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A YIMBY Action Endorsement Questionnaire. View all November 2018 Questionnaires.

Schuyler Hudak

Candidate - San Francisco District 2 Supervisor

How would you increase overall housing production? Give us a few policy ideas you think would be most impactful, making sure they are genuinely relevant to the position you hope to be elected to.

The only way to solve our housing crisis will be through a variety of new sources of housing, especially market-rate housing. Some of these will be public, others private, but we also need to tap into public-private partnerships. That’s why I am very supportive of projects like Mission Rock. I believe this project demonstrates the potential for private companies to meet targets that are forward thinking and inclusive to all San Franciscans. Since there are currently no subsidies available to produce middle-income housing, we need to enact policies that create financial benefits to incentivize developers to utilize the policy tools and effectively cross-subsidize the production of all housing including but not limited to density, FAR, and height bonuses.

How would you increase Affordable Housing production? Would you support bonds (such as the $4 billion dollar bond on the CA November Ballot) or increased taxes, and in what amounts?

I fully support the 4 billion dollar bond on the California November bond and I as Supervisor, I would build social impact bonds to scale affordable housing production throughout the City.

San Francisco is becoming a tale of two cities. On one side we are seeing incredible prosperity, and economic success, and on the other side there are people struggling to stay in the city. As the only renter in this race (in a district of 70% renters), I know firsthand what it’s like to struggle to stay in the city that you love.

San Francisco and the Bay Area at large need to grow to ensure that every person who wants to live here can live here. We need our elected officials to work closely with their constituents, enabling them to feel that their voice is heard at City Hall. I will work with my colleagues on the board on the equitable distribution of affordable housing throughout the city, particularly focusing on opportunities for nurses and teachers.

Do you support legalizing multifamily buildings or “upzoning” single family home only neighborhoods, such as the west side of San Francisco or ? What do you think is appropriate for currently zoned low-density neighborhoods, those with parcels limited to one or two units? Please be specific and use examples relevant to your area.

Yes, I support upzoning with respect to and mindfulness of the integrity of all communities in San Francisco. I agree that prohibitive zoning in San Francisco has restricted the housing stock artificially, creating a housing crisis. I believe the decision should be with individual owners, but with consultation of the neighborhood associations. I would push for upzoning throughout the city, and not just in areas traditionally forced to bear the burden.

Did you or would you support Senator Scott Wiener’s bill SB 827 to eliminate density restrictions and upzone residential areas near transit, in its latest drafted iteration or with minor amendments? The bill would have allowed four to five story multifamily buildings within a half-mile of transit stops, and a right to return for displaced tenants. Would you pursue implementing a local version of a transit-oriented upzoning in your city or town?

While I am very supportive of incentivizing denser housing around transit corridors, SB 827 was overly broad. I would be more inclined to support the measure with some amendments, such as narrowing the definition of a “High-quality transit corridor.” Currently the way the definition reads as “a corridor with fixed route bus service that has service intervals of no more than 15 minutes during peak commute hours.” This could be virtually anywhere in San Francisco. I would like to seek further clarification from the author, or seek amendments to clarify where the transit-density bonus would apply. I agree with Senator Wiener that the availability of new housing units is an issue of statewide concern that needs to be addressed. I will support a measure like this on the local level.

Do you think every neighborhood should build multifamily subsidized Affordable Housing, and if so how do you plan on accomplishing that?

Yes. I support every neighborhood commiting to building affordable housing that would ensure families are able to stay here in San Francisco. We need an equitable distribution of multifamily housing projects across all districts where red tape doesn’t dissuade developers from thoughtful growth opportunities. Mixed-use developments and market rate housing help offset the cost of affordable housing. This is a citywide problem we must all address.

By-right development grants automatic approval to zoning- and building code-compliant housing projects (both Affordable and market-rate), removing review of those projects by local commissions like the Planning Commission. It does not apply to any projects seeking variances from existing city law. Yes or no, do you support by-right development? Please be specific.

Yes. I support the by-right process for housing projects that fit within the local zoning regulations.

How would you streamline the housing permitting process in your city or county? Describe some pre- and post-entitlement changes you would make.

The most significant and pointless factor driving up construction costs in the entire Bay Area is the length of time it takes for a project to get through the city permitting and development processes. I will work with the city to streamline this process and determine what can be automated and simplified. We must streamline CUPs. We can’t allow projects to be held hostage based on narrow interests.

What is your philosophy on inclusionary zoning, which mandates that market-rate housing pay for a certain percentage of lower-income units? Do you believe there is an inclusionary percentage that will create less overall housing and less low-income housing, ie that we can kill the golden goose with rates like 50% inclusionary?

I believe that the percentage of lower-income units must be carefully chosen and cannot be too high to deter development. While, I’m very supportive of the goals of inclusionary zoning, we know that building more housing of any kind (even 100% market-rate) takes the pressure out of the overall housing market and reduces prices for everyone. That’s just basic economics. As Supervisor, I would look forward to working with YIMBY and other community groups to study and determine the appropriate percentage for inclusionary units.

What do you think about the idea of a jobs-housing balance? For example, San Francisco’s Central SoMa Plan? The area plan adds 40,000 jobs and 7,000 housing units, and is likely to be passed by the the Board of Supervisors without accompanying housing. Do you think San Francisco should have an “act two” for this plan and zone for more housing, and if so where? Generally, do you think we should build housing to accommodate a growing economy?

Yes, it is very clear that we should build more housing to accommodate a growing economy and any policy to the contrary is exclusionary.

