Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Happy Hour/Hora Feliz: Convivios in the Barrio

On Wednesday and Thursday the compas from the Mission Anti-displacement Coalition threw down a couple of barrio inspired mixers for community folks. Over plates of panuchos and hummus, organizers shared policy demands & community strategies for strengthening our San Francisco Eastern Neighborhoods. Similar to MAC members, many of those present are also involved in local efforts to win Proposition B (the Affordable Housing Charter Amendment) this coming November 5. After much heartfelt discussions about the conditions of our neighborhoods and the flight of working families from the Mission and South of Market, there was enthusiastic agreement that now is the time to get involved. Everyone in attendance committed to involving hundreds of people to win thousands of affordable housing units and blue/green collar jobs through the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan and Proposition B.

El Miercoles y Jueves pasado l@s compas de la Coalicion Anti-desplazamiento de la Misión organizaron unos convivios con miembros de la comunidad. Gozamos unos platos muy ricos de panuchos y hummus, a la misma vez organizadoras presentaron demandas y estrategias politicas para retomar Nuestro Ciudad de los urbanizadores codiciosos. Despues de mucho discusion sobre las condiciones de nuestro barrios y el desplazamiento de las familias trabajadoras de la Mission y South of Market, hubo mucho animo para involucrarse y defender nuestros derechos a vivir, trabajar y gozar la ciudad. Todos presente comprometieron a organizar cientos de personas para ganar miles de unidades de vivienda accesibles y trabajos manuales en Los Vecindarios del Este de San Francisco. Mucho de los quienes estaban presente, lo tambien estan involucrados en la campaña en favor de la Proposición B (enmienda para Viviendas Accesibles) de este 5º de Noviembre.

Freaky Fridays

Some interesting links:

This sure could've helped us these past few years.

The new face of San Francisco is rich, older, doesn't live here most of the time, and doesn't like their kids staying over.

From the same guy that wanted to develop 2660 Harrison St.: the cutting edge of housing.

A long overdue idea for generating money for our neighborhood needs.

A shout out to our sister organization, SOMCAN, who provide you a brief taste of the organizing that's going on in SOMA around the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Jobs? Who Needs Jobs?

A sobering article from the San Francisco Examiner.

San Francisco, say “So long” to industry and “Hello” to condos.

The City is expected to lose approximately 9,470 jobs throughout the next 16 years by converting nearly 5 million square feet of industrial space into housing units in four neighborhoods on the eastern side of San Francisco.

Under a rezoning proposal recently approved by the Planning Commission, the plan would grant housing developers access to huge swaths of industrial land that was previously available to them only with special permits. The zoning would allow housing development opportunities in east SoMa, the Mission district, Potrero Hill and the central waterfront, four areas with a rich industrial history that also make up about 7 percent of San Francisco’s 47 square miles of land.

Officials with the Planning Department told The Examiner recently that they expect so-called light industrial businesses — mostly auto-repair, printing, storage, furniture manufacturing, food production, catering businesses and some retail stores — to be pushed out because housing and office space generate far higher rents than industrial rent.

In case you haven't been paying attention, our communities are giving up a lot in terms of land and jobs in order to have space for another desperately needed commodity: affordable housing. The joke, of course, is that the City is offering precious little affordable housing in it's plan. So, what are we getting back? Not much, unless the plan is amended to incorporate both more affordable housing as well requiring new "innovative" industries to hire from within our traditional light industrial workforce. Next Monday we will lay out some specific proposals to make the City's plan better.

Friday, August 22, 2008

This may come as a surprise...(Happy Hour Fridays)

Over the past year at the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors, there are some constant arguments that I have heard from the development lobby that I think need to be challenged or at least better thought out. One such argument is that if you build more housing in San Francisco, prices will drop.

The wanna-be economists argue that the housing market in San Francisco subscribes to the basic economic theories of supply and demand. According to their simplistic reasoning, if you increase supply, prices will fall. Well, I too have taken economics, and it is my contention that their analysis of the housing market is incorrect. Building more housing in the City would not result in a decrease of the medium home price, at least not to a level that would make housing affordable to the majority of residents.

