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

Shamann Walton

Candidate - San Francisco District 10 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.

I’m committed to building thousands of affordable housing units for all income levels over the next 8 years. By bringing my experience developing affordable housing to City Hall, I will ensure our district increases supply and leads the City in affordable housing units. I will prioritize affordable housing projects currently in the pipeline and eliminate barriers so more can be built as well as work with landlords to streamline accessory dwelling units to increase our supply. This will help address our city’s critical issues of homelessness and affordability.

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?

As a renter myself, I know it is becoming increasingly difficult for everyone to live in SF and I understand the plight of this City’s tenants. I have seen too many residents evicted, forced out of the city, or become homeless. As Supervisor, I plan to build thousands of new affordable housing units for ALL income levels over the next years.

As Executive Director of Young Community Developers, I negotiated and built 100% affordable housing while holding developers responsible for community benefit packages that support walkability, mixed-use, and environmental concerns. As Supervisor, I will bring this experience to City Hall to expedite affordable housing projects and reform existing zoning laws as a City. I will also work with landlords to legalize accessory dwelling units so that we can expand our housing supply.

Yes I support the California housing bond.

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.

Local municipalities like San Francisco need to have control on how that housing looks like. I support upzoning housing but with respect to not displacing existing tenants of the neighborhood.

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 do believe we need more housing and the idea behind SB 827 has ignited many conversations, local municipalities need to have control on how that housing looks like. I would support upzoning on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis with prevention on displacing tenants.

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

Yes. We need to prioritize building affordable housing that can address the needs of low-income and working class residents. In addition to building more housing, we must preserve our existing rent-controlled units and create legislation to expand rent control so that it can increase our affordable housing stock while protecting the existing tenants under rent control.

In District 10, I am committed to building thousands of units of affordable housing over the next 8 years for all income levels. I will bring my affordable housing development experience to City Hall to increase the housing supply and fight for the enforcement of neighborhood preference – so that we are at the forefront for affordable housing in our district. I will make sure that we prioritize all of the affordable housing currently in the pipeline, ensure that it gets built, and eliminate barriers to achieving adequate housing.

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.

I believe zoning and planning should remain in the hands of the local leadership and community because we are the ones affected by environmental impacts of developments. There is a balance that can and must be struck between maintaining open spaces, mitigating impacts on the human and urban environment around new developments, and implementing creative solutions like increasing height limits for affordable housing projects near transit hubs. If we want to solve the housing crisis, it is imperative we work towards achieving this balance rather than simply stake out positions on either side of these issues. San Francisco is unique among American cities because, due to our geographic location on a peninsula, we simply have a finite amount of land that can be built on. This means that here, just as in New York City, it is often imperative to consider the greater city infrastructure picture when building large housing developments. It does the City little good to grow our population without simultaneously making changes to accommodate new residents comfortably. For that reason, while there may be some specific locations in the city or specific circumstances where by-right development within San Francisco could be appropriate, I believe it would have to occur only on a case-by-case basis in pre-approved locations.

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

As a renter myself, I know it is becoming increasingly difficult for everyone to live in SF and I understand the plight of this City’s tenants. I have seen too many residents evicted, forced out of the city, or become homeless. We must preserve our existing rent-controlled units and create legislation that expands rent control throughout the city, while making reasonable carve outs for small property landlords who live in one of their own units. This is why I support a full repeal of Costa Hawkins and believe we need to prioritize creating additional rent control legislation.

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?

No answer provided.

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?

No answer provided.

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?

No answer provided.

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.

As a renter myself, I know it is becoming increasingly difficult for everyone to live in SF and I understand the plight of this City’s tenants. I have seen too many residents evicted, forced out of the city, or become homeless. We must preserve our existing rent-controlled units and create legislation that expands rent control throughout the city, while making reasonable carve outs for small property landlords who live in one of their own units. This is why I support a full repeal of Costa Hawkins and believe we need to prioritize creating additional rent control legislation.

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?

No answer provided.

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.

No answer provided.

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.

This City’s officials must recognize it is our job to fix the homelessness crisis and increase resources for strategically creating transitional and permanent housing for our homeless population. In the short-term, this includes creating more Navigation Centers with pathways to permanent housing and utilizing abandoned buildings to house and provide supportive services. In the long-term, this will involve building additional affordable housing, using some of our public land to build affordable projects or supportive housing, increasing the City’s mental health and addiction treatment services, and ending the practice of releasing non-violent, mentally ill and/or addicted individuals from jail directly back to the street.

San Francisco’s eastern neighborhoods currently bear majority of the responsibility that comes with having the highest population of homeless residents. Our residents should not have to dodge needles and feces while strolling in their neighborhood and our homeless residents need supportive services to help them get back on their feet. We must increase resources that are strategically used for creating transitional and permanent housing for our homeless including creating more navigation centers in the short-term with pathways to permanent housing, utilizing abandoned hotels or apartment buildings to house and provide supportive services for the homeless population.

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?

Public transportation is severely lacking or nonexistent in many parts of D10, and, as a result, most residents of District 10 have to drive almost anywhere they go in the city. As Supervisor, I will continue to work directly with the leadership of SFMTA to bring reliable and accessible transportation to District 10 residents, including implementing rapid bus lines, creating efficient connections from east to west neighborhoods, expanding the T-Line, and eliminating the practice of switch-backs. San Francisco will simply not succeed in becoming a Transit First City until more attention and resources are put into providing public and alternative transit options for the residents of District 10.

We also need to put more focus on improving pavement conditions, street lighting, and bike safety in neighborhoods that are underserved by public transit. I have collaborated with the SF Bike Coalition to bring safer bike routes to District 10 in the past and would be interested in expanding this work with them as Supervisor. Vision Zero and SFMTA have plans to expand the bike-share area and traffic calming measures into District 10, but this must be accompanied with street surface improvements to keep the additional bikers and pedestrians it creates safe.

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

No answer provided.

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