San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced yesterday his intention to increase a proposed housing bond measure from $250 million to $300 million. The Business Times reports that the additional $50 million on the bond, whose passage would require two-thirds voter approval, would be reserved for the purchase of sites in the Mission and likely represents a political deal between the mayor and Supervisor David Campos. According to the mayor's office, the bond's passage would not result in increased property taxes.
Campos has been the leading force behind a proposed moratorium on market-rate housing in his district, the Mission, a plan that failed to pass the Board of Supervisors but nonetheless inspired intense public support from Mission residents who fear or face displacement amid soaring prices and evictions. Though the Mayor's Office opposes the moratorium, which could return in the form of a ballot measure, Lee and Campos have reportedly been working together on a strategy known as “Mission 2020." That initiative, explains the Mayor’s Office in a press release, "includes site acquisition and sets a series of ambitious goals aimed at building more housing and stabilizing the Mission neighborhood where two-thirds of residents are low and moderate income." Site acquisition has been a notable part of Campos' moratorium plan, with the Supervisor specifying 13 sites in the Mission currently in private hands that could be built up for 100 percent affordable housing. Campos and his office have not given a public estimate as to the cost of their purchase and development.
“This is a huge victory for the Mission as a community,” said Campos of the $300 million bond according to the Chronicle. “This happened because of the hundreds of people that came to City Hall last week” he claimed, referring to last week's well-attended Board of Supervisors moratorium vote.
Supervisor John Avalos, who is pushing for a housing bond worth $500 million, also sounded pleased. “It’s great the mayor acknowledged [that the housing bond] needs to be bigger,” he said, adding, “I know the mayor wants to do the right thing on this.” While the Chronicle reports that Avalos has no plans to abandon his own proposed bond measure,the Examiner writes that "it is all but certain that both bonds will not head to the ballot in November."
The proposed bond comes amid the City’s plan to build, rehabilitate and preserve 30,000 homes by 2020. Those are to include 10,700 below market-rate homes for low- and middle-income families. It should be noted that similar housing bond measures failed in 2002 and 2004, though the latter was a close call with 65 percent of the vote.
Last week senior housing adviser to the mayor Jeff Buckley noted that the City was “actively pursuing” the purchase of five Mission sites to yield 210 units of affordable housing. “The mayor has a plan,” he said. Now that plan, according to Buckley, would make room for 250 units.