Moreover, I am also arguing that an increase in the housing stock, may actually increase the demand for housing (the housing market in SOMA is an example), thus increasing the price of homes.

Lets take the SOMA example. How many housing units have been built in SOMA over the past ten years? Thousands. Now, has the price of housing decreased in SOMA and the city overall since these thousands of units have been built?


What these wannabe economists always fail to mention is the number of housing units that would actually have to be built in the city to decrease prices. The development lobby just wants to build housing and hope that prices fall.

One of my economics professors in graduate school once said that public policy is about winners and losers. If we add all this new market rate housing that the development lobby is asking for, and the price of housing increases, then who is really benefiting. If more and more San Francisco will be priced out, who will be winning and who will be losing.

This is a fight for the City, this is a fight for housing, this is a fight for a just housing policy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Join Us For The Summer Mixers//Unete A Los Convivios En El Barrio

We are calling friends, activists & allies to join us for some tasty food & drinks as we share our policy demands & strategy for taking back our SF Eastern Neighborhoods. At the same time we are mobilizing to win Prop B (the Affordable Housing Charter Amendment) this November, we are also organizing hundreds of people to win thousands of affordable housing units through the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan.

Join us for one these fun political mixers in the barrio...

August 27, 5pm @ PODER
474 Valencia St. #120 (at 16th St.)


August 28, 5:30pm @ Le Boheme Cafe
3318 24th St. (at Mission St)

Estamos invitando a nuestros amig@s y aliados a reunirse en una tarde con comida y bebidas en dondoe vamos presentar nuestras demandas y estrategias para retomar Nuestro Ciudad. Ala misma vez que estamos movilizando en favor de la Proposición B (enmienda para Viviendas Accesibles) de este Noviembre, tambien estamos organizando miles de personas para ganar miles de unidades de vivienda accesibles en Los Vecindarios del Este de San Francisco.

27 de Agosto, 5pm en PODER
474 Calle Valencia #120 (acerca la Calle16)


28 de Agosto, 5:30pm en Le Boheme
3318 Calle 24 (acerca la Calle Mission)

Wonky Wednesday Morning

(The future posts for Wednesday will be written by me, and I will be
covering the events at the Board of Supervisors, as they relate to
Eastern Neighborhoods. )

I will use this post to articulate the policy recommendations in the
People's Plan for Housing, Jobs and Economic Development. Today, I will speak to our Mission Street rezoning recommendations.

The Mission Area Plan as passed by the Planning Commission is recommending that heights along Mission Street be set at 85 feet and citywide affordability requirements apply. It will increase the allowable heights along Mission Street from 17th Street to 23rd Street. In other words, landowners would be allowed to build 8 story tall buildings without an increase in affordability requirements.

We object to the increase in allowable heights and propose:
• 55 feet height limits
• At least 30% of all units be sold/rented at below market rate
• Inclusionary units for sale – at 80-120% SF AMI
• Inclusionary rental units – at 60% SF AMI
• Inclusionary units affirmatively marketed to existing Mission residents

As many of you have noticed, most of the buildings along Mission
Street are below 55 feet or 5 stories, so why did the Planning Commission support increasing the height limit to 85 feet (8 stories)? Damn, those will be some tall building along Mission Street. We propose that new developments keep within the heights of existing buildings. If developers want to exceed the height limits, we propose that they contribute more affordable housing units to society in exchange for being granted an exemption from the planning code (law).

Allowing a developer to build more units than what is currently allowed is called a density bonus. In planning and policy classes, we learn that density bonuses are a powerful tool to build more affordable housing units. Generally, density bonuses are only granted if the developer is willing to provide a greater percentage of affordable housing units than is required. The Planning Commission, against our recommendations, decided to grant developers a density bonus without requiring enhanced affordability levels.

