After throwing $220,000 into a wildly unpopular "Open Up the Waterfront" campaign, the developers of 8 Washington project now face a bulwark of opposition from local politicians, housing activists, and environmentalists. Today a group of them released a video to protest the high-priced 134-unit condo complex, which, they say, suffers from serious design flaws, puts the San Francisco Bay at risk for raw sewage spills, and diverts taxpayer money to substidize luxury housing for the rich.
"8 Washington destroys precious community recreational space," argues Supervisor David Chiu, who just requested $250,000 from Zynga to build a Waterfront playground right by the prospective 8 Washington construction site.
"It's a giant step into turning San Francisco's waterfront into something that looks like Miami Beach," former city attorney Louise Renne chimes in.
Opponents of 8 Washington have roughly a month left before voters decide whether or not to approve Measures B and C, which would exempt the 8 Washington project from various zoning restrictions.
As of now, both sides are deploying class-war language to make their arguments. The 8 Washington proponents used an Occupy theme to promote their $5 million condos, urging voters to "Stop the 1 %" who don't want to release waterfront land for rapacious high-rise development. Meanwhile, their adversaries argue that the project is just another hand-out for the rich. A new cluster of luxury condos with no affordable housing would only raise rents for the rest of us.
Here's their appeal:
And here's another video featuring former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, who argues that 8 Washington would reverse a colossal step that San Franciscans took after the '89 earthquake, when they decided to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway and reclaim their waterfront vistas. If voters pass 8 Washington, Agnos says, that whole sweeping Bay landscape would be blocked by a 13 story high-rise. The Bay would become a private luxury for 8 Washington's millionaire residents, who could then gaze imperiously down at the rest of us.