an essential reality: Affordable and market-rate housing developments don’t have to be enemies. In fact, San Francisco’s city government relies on them working together. Developers are required as a condition of virtually every market-rate project to either build affordable units or provide the city with money to do so.
Thus in vigorously opposing virtually all market-rate housing, these so called "housing activists" by definition undermine the affordable housing cause. It does not seem so to San Francisco’s left, which manages to simultaneously decry rising unaffordability at the same time as opposing market-rate development, which under San Francisco rules, is the surest way of maximizing affordable housing. Market-rate developers can’t get planning approval without also providing 12 to 20 percent affordable units, or paying the city 20 percent of project costs so it can do so.
The voices most stridently against development are often the very same that are lamenting a cyclical rise in Ellis Act evictions. They are blissfully or willfully unaware that success in blocking development leads to scarcer housing leads to higher values leads to greater financial incentive for landlords to get out of the rental business and sell their buildings to tenancy-in-common developers. San Francisco is becoming more and more unaffordable because supply and demand are out of whack. That is just basic economics that can't be overturned at the polls.
This article title: "Developers, officials gather to strategize backlash against S.F. growth" is so badly written that I am actually embarrassed for the Examinot. Which is like being embarrassed for the Mayor of Toronto. Neither deserve our sympathy and neither represent their native Canada particularly well.
Housing supply is inelastic relative to supply. There are no economic models in place that show how building more housing will put downward pressure on housing price, how strong that pressure will be, how long that pressure will last given a number of units and, most importantly, what the City will look like then and what happens next. Infrastructure can barely handle existing residential and business load, why should we be expected to take on more residents and businesses lured here with tax breaks that will be unable to pay its freight on infrastructure and services? These people are disrupting San Francisco, trying to make a quick buck, and live by the mantra IBGYBG, I'll Be Gone, You'll Be Gone by the time that the sh1t hits the fan.
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