We essentially appose the increased height limits because they are out of character with the neighborhood, do not provide an increased percentage of required affordable housing units, and will result in high priced condos that the vast majority of San Franciscans cannot afford.

We are also proposing an enhanced inclusionary requirement of 30% because there is a need in the city and the neighborhood in particular for affordable housing. According to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), 64% of all new units will have to be developed at affordable levels to meet the affordable housing need of San Francisco's residents. We are arguing that the market has failed to produce affordable housing in the City. When there is a market failure, it is the responsibility of the government to correct the failure.

The city of San Francisco can correct this failure by adopting the
aforementioned polices from the People's Plan.

Friday, August 15, 2008

So, How Are We Paying for All This Great Affordable Housing? Glad You Asked...

November's election provides all of us who care about affordable housing a tremenedous opportunity to, in a very real way, put our money where are mouths are. Proposition B, the Affordable Housing Charter Amendment, would set aside money every year from the City's General Fund to pay for our most critical need, affordable housing. Here are the highlights of how this money could be used to preserve and enhance our community:

  • Establish a set aside of 2.5 cents of every local property tax dollar. This set-aside would generate an estimated $33 million dollars each year for the next 15 years;
  • Encourage a diverse unit-mix with at least 50% of the new units required to be 2 bedrooms or more;
  • Ensure that 40% of funds dedicated to new housing development assist very low-income households with incomes less than 30% of San Francisco median income(SFMI);
  • Ensure that 60% of funds dedicated to new housing development assist low-income households with incomes between 30% and 80% of SFMI.

The Affordable Housing Charter Amendment, is absolutely essential to build the, potentially, thousands of affordable housing units that could come from the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan.

Here's the rub, the plan that is going to be considered by the Board of Supervisors in a few short weeks does not contain nearly enough affordable housing. It mainly relies on private developers to provide a paltry 15 to 20% of units developed as "affordable." We know from experience that this inclusionary housing requirement very, very rarely produces affordable rental units. We will be left with neighborhoods that contain a handful of affordable ownership units and no affordable rental opportunities. The Planning Department optimistically predicts that up to 28% of the units produced under their plan would affordable. Which is all well and good, except for the fact that to meet San Francisco's affordable housing need even they acknowledge that a full 64% of new units would have to be affordable. While the community has waited over seven years for the Eastern Neighborhood plan to be completed, the Planning Department and Mayor’s Office of housing have failed to produce a comprehensive strategy to meet the affordable housing goals of 64% that the Board of Supervisors recommended in their resolution on the Eastern Neighborhood Plan.

In this regard the timing of the Affordable Housing Charter Amendment could not be any better as it can get all of those hard-working activists who have been pouring their heart and soul into that campaign to also focus on the importance of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan. Now is the time for all of us to call for a better Plan that will produce substantial numbers of affordable housing units across the income spectrum. Without a viable plan that calls for adequate amounts of truly affordable housing, the Housing Charter Amendment will be a tremendous resource squandered.

The Eastern Neighborhoods Plan and the Affordable Housing Charter Amendment go together like bricks and mortar-let's pitch in and make sure that we have the right materials to build our San Francisco of the future that will provide homes for all of us regardless of income, race or class.

La elección de noviembre nos da a todos aquellos a quien nos importa la vivienda económica, una oportunidad tremenda. La Propuesta B, la Enmienda de la Carta de Vivienda Económica, hará una reserva cada año del fondo general de la ciudad para nuestra necesidad más crítica, vivienda económica. Aquí están los usos más importantes de cómo este dinero se podría utilizar para preservar y para realzar a nuestra comunidad:

