Blog SF YIMBY June 7, 2022 Endorsements

May 7, 2022

San Francisco has become a poster child for the national housing crisis in cities. San Francisco YIMBYs have helped elected pro-housing leaders to the State Senate, the State Assembly, and the Mayor’s office, and are working to elect more pro-housing leaders to local offices, especially the Board of Supervisors. SF YIMBY is a chapter of YIMBY Action. To determine who to endorse, SF YIMBY interviewed candidates and created a thorough questionnaire. These candidates will most effectively advocate for more housing in the city and end exclusionary single-family-home-only zoning. Additionally, we support several measures we believe are critical for better governance of our beloved-but-dysfunctional city.

California Attorney General: Rob Bonta

Rob Bonta has brought an unprecedented passion for enforcing state housing law to the Attorney General’s office. His leadership of the Housing Accountability Unit and his dedication to protecting pro-housing legislation from NIMBY nonsense has earned him the title Housing Champion.

Read more on state races on the YIMBY Action endorsements page.

California State Assembly, District 17: Matt Haney

SF YIMBY is proud to endorse Matt Haney for a full two-year term. Last month, Matt Haney won the special election for the Assembly seat on a promise to use state law to lower barriers and build more housing. The spectacular election victory was described as a referendum and “a coup d’état” for the pro-housing movement. We look forward to working with Assemblymember Haney on state legislation to bring forth abundant housing across California.

Read more on state races on the YIMBY Action endorsements page.

California State Assembly, District 19: Phil Ting

Assemblymember Phil Ting has been a supporter of pro-housing policies in the Assembly for years. As a co-author on the groundbreaking SB 50 and a champion of ADUs, Ting has been ready to take hard votes in support of building more homes. His steady support for policy change, while representing a district that has historically fought housing production, is notable.

Read more on state races on the YIMBY Action endorsements page.

City Attorney: David Chiu

In his time in the California State Assembly, David Chiu was a fierce and determined housing advocate who fought for housing production, housing preservation, and tenant protection. As chair of the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee, Chiu shepherded groundbreaking housing legislation towards meaningfully increasing the housing supply. We are glad to see David Chiu in the City Attorney’s office to advise city officials on complying with state housing laws and meeting obligations to provide homes to people.

Proposition A (Muni Bond): Yes

San Francisco requires a robust public transportation system in order to support our vision for more housing. We need to continue investing in our transportation infrastructure like our subways, trains, bus yards, and bike lanes so that people can depend less on cars, garages, and parking, which competes with housing for building space.

Proposition B (Building Inspection Commission): No Endorsement

The Department Building Inspection (and its accompanying Building Inspection Commission) inspects buildings to ensure health and safety standards. We appreciate that Prop B will expand the pool of potential commissioners by removing unnecessary qualifications. And we support that Prop B would have the Director of Building Inspection directly report to the Mayor. However, we are deeply concerned by the provision that all commissioners will require approval by the Board of Supervisors, which is often skeptical of the process reforms that SF YIMBY advocates for to streamline housing approvals. The approval requirement will make it harder for the Mayor to appoint qualified candidates that will take streamlining seriously.

We agree that the Department of Building Inspection needs reform to be more nimble, transparent and law-abiding. While Prop B has some good things, its changes do not address the root issues. We believe its net effect is lukewarm at best, and erecting more barriers at worst. We have No Endorsement on Prop B.

For other perspectives:

Read SPUR’s Yes on B argument

Read GrowSF’s No on B argument

Prop E (Behested Payments): No

Some businesses that contract with the city have their contracts approved by the Board of Supervisors. Prop E would forbid Supervisors from soliciting these contractors for donations to third parties (in this case, the contractor is donating to the third party at the “behest” of the Supervisor).

SF YIMBY is concerned that these ethics laws will make it harder for city initiatives and nonprofits to raise private money for building more low-income housing and shelter. Supervisors often fundraise for low-income housing and homelessness programs through their donor networks. Because many people contract with the city, and because it is difficult to determine who is or is not a contractor, Supervisors would be more reluctant to reach out and fundraise for housing initiatives. Prop E could have a chilling effect on private donations to house the least fortunate.

We are also concerned that Prop E makes the policy substantially harder to amend, in case these laws need to be reformed in the future.

We wish this legislation curtailed corruption and blocked the most common form of “behested payments”: when Supervisors extract payoffs to various neighborhood groups as "community benefits" in order for developers to get their permits to build. However, Prop E does not address this behavior.