S.F. Supervisors Oppose SB 827

The Board of Supervisors formally logged concerns with former colleague and state Senator Scott Wiener's massive housing bill.

Construction cranes are seen over downtown San Francisco. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

State Senator Scott Wiener’s former chambers, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, adopted a resolution calling on him to fundamentally amend or nix his controversial housing bill.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, supervisors voiced deep concern and skepticism of SB 827 — a massive housing bill that would increase density by “transit-rich” areas — but they didn’t all land on the same page. Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s original resolution outright opposed the Senate bill before it was changed to call for amendments and reverted back to opposition.

Supporters of the bill say building along transit is key for addressing our housing crisis, while opponents say it disproportionately upzones large metro areas like San Francisco which is already much more dense than the surrounding Marin and San Mateo counties.

San Francisco is not alone: Last week, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted for a resolution opposing SB 827 in March.

“Those amendments do not fundamentally address the issues around tenant protections,” Supervisor Aaron Peskin said. “I want to extend a hand to Senator Wiener to say that we are here and we are ready to collaborate.”

Peskin pointed to actions state government could take, like repealing Costa-Hawkins to address rent control, eliminating the Ellis Act to prevent evictions, and providing funds for San Francisco to build smartly.

Supervisors Ahsha Safai, London Breed, and Jeff Sheehy were opposed to passing a resolution this week, rather than a couple weeks from now after the bill has been amended. Though they agreed that local control — which the bill is criticized for stripping away — is vital, they ultimately voted against Tuesday’s resolution.

“The bill is a work in progress,” Sheehy said. “We do have a housing crisis so I absolutely support what the senator is trying to achieve.”

Many of the supervisors lamented it as a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t allow for the careful thought needed when building housing. The bill, they say, dramatically increases real estate value without recapturing that into affordable housing — which Supervisor Jane Kim attested to working in her SoMa district.

“It would almost need to be a completely different bill for us to consider it,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen. “[I] never will believe that solely increasing housing will trickle down and create the housing that we need.”

Ronen and Kim repeatedly referenced the tough conversations with community input led by Tang that made Home-SF — the 2017 local density program — a reality. Though the vote wasn’t unanimous, supervisors agreed that housing is a regional and state issue that can’t be treated with a one-size-fits-all solution.

“Housing is important to all of us. Let’s recognize that what unites us is definitely greater than what divides us,” said Supervisor Catherine Stefani. “I think it’s time that we send a strong message to Sacramento.”

This story has been updated.

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