  • Establecerá un contribución de 2.5 centavos de cada dólar de impuestos locales de propiedad. Este dinero generaría aproximadamente $33 millones de dólares cada año por los próximos 15 años ;
  • Motivaría una mezcla en tamaños de unidades de por lo menos un 50% de nuevas unidades requeridas que requieran 2 o más dormitorios;
  • Asegura que 40% de los fondos de desarrollo de nuevas viviendas, sea dedicado para la asistencia a personas de bajos ingresos especialmente aquellos que ingresen menos del 30% en ingresos de acuerdo a el ingreso medio de San Francisco (SFMI por sus siglas en ingles);
  • Asegura que 60% de los fondos de desarrollo de nuevas viviendas, sea dedicado para la asistencia a personas de bajos ingresos especialmente aquellos que ingresen del 30% al 80% en ingresos de acuerdo a el ingreso medio de San Francisco SFMI(por sus siglas en ingles).

La Enmienda de la Carta de Vivienda Económica, es absolutamente esencial para construir, potencialmente, miles de unidades de vivienda económica que podrían venir del Plan de Las Vecindades del Este.

Pero el problema esta en que el plan que va a ser considerado por la Junta de Supervisores, en algunas semanas, no habla lo suficiente de la vivienda económica. Este plan principalmente confía en los urbanizadores privados para que proporcionen 15 a 20% de unidades desarrolladas como “económicas.” Por experiencia sabemos que este requisito de “vivienda incluyente” raramente produce unidades de alquiler económicas. El plan nos dejará con vecindades que contienen muy pocas unidades de venta económicas y ninguna de alquiler económico. El Departamento de planificación, optimisticamente predice que habrá un 28% de las unidades producidas bajo su plan serán económicas. Lo cual estaría bien, pero el hecho es que para resolver la necesidad de vivienda económica de San Francisco se necesitaría que el 64% de nuevas unidades fueran económicas. Mientras que la comunidad ha esperado mas de siete años que se terminará el Plan de las Vecindades del Este, El Departamento de Planificación no pudo producir una estrategia comprensiva para resolver las metas de vivienda económica de 64% que la Junta de Supervisores recomendó en su resolución sobre el Plan de Vecindades del Este.

En ese aspecto la sincronización de la Enmienda de la Carta de Vivienda Económica no podría haber sido mejor pues puede conseguir que todos esos activistas trabajadores que han estado invirtiendo su corazón y alma en esa campaña para que también se enfoquen en la importancia del Plan de las Vecindades del Este. Ahora es el tiempo para que todos nosotros pidamos un plan mejor que produzca números substanciales de unidades económicas a través del espectro económico. Sin un plan viable que requiera cantidades adecuadas de viviendas verdaderamente económicas, la Enmienda de la Carta de Vivienda Económica será un enorme recurso malgastado.

El Plan de las Vecindades del Este y la Enmienda de la Carta de Vivienda Económica van junto como ladrillos y mortero-luchemos juntos para asegurar que tengamos los materiales y derechos para construir nuestro San Francisco del futuro, donde proporcionará hogares para todos nosotros sin importar nuestros niveles de ingresos, raza, o clase.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Victimas de Embargos Hipotecarios

Cuando hablamos de embargo hipotecario, conocido en ingles como foreclosure usualmente pensamos que los únicos que son afectados son los dueños de casa y nos olvidamos que hay ciertas ciudades como San Francisco donde la mayoría de habitantes dependen del inquilinato.

En los últimos dos años en el área de San Francisco, el número de embargos hipotecarios aumentó significativamente a más 390 casos por mes. Con esto una ola de abusos inquilinarios inesperada, que se presentan desde intimidación con la policía o inmigración, suspensión de los servicios de utilidades, hasta ejecución física de la propiedad.

Aquí, en el Comité de Vivienda San Pedro hemos escuchado muchos casos de abusos, ya sea por agentes de vienes raíces, los antiguos dueños o la persona que adquirió la propiedad. Los casos mas comunes que se han presentado son de personas que les han suspendido la electricidad y gas por falta de pago por el antiguo dueño de la casa, a pesar que los inquilinos hallan entregado su pago mensual.

