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Board of Supervisors

Supes Challenge Mayor Breed’s Housing Agenda with New Proposals for Rent Control, Affordability Requirements

Written by Mike EgePublished May. 24, 2022 • 7:12pm
Mayor London Breed chats construction workers. Camille Cohen/The Standard

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Expanding rent control to new construction, incentivizing multi-bedroom family dwellings and changing governance of the city’s affordable housing agency. That’s the substance of a few of the nine measures the Board of Supervisors introduced Tuesday for the November ballot.

Here’s a look at what’s proposed. 

Housing 

The three housing measures put forward by supervisors may come into conflict with a plan Mayor London Breed wants to bring to voters that she hopes will quicken homebuilding in the city.

The trio of new proposals floated Tuesday include:

See Also

  • A measure sponsored principally by District 1 Supervisor Connie Chan, which promises to speed up affordable housing construction by bypassing some environmental and other reviews. Those projects would have to be priced at 120% of Area Median Income or less, and include two- and three- bedroom units, which are preferable for growing families. It would also require projects to pay skilled and trained workers prevailing wages, and mandate yearly reporting on affordable housing production and funding as part of the mayor’s budget proposal. Board President Shamann Walton and District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin are cosponsors.
  • A measure sponsored principally by Peskin, which would apply rent control to housing in new projects built under density bonus or other upzoning incentives. The measure makes use of an exception to the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, the state law which prevents new housing from being under rent control, related to projects provided with density bonus or other incentives. 
  • A measure sponsored by District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston would turn the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development into a separate agency with its own oversight commission.  Preston cited the recent increase in state housing production quotas, gaps in funding for affordable housing identified in a recent committee hearing, and allegedly no plans to address the gap on the part of the Mayor’s Office of Housing. “With no oversight, MOHCD is obstructing production of social housing supported by the majority of residents,” Preston said.
  • The measures represent a major challenge to Mayor Breed’s housing agenda, including her support for a measure currently in circulation for signatures, which would expedite affordable and market-rate housing projects which elect to provide more that the required number of inclusionary affordable housing units, and housing or mixed-use projects that include affordable units as well as units reserved for households of Unified School District or City College employees. A number of speakers at public comment voiced support for Breed’s favored Affordable Homes Now initiative, arguing that placing a competing measure on the ballot could lead to the loss of both. 

Other Measures

  • Peskin said he was working on another measure which could undo Proposition B, passed by voters in 2020, which created the new Department of Sanitation and Streets. Instead, a single department would be overseen by both the Public Works Commission and Sanitation and Streets Commission, much in the same way the Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission interact with the Planning Department. At last week’s meeting, Peskin made comments about “buyer’s remorse” over the costs of Prop B
  • Preston also introduced a measure to move all elections in the city to even-numbered years. He cited the recent success of a similar measure passed in Los Angeles in increasing voter turnout and elections access to equity communities. He also promised that, if passed, the measure would save money, and “give voters some breathing room.”
  • District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen introduced the Back on Track Student Success Fund Charter Amendment, which would set aside money from excess Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds which would normally return to the city’s general fund. That set-aside money would fund grants administered by the Department of Children, Family and Youth to public schools for programs that address learning losses from effects of the Covid pandemic, as well as the continuing achievement gap affecting students from at-risk communities.
  • Peskin introduced a measure mandating the forfeiture of pensions by city employees found to have committed acts of moral turpitude without an actual crime being committed.
  • District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai introduced measures to renew the Library Preservation Fund, and reform governance of the city retirement system. 

Reaction to Texas Shooting

Supervisor Safai interrupted the new business portion of today’s agenda to request a moment of silence for the 19 victims of today’s mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas

  • Afterwards, board President Walton noted that “we need to change gun laws to stop this from continuing …  we will continue to do what we can to change this dynamic.”
  • Later during roll call, District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani, who has made gun safety laws a significant part of her agenda, read the names of the victims of the massacre into the record, in an emotional speech. “The Second Amendment is not a suicide pact. … Now is the time to pass the laws that will stop these preventable tragedies.”

Other Board business 

  • The board unanimously passed legislation from District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar that places new costs and rules on landlords taking advantage of the Ellis Act, a state law that allows eviction of all tenants from a property as long as it’s being taken off the rental market. Melgar’s new ordinance would increase those payments to $10,000 per tenant, up to a limit of $30,000 per unit, with an additional $6,700 paid to senior or disabled tenants. It would also tighten rules for when a property cleared by an Ellis eviction can be returned to market. 
  • They also unanimously passed a significant service contract increase for Health Right 360, one of the largest public health contractors in San Francisco with more than $53 million in payments from the city this year, and played a lead role in establishing the Linkage Center as part of Mayor Breed’s Tenderloin emergency initiative. The contract is for services at sites around the city serving more than 1,800 patients, increases the agreement by $79.8 million to almost $164 million, and extends the contract through 2027.
  • The board also unanimously approved a resolution urging the Controller to submit  a new rate application for refuse services from provider Recology, in reaction to continuing overbilling scandals. According to chief sponsor Peskin, it would create a balancing account and impose reporting requirements to keep Recology accountable, and provide clearer justification for rates and increases.
  • A scheduled hearing on the reform plan between the San Francisco Police Department and the Department of Justice was continued to July 12. 

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Mike Ege can be reached at [email protected]


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