Supervisor London Breed might have indicated condo conversion stance during campaign

S.F. Examiner File Photo“I didn’t make campaign promises. I agreed to work with people.” — Supervisor London Breed

S.F. Examiner File Photo“I didn’t make campaign promises. I agreed to work with people.” — Supervisor London Breed

One of the supervisors whose support is seen as instrumental to passing a condo conversion bypass proposal may have committed to support the controversial legislation when on the campaign trail last fall.

The most politically charged issue at City Hall these days is whether there are enough votes on the Board of Supervisors to pass legislation that would give relief to San Francisco tenancy-in-common unit owners who are complaining about high mortgage rates and the long wait to convert to a condo, which would allow them to refinance.

Tenant advocates are up in arms over the proposal, worried about the loss of rent-controlled units and landlords forcing tenants out. And they are tiring of the unwillingness of perceived swing-vote supervisors London Breed, Norman Yee and Malia Cohen to take a position.

But Breed may have already made a commitment.

“London Breed is a leading candidate, and she has committed to us that she will support the condo bypass if elected,” said a September email sent by Michael Sullivan, head of Plan C, the homeowner advocacy group behind the legislation. The email calls on recipients to back Breed’s District 5 supervisorial campaign.

When asked how Breed “committed,” Sullivan said, “I wrote it based on the information I had, including conversations with London.”

And Sullivan said Thursday, “I believe she’ll be with us.”

But Breed said she remains undecided about the legislation and that she never made such a campaign promise.

“I didn’t commit to supporting it,” Breed said. “His understanding of our conversation is a different understanding than I have.”

She added, “I didn’t make campaign promises. I agreed to work with people.”

Sara Shortt, executive director of the Housing Rights Committee, said if Breed did commit then the“nondisclosure” is concerning.

“That should be made known to the public,” Shortt said, adding that it also raises questions about “what deals may have been cut.”

Plan C is part of an independent spending committee known as Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth, which spent $123,564 in support of Breed.

The board’s land use committee hearing on the proposal Monday ran for four hours, and a vote was postponed until Feb. 25 by board President David Chiu to allow for further negotiation talks.

Sullivan, meanwhile, doesn’t sound too amenable to changing the current proposal.

“I’m frustrated because I think the bypass itself is a compromise,” he said.

Under the legislation, tenancy-in-common owners who participated and lost out in the 2012 and 2013 lotteries could convert by paying a fee of up to $20,000 per unit. The City’s lottery system allows 200 units a year to be converted into condos. Fees collected would go toward affordable-housing construction.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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