SF Democratic Party says no to Mission moratorium in close vote

In a narrow vote of 13-10 Wednesday, the local arm of the Democratic Party rejected an endorsement of Supervisor David Campos' proposed moratorium on market-rate housing development in the Mission.

Much acrimonious public testimony filled the four-hour meeting attended by over a hundred community members who support the moratorium. Members of the San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation and Grow SF, both pro-development groups, were also in attendance.

The Democratic County Central Committee is widely considered the most influential endorsement in city politics.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, a committee member, opposed the measure.

“I don't think any of us believes it will be a 45-day pause,” he said. “There will be a push to make it permanent.”

Legally, the moratorium cannot exist longer than two years.

SFBARF and Grow SF argued San Francisco's housing crisis would be made worse by a moratorium.

“I do work in tech and make a decent salary, but nothing astronomical,” said Mark Averell, a member of Grow SF who was also a volunteer for former Supervisor David Chiu's successful Assembly bid in November. “It's not housing development keeping prices up, it's lack of housing construction.”

Chiu's proxy on the DCCC voted no on the moratorium.

Moratorium supporters said only market-rate housing in a 1-square-mile radius would be curtailed by the moratorium. Teenagers, middle-aged workers, the elderly and more all spoke in support of the measure.

Aeris Velasco, a 17-year-old senior at John O'Connell High School, took a class this year that won an award for its research on the moratorium.

“If this can protect our families, like mine, from being homeless,” she said, “then I support a moratorium.”

Fernando Marti, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, said his group voted to endorse the moratorium. The time would allow The City to purchase 13 much-needed available sites for below-market-rate housing, he said. Previously, there were 18 sites, but that number dwindled since the moratorium was first announced.

After the endorsement was voted down, several people in the audience pointed fingers at DCCC members and for several minutes shouted in unison, “Shame on you! Shame on you!”

After the meeting, Wiener told The San Francisco Examiner he would support The City purchasing the 13 sites.

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