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Politics & Policy

This is who’s spending money on SF housing propositions

Developer Eric Tao shows a corner condo construction taking place on the sixth floor of 950 Market St., a hotel/condo development, seen on Friday, March 13, 2020, in San Francisco, Calif. | Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Supporters of Proposition D—an affordable housing measure backed by Mayor London Breed and a host of housing activists—have raised over $2 million in campaign funds for the expensive election fight on housing in San Francisco this year, according to San Francisco Ethics Commission data.

Major donors to Prop. D include Ripple Labs ($250,000), Twilio CEO John Wolthuis ($200,000), Sequoia Capital managing partner Michael Moritz ($100,000) and socialite Dede Wilsey ($100,000). (Disclosure: Moritz provided initial funding to the San Francisco Standard.)

Prop. D would expedite approval of certain projects that exceed affordability minimums, exempting them from onerous discretionary review procedures. The measure’s supporters include San Francisco YIMBY and the Nor Cal Carpenters Union. 

Also on the ballot is Prop. E, a competing measure placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors. Backed by the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council and progressive members of the Board of Supervisors, Prop. E also aims to streamline affordable housing, but adds further requirements around unit size and labor. 

Looming in the background is a state mandate that San Francisco must make room for 82,000 new housing units by 2031, and an investigation by the California Department of Housing and Community into San Francisco’s slow permitting timelines.

What’s more, Prop. D and Prop. E are in direct competition: If both pass, the one with the most votes will nullify the other. So it’s no surprise that this is one of the most hard-fought and well-financed battles on the ballot. 

The Prop. E campaign has raised over $450,000 as of Monday, and $207,000 of that amount came is from the SF Building and Construction Trades Council. The Southern California Pipe Trades District Council, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and UA Local 38, which represents plumbers and pipefitters, each contributed $75,000 in support.

A separate committee in opposition to Prop. E has raised $20,000, and the Edwin M. Lee Democratic Club PAC contributed half of that sum. The Building Owners and Managers Association along with a committee to recall school board members during the Feb. 15 election chipped in the remainder. 

The San Francisco Building Trades also reported spending $15,000 on independent polling for Prop. E. The San Francisco Labor Council’s PAC, Labor Neighbor, reported spending $7,492 on door hanger leaflets, delivered by volunteers, opposing Prop. D and supporting Prop. E. 

Meanwhile, the GrowSF PAC has spent $12,040 on web advertising in support of Prop.D and against Prop. E. 

Noah Baustin can be reached at