Ha habido agentes de bienes raíces que quieren sacar provecho de la situación y se hacen pasar por nuevos dueños exigiendo que la renta se les entregue a ellos. No siendo eso suficiente estos agentes acosan a los inquilinos a diferentes y altas horas de la noche queriendo sacarlos de la propiedad.

Pero el tormento de los inquilinos no termina allí, pues no todos los bancos o nuevos dueños informan a los inquilinos la nueva dirección a donde se tiene que mandar los pagos mensuales o quien es responsable por alguna reparación pendiente. Esto hace que los inquilinos estén más vulnerables a los diferentes fraudes y abusos.

La causa de esta ola de abusos ha surgido debido a la falta de información disponible acerca de cuales son los derechos de un inquilino en caso de un embargo o ejecución hipotecaria, y la falta de conocimiento de parte de los bancos de la protección de inquilinos que existe en San Francisco.

Si usted o alguien que usted conoce se encuentran en un embargo hipotecario, lo primero que tiene que saber es que no solo porque la casa ha cambiado de dueño, no significa que tiene que salirse de la propiedad. Especialmente si usted vive en una casa hecha antes de 1979 o si su edificio esta protegido por el control de renta. No se deje intimidar por ningún agente de bienes raíces, ni por nuevos o antiguos dueños que desean sacar provecho de la situación. Busque el centro de protección de inquilinos más cercanos o llame al Comité de Vivienda de San Pedro.

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Foreclosure Victims

When we talk or hear about foreclosure, we usually think that home owners are the ones being affected. Let us not forget that there are cities like San Francisco where most residents are renters/tenants.

During the last two years in San Francisco, foreclosure cases have significantly increased to more than 390 cases per month, which bring along with them a wave of tenant’s rights violations. These violations range from using the police and immigration to intimidate tenants into moving out, to inhumane shut offs of basic utility services like water and electricity, and, at times, even forced, physical eviction.

At St. Peter Housing Committee we have seen these violations done by real state agents, ex property owners and new property owners. The most common complaint we hear from our immigrant Latino tenant clients is about the suspension of electricity and gas. Even though tenants pay their fair share for utilities to their landlords or master tenants, some landlords fail to make the monthly payment, leaving the tenants to their own luck, and often facing a debt of thousands of dollars owed on the utility account

There have been real state agents that have taken advantage of the situations and pretended that they were the new property owners and have demanded rent payments from tenants. As if that wasn’t enough, these agents also harass tenants at odd night hours, threatening them and giving them illegal verbal eviction notices.

Currently, not all the banks or new owners send the information of where the rent payments need to be sent or who is responsible for repairs. If a tenant is not informed of who the new owner is or when the change of owner takes place, it makes them vulnerable to their rights to be violated or to fraud.

Sadly, the main reason why tenants’ rights are being violated is due to the need for information on tenant rights in cases of foreclosure, and the banks’ lack of knowledge about tenants’ rights protections in cities like San Francisco.

If you or someone you know lives in a house that is foreclosed, the first thing you need to know is that the property going into foreclosure doesn’t mean that you need to leave your home. Especially if you live in a house built before 1979, or if the building is under rent control. Don’t let any real estate agent or owner intimidate you or take advantage of the situation. Your first step is to go to any tenant rights organization or call St. Peters Housing Committee.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Que Viva Jose Morales!

On July 27 over 70 supporters joined Jose Morales for a vigil commemorating his 14 year battle against an unjust Ellis Act eviction from his home of 43 years. At 79 years old, Jose has accomplished the amazing feet of fighting his landlord for the right to live out his golden years in the neighborhood and home that he loves. Over these triumphant years Jose has garnered the enthusiasm and hope of thousands of peoples from throughout the City.

Sadly though, on August 6 the San Francisco Sheriffs at the request of the courts, delivered the final blow and forced Jose out of his home at 527 San Jose Ave. It was a sad day but I couldn't help feeling hopeful at the sight of dozens of community members and organizations lending Jose a hand during this difficult time. That's what a community does... we take care of our own!

