Breed, Supervisors Merge Dueling Housing Ballot Measures

Many teachers had supported the supervisors' measure, and the competing proposals were not a good look.

A view of the Outer Richmond District from Grandview Park in the Sunset District. (Photo by Kevin N. Hume)

In a little over a month, San Francisco voters went from the possibility of weighing three different housing measures to just one.

Mayor London Breed announced Wednesday that she would abandon an affordable-housing proposal of her own and support a competing November ballot measure put forward by several supervisors that would set aside parcels on public lands specifically for public educators. United Educators of San Francisco (UESF) and American Federation of Teachers 2121 supported the supervisors’ measure.

In turn, the measure put forward by Supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer, Aaron Peskin, Matt Haney, and Shamann Walton will adopt key components of Breed’s proposal to increase height requirements and modify unit requirements. 

“Working together, we have already put forward the largest affordable housing bond in the city’s history to provide more funding for low- and middle-income housing, but we also need to find more places to build that housing,” the group said in a joint statement. “Through this plan, we can open up more sites across our entire city for badly needed affordable and educator housing.”

Before the united front, disagreements about educator housing made City Hall look chaotic. Breed first put forward a charter amendment in April but the group of supervisors began crafting their own with the city’s teacher unions who felt left out of the process. In mid-June, their proposal was announced within hours of Breed’s.

“We started in good faith negotiations with both side of the legislature here in City Hall,” said Ken Tray of UESF earlier this month. “The bottom line is the Board of Supervisors’ initiative represents the ideas the educators brought to the table and the mayor’s initiative doesn’t, from our perspective, do that.”

Teacher unions were also concerned with Breed’s proposal raising the definition of affordable housing to include higher incomes, and not reserving educator housing projects entirely for educators like the supervisors’ proposal did. Earlier this month, a special Rules Committee halted Breed’s charter amendment — which would have been difficult to modify — from moving to the November ballot.

Pro-housing advocates warned City Hall to make sure at least one of the overdue rezoning measures pass. In the end, Breed and the supervisors listened — but only after it became untenable not to.

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