I am very supportive of the central SoMa plan, however the plan must be improved upon to better reflect our city’s current housing needs. We must build housing to accommodate a growing economy especially in SOMA where so much of the job growth is happening.

Currently, many governing boards will follow the wishes of a district official on housing in their district, even if other officials disagree. Would you follow this tradition? For instance, would you adhere to the informal custom at the Board of Supervisors to give “supervisorial prerogative” to district supervisors when deciding on housing projects in their districts? Do you think officials should be able reject housing in their districts?

Supervisorial prerogative is partially to blame for the housing crisis and it will take real leadership on the Board to show that this is NOT the way to strategically develop a world class city. It is imperative that all districts commit to building in San Francisco. I will look at all proposals on a case by case basis and will encourage all my colleagues to do the same.

How would you strengthen tenant protections? Give us a few policy ideas you think would be most impactful. Feel free to explore issues such as Right to Civil Counsel, your position on Costa Hawkins, etc.

While I’m concerned that the repeal of Costa Hawkins will disincentivize development, I
am supportive of a repeal, however I believe in order to not destabilize the market the
repeal must be done in a slow and thoughtful manner and we would need to follow a
repeal with an immediate legislative solution to stabilize the overall rental market. I
commend Mark Leno for being the only state legislator to effectively limit the Ellis Act. I
am supportive of policy to further reform the Ellis Act such as Assemblymember Richard
Bloom’s current legislation AB 2364.

Do you support a vacancy tax for empty units and/or undeveloped parcels? Cities like Paris and Vancouver collect vacancy taxes on homes that are not the primary residences of their owners in an attempt to encourage use of those units. Other municipalities are exploring taxes on vacant parcels to encourage development. What are your thoughts?

Do you support the repeal or reform of Proposition 13? Prop. 13 is a state law that caps property taxes at 1% of their assessed value at purchase. The law allows only property tax reassessment increases up to 2% per year or allows reassessment if the property changes ownership by being sold (but not inherited). The law also requires state and local tax increases to be approved by a two-thirds majority. Please speak about your position on both commercial and residential Prop 13.

I am in support of reforming Prop 13, particularly for commercial properties.

What is your opinion on street tent encampments and people living in vehicles? Do you support enforcement action against unhoused people living in tents, RVs and cars? Give us some alternative policies you think would be most impactful in addressing homelessness.

Living in tent encampments on the streets is unacceptable, unsafe and inhumane. While I believe we need to stop criminalizing homelessness and poverty, I would focus on eradicating all tent encampments. Given my experience on the Board of SF General Hospital, I understand that this is truly a humanitarian crisis that has persisted and worsened for a generations.

What local and regional transit or other multimodal initiatives would you propose? Give us ideas of new transit lines, fare integration, bike lanes, infrastructure upgrades, etc. How can we expedite these policies and move away from car dependency?

I am a strong supporter of the Mayor’s Transportation 2030 Task Force and all efforts that help San Francisco and the Bay Area address our woefully inadequate transportation infrastructure. I was a proud supporter of Regional Measure 3 because we need more strategic regional transit policy. RM3 will replace and expand new Muni busses and rail cars (all sustainable), as well as adding 300 new BART railcars. As someone who grew up riding BART, I understand what a vital mode of transportation this is for our region. While I’m happy with the outcome of RM3, this is only the beginning. We must be looking toward the future, and building the infrastructure we need now. We are moving into a world in which autonomous vehicles and TNCs will be the dominant forms of transportation. This requires us to build a different kind of transit policy starting today. I plan to leverage the resources of the California Air Resources Board’s Cap-and-Trade program for greenhouse gas credits, which has resulted in a large pot of money available for proposed clean transport projects. I would recommit MUNI to the fossil free pledge and ensure future procurement eliminates diesel.

Is there anything else you would like the membership to know about you or your positions?

My top 3 Priorities as Supervisor will be:

Housing: San Francisco needs to build more housing. Every day, I knock on doors and talk to young people who are feeling pushed out of San Francisco because of the exorbitant price of housing. The entire Bay Area as a region needs to build more housing. Our elected leaders should not rest until we have a housing plan that truly meets our needs. As Supervisor I will prioritize building housing, both in District 2 and throughout the city, so that everyone who wants to live in San Francisco, can live here.

Homelessness Is Unacceptable In A World Class City: It is unacceptable that we live in a city as beautiful as ours – as prosperous as ours – and yet so many people are homeless. This problem has persisted for too long and it’s time we elect leaders with the determination and political will to fix this. My extensive work with Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital has shown me how critical it is that our elected officials and policymakers work closely with our service providers to find solutions. We need to invest in our citywide case management system, set trackable goals and hold ourselves accountable for meeting those goals. If the homeless programs in which we are investing aren’t working, we need to create new solutions.

Safer Neighborhoods, Safer City: Car break-ins are everywhere – over 30,000 in 2017 alone. Today, San Francisco has a population of over 850,000 which balloons to 1.2 million with workers and commuters every day. The consequences of having an understaffed SFPD are evident on a daily basis. As Supervisor, I will fight for dramatically improved staffing levels for law enforcement and more dedicated resources to neighborhood policing and battling property crimes. As Supervisor, I will work with SFPD, the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office & the Sheriff’s Office to create a comprehensive plan for reducing crime. I will fight to increase the number of officers to the level our city needs and deserves and I will work to build partnerships between the community and law enforcement to prevent crime.

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