Currently, Jose is staying at a shelter being run by Dolores Street Community Services and is working with the fine folks at Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center to get him into affordable senior housing as soon as possible. Click here for the full Tecolote story.

Props go out to the many peoples and organizations that have and continue emotionally, spiritually and materially supporting our Abuelo. Click here for the pictures.

Development without Displacement: is it possible?

The Peoples Plan for Housing, Jobs, and Economic Development was officially unveiled to the Planning Commission on July 10, 2008. The Peoples Plan (a community planning effort) was written to inform the Mission Area Plan (MAP) released by the city. The planning commission will vote on the plan by the end August. The Board of Supervisors will have the final vote.

The MAP will have numerous effects on the Mission District, on Mission Street in particular. Contrary to the People’s Plan that advocates for 55 feet (5 stories) height limits, the MAP will increase the height limits on Mission Street to 85 feet (8 stories) from an average of 65 (6 stories). What does this mean? This means that most of the land along Mission will become more expensive overnight. The city will have conferred wealth to landowners at the expense of the community. How? The taller a building can be, the more housing that can be built. Generally, the more housing that can be built, the more expensive the land becomes. There is nothing wrong with building more housing but we are afraid that more housing units along Mission Street will likely mean more luxury condos that the vast majority of residents can not afford.

More luxury condos will eventually lead to more gentrification. More gentrification will result in your neighbor, your favorite businesses, your best customer or even you being evicted or price out of the neighborhood. Does sound like a plan that would benefit the neighborhood? No it does not.

We are advocating for increased affordability levels (more below market rate units) for any development along the corridor, and enhanced affordability levels for any development that is higher than 55 feet. What does increased affordability mean for the business in the neighborhood? It means that there will be more low-moderate income customers in the neighborhood. This is approximately a family of four that earns less than $80,000 a year. This segment of the population is the customer base for many of the stores that operate in the daytime along Mission Street.

Mission merchants protect your customer base by supporting the People’s Plan, the only plan that will protect local business and residents from being evicted, and the only plan that will lead to housing, jobs, and economic development for Mission District residents.


Desarrollo sin desplazamiento: es esto posible?

El Plan Popular por Vivienda, Trabajos y Desarrollo Económico fue presentado oficialmente a la Comisión de Planificación el 10 de Julio del 2008. El Plan Popular (un trabajo conjunto de planificación comunitaria) fue escrito para incluir las demandas de la comunidad en el Plan de Area de la Misión (MAP en inglés) presentado por la ciudad. La Comisión de Planificación votará si recomienda el Plan a finales de agosto pero la aprobación final la decidirá la Junta de Supervisores.

El MAP de ser aprobado tal como está tendra numerosos efectos en el distrito de la Misión y en particular en la Calle de la Misión. Contrario al Plan Popular que apoya un límite de altura de los edificios de 55 pies (5 pisos), el MAP propone 85 pies (8 pisos) de altura límite para los edificios en la calle de la Misión. Qué significa esto? Esto significa que la mayoría de las propiedades en particular el valor de la tierra en la calle de la Misión será de un día para otro mucho más costosa. Por medio de esta política la Ciudad le estará otorgando riqueza a los dueños de la tierra a expensas de la comunidad. Cómo pasa esto? Entre más alto pueda ser un edificio, más vivienda puede construirse. Generalmente, entre mas vivienda pueda ser construída en un terreno mayor valor adquiere la propiedad. No hay nada de malo en construir más vivienda, pero nos preocupa que las viviendas que van a construir a lo largo de la calle Misión son condominios lujosos que la gran mayoría de los residente no pueden comprar.

La construcción de más condominios lujosos solo conduce a más aburguesamiento del barrio. Mayor aburguesamiento resulta en que su vecino, su tienda favorita, su mejor cliente ó usted mismo sea desalojado de su vivienda o negocio por el exagerado aumento en la renta. ¿Le parece que este es un plan que podría beneficiar al vecindario? Por supuesto que No!

