SF school board candidate diverts from teachers on pro-development ballot measures

Like many teachers in San Francisco, the lack of affordable housing and possibility of eviction has put a strain on Board of Education candidate Trevor McNeil.

But unlike McNeil, a public school teacher in San Mateo, many teachers do not support a pair of pro-development ballot measures up for a vote next Tuesday, according to United Educators of San Francisco Political Director Ken Tray.

“San Francisco teachers have taken a stand in which we will not be pitted against our students’ working families,” said Tray.

McNeil and his wife Sarah Montoya are pictured with their child in about $33,000 worth of campaign literature supporting Propositions P and U, which supporters say are meant to boost affordable housing development in San Francisco.

His support raises questions as to whether the measures are beneficial to those living on a teacher’s salary in San Francisco, since McNeil would make decisions that impact educators as a school board member.

Prop. P would change the bidding process for affordable housing developments, requiring at least three proposals for a project to continue, while Prop. U would raise the income eligibility level for below-market-rate units.

Opponents argue the measures could hinder the production of affordable homes and prevent low-income residents from accessing such homes, respectively.

Third-party spending for both measures includes major funding from state and local Realtors associations.

“Trevor and Sarah are supporting Props U and P because they’ll qualify for affordable housing on Trevor’s teaching salary, allowing them to keep their family in San Francisco,” the mailers read.

The San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee has also endorsed McNeil and spent $954 in support of his campaign. The Parent PAC’s contributors include Trinity Properties, Gruber and Gruber Properties and Flynn Investments.

UESF is a staunch opponent to the two measures, particularly Prop. U because the teachers union views it as making educators compete with the families of low-income students for affordable housing.

Tray said few teachers would benefit from raising affordable housing eligibility for renters from 55 percent of the Area Median Income to 110 percent, as the measure calls for.

However, McNeil said raising the income eligibility level for affordable housing would allow his family to qualify.

“The folks who are paying for affordable housing are [also] the ones who need it and are not being able to live there,” McNeil said.

McNeil said he wants to grow his family in the place he was raised. But the current housing climate in San Francisco has made that a challenge.

“Our landlord was sort of bullying us because she said we added an illegal tenant by adding a baby,” McNeil said.

“I’m one mean landlord away from leaving The City.”

Claudia Tirado, a third-grade teacher at Fairmount Elementary School in Glen Park who battled an infamous Ellis Act eviction from her home in the Mission, is a UESF member who is opposed to the ballot measures.

Tirado said she would not want to compete with her students’ families for affordable housing, not when she has a student who is homeless and cannot afford a Halloween costume, for instance.

“It pits us against each other and that’s not the way San Francisco should be,” she said.

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