FW: Proposition J Doesn't Work

In a message dated 2/3/2004 5:03:14 PM Pacific Standard Time,
robpower@... writes:
Ever since RBASF teamed up with Gonzalez to prop up their corrupt exploitation
of existing codes requirements, I really don't want to be their ally on
ANYTHING. But I also don't like the idea of taxpayers subsidizing new
buildings. Frankly, if Prop J just did away with the environmental studies,
I'd be for it, but the subsidy sounds like too much. I suppose one could make
the argument that, with as much as we tax property owners in SF, the subsidy
will not even let them break even in the long run. So I'm borderline "in
favor" / "no position" on J. But I certainly don't want to back RBASF.
Hi Rob, Mike,

I am commenting in response to your request to shed some light on the
backstory on Prop J.

RBA is against ANY other developer getting permits to build ANY housing in
SF. They managed to get the lions share of permits for many years, and all the
builders in their group paid their "toll" to RBA honcho O'D. He parceled the
money out to politicians and spent it on ballot measures to solidify his control
over housing policy, to perpetuate scarcity on the "for-profit" side.

Calvin Welch, Randy Shaw and their cabal of non-profits control housing on
the "government subsidy" side. They have worked closely with RBA at all times to
make sure the personnel at DPW, the administrative rules, and the substantive
decisions all worked to maintain that hegemony. Together, they have
controlled housing policy, limited production, and kept prices and profits high. Theirs
has been a marriage of convenience, fueled by their greed and mutual
self-interest in limiting housing in SF.

Now there is an effort to break that stranglehold. Further, by building
ownership housing, the proportion of renters vs homeowners will change (very
slightly). But RBA and the nonprofits are reluctant to let even a single unit be
built without them getting their "mordida".

Prop J does away with some of the procedures that have been used to make
getting permits such a nightmare for anyone who was not "connected" with either
RBA or the nonprofits. Many "neighborhood organisations" are typically front
organistions whose members dont really understand how they are being manipulated.
The leaders of these organisations sometimetimes do understand, but have
their own axe to grind, such as getting publicity, a role in the neighborhood, or
even financial incentives or a political career. Its not pretty.

Its more than OK that some developers not connected with RBA are allowed to
make a profit in SF. If development did not require such a lengthy and
byzantine process of approval from every city department and neighborhood group,
housing policy would be a lot more sane and straightforward. The zoning on a piece
if land is only a first approximate step in determining what can be built
there. The reason that permit expediters like Walter Wong and O'D are
millionaires, is because the building permit system is a black box which the bad guys
control. Its not a coincidence that they supported Gonzalez, Chris Daly et al.
They help each other, to the ordinary citizen's detriment.

RBA's O'Donoghue is a master at orchestrating barriers that prevent
construction of housing. We should not let him get away with it. He does not mention
how RBA got special legislation sponsored by Chris Daly to get a density bonus
at their new project at Fourth and Freelon, South of Market. RBA will reap an
estimated additional revenue of $ 70-80 million for the 100+ extra units they
were allowed to build. That construction is going on RIGHT NOW. In return for
the non-profits cooperation, RBA agreed to build and GIVE to Tenderloin Housing
Clinic a brand new building worth approximately $ 20 million, on which THC
boss Randy Shaw will collect government subsidy rents in perpetuity. Can you
trust ANYTHING that RBA is connected with? I think the answer is a resounding NO.

Break RBA's monopoly! Yes on Prop J!