Nosotros estamos abogando por incrementar los niveles de accesibilidad para familias de bajos y moderados ingresos (mayor número de viviendas a precios por debajo del mercado BMR en inglés) en cualquier nueva construcción de vivienda más alta de 55 pies (5 pisos) a lo largo del corredor comercial de la calle Misión. ¿Qué significa aumentar el acceso a vivienda económica para los negocios? Esto significa que habrá más familias de bajos y moderados ingresos (familia de 4 que ganan menos de $83,000 al año) en el vecindario. Ellos son el segmento de la población considerados los mejores y más fieles clientes de las tiendas que operan durante el día en la Misión.

Comerciantes de la Misión protejan a sus clientes apoyando el Plan Popular, el Plan que protegerá a los negocios locales y residentes de ser desalojados, el Plan que nos llevará a obtener vivienda, trabajos y desarrollo económico para los residentes del distrito de la Misión.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The End Is Near! Let's Organize...

Last Thursday the San Francisco Planning Commission voted to approve the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan that will rezone four of San Francisco's most diverse and economically important neighborhoods, East SOMA, the Central Waterfront, Showplace Square, and the Mission district. This process now enters its final stage at the Board of Supervisors, where the Supervisors will make changes based on community input. The SF Chronicle's take can be found here.

MAC has been organizing around this process since its beginning, way back in 2001. We have been ceaselessly advocating for our community derived land-use policies, contained in the People's Plan, to be adopted by the Planning Department. The City's plan, as approved, falls far short of what we have been demanding. It does an adequate job of protecting land for industrial jobs in the Mission and it also requires new "hybrid" industries that provide industrial jobs but have a larger office component, to hire a significant portion (25%) of their workers from within our traditional industrial workforce. However, the Devil is in the details; unless we have adequate monitoring and enforcement of the new rules, our communities will lose out. So far the details are conspicuously lacking in their plan.

The housing side is far worse: a giveaway to market-rate developers that will quickly gentrify the neighborhood at an even more rapid rate than what we have seen this past decade. The Planning Department is not offering much in terms of affordable housing beyond "inclusionary housing," which is in essence below-market-rate ownership housing and what it calls "middle-income" housing, that would offer housing for people making 150% of Area Median Income (about $99,000 per year for a single person!). We are still strongly advocating for zoning that will result in affordable housing for low and moderate-income renters, who are the majority of the folks that live in the Mission, as well as affordable ownership opportunities.

While the Planning Commission and Planning Department may have given up on truly affordable housing, we haven't! We are organizing our community to come out in force to the Board of Supervisors in September. The Board still has the power to give the community the plan we have worked so hard to get. Please check back here regularly to get updated on specific hearing and event dates and to get updated on our specific campaign demands. The end is near and that means that we have to come together stronger than ever before.

Versión En Español

El jueves pasado la Comisión de Planificación de San Francisco votó para aprobar El Plan de las Vecindades del Este rezonifica cuatro de las vecindades más diversas y económicamente más importantes, East SOMA, Central Waterfront, Showplace Square, y el Distrito de la Misión. Este proceso ahora empieza su etapa final en la junta de Supervisores donde los Supervisores harán cambios basados en el retroalimento de la comunidad. El punto de vista del SF Chronicle puede ser encontrado aquí.

MAC ha estado organizando alrededor de este proceso desde su principio en 2001. Hemos estado abogando incesantemente para nuestras políticas derivadas por la comunidad, contenidos adentro del Plan Popular, para que sean adoptadas por el Departamento de Planificación. El plan de la ciudad, según lo aprobado esta corto de lo que hemos estado exigiendo. Es adecuado en sus protecciones para los trabajos industriales en la Misión y también requiere que las nuevas industrias “híbridas” que proporcionan trabajos industriales pero que tienen un componente más grande de oficina, para que empleen una porción significativa (25%) de trabajadores industriales tradicionales. Sin embargo, el diablo está en los detalles; a menos que tