Planning Commissioners Cindy Wu and Michael Antonini are on their way out, leaving two vacancies in the 7-person commissioner body. Replacements will be nominated by the mayor and Board of Supervisors president London Breed (one each), with both selections requiring approval from the Board of Supervisors.
One of these departures is probably a good thing for the YIMBY cause. To give you an idea of Wu’s position on housing policy, she recently penned an Op-Ed in the SF Examiner on why Jerry Brown’s by right housing proposal will hurt affordability, citing several Jane Kim-isms about how it will result in losing community bargaining power, but failing to include anything related to economic sense, or a critical look at how this position has panned out over several decades. As a refresher, the governor’s proposal is a much-lauded plan to streamline development that already complies with literally everything, aiming to increase overall housing production and curtail the abuse our current hyper-local land use system. Somehow four years on the Planning Commission failed to make said abuse apparent to Cindy, as her piece paints the proposal as a conspiratorial way of undermining affordability. Anyway, like we said, probably a good thing her seat is opening up.
Antonini, meanwhile, recognized how dramatically the city had under built over the past several decades, and has generally been in support of new development and density. Antonini saw the problem and voted in support of projects to fix it. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a great representative when you go outside his voting actions. A ballot guide he wrote last year for friends and family made unsavory comments bashing “pinkos” and “socialists”, remarks rather characteristic of his Republican party. A petition was even started to get him removed from the Planning Commission. In any case, his 14-year term is coming to an end.
So, what does this mean for San Francisco, and for YIMBYs? Opportunity to get two more pro-density voices on the Planning Commission! No word on who those replacements might be just yet, but the two-page application looks pretty approachable.