SF voters say NO to propositions B & C
San Francisco voters soundly rejected Propositions B & C and signaled not only their fight against unrestrained million dollar condo development along the Embarcadero but also the proposed Golden State Warriors basketball arena real estate deal, still planned for 2017. Propositions B & C were defeated in 23 of the 25 neighborhoods in San Francisco and in nine of the 11 Supervisor Districts.
Former Mayor Art Agnos took to task current Mayor Art Lee’s “legacy project,” saying he would debate Lee in public over the merits of building such a monstrosity along San Francisco’s shoreline. For Agnos and the San Francisco Waterfront Alliance, rejecting Props B & C was the first salvo fired in defiance not only of the Board of Supervisors (which supported the entire condo development project) but of the Golden State Warriors organization, letting it know that its proposed waterfront development will not be supported by the people of this fair city.
Condo project greased at the top
Mayor Agnos charged that 8 Washington condominium project was “greased at the top” by supporters Lee and former mayor Gavin Newsom, the latter whom was nowhere to be found in San Francisco as both proposals went down to defeat. But the link to the 8 Washington condo plan and the proposed Warriors arena was unmistakable. Agnos made it clear that “under no circumstances will San Francisco voters accept an arena on the bay.”
Bankrolling the opposition
San Francisco sports columnist, C.W. Nevius bemoans the bankroll that supported opponents of propositions B & C. According to Nevius, one couple, Richard and Barbara Stewart, who live in a nearby highrise, were the chief bankrollers because they didn’t want their view blocked by a bunch of new condos. Sometimes, it’s great to see the 2% fight among themselves. Yes, the developers of 8 Washington made no bones about condo development and making a boatload of money doing so. But what supporters of 8 Washington just don’t get is that even the paltry 11 million included as part of the development only does one thing. It continues the division between rich and poor. What 8 Washington needs aren’t multi-million dollar condos but a proliferation of working class, affordable homes. It was done previously under former Mayor Diane Feinstein with the development of Delancey Street, which now houses more than 400 former addicts and helps rehabilitate them so they can function and become productive contributors to society.
Affordable housing is a priority for all working class folk, including artists, laborers, and teachers. Agnos said San Francisco voters would consider supporting a bond to raise money to rebuild piers 30-32 so the port wouldn’t have to depend on sweetheart real estate deals with developers to provide those funds for the delayed work.
The defeat of Propositions B & C is an expression of voter frustration with ongoing gentrification and Manhattanization of San Francisco. Back in 2012, the City by the Bay earned the dubious distinction of having America’s most expensive rental market. How was the 8 Washington condo project going to make a dent into that reputation? I continue to lament San Francisco’s evolution from bohemian enclave to capitalist behemoth. Mayor Ed Lee’s conservative, business mentality consistently compromises the public interests of all San Franciscans, in particular those of the working class, who most certainly will not be purchasing multi-million dollar condos. More importantly, the first shot has been fired against the Golden State Warriors and their preposterous real estate deal not only to develop an arena at Piers 30-32, but also to create a 90,000+ square foot shopping mall, a private garage, and additional multi-million dollar condos.
San Francisco continues to gentrify. But I’ll be damned if residents of this once charming city will just sit idly by while real estate development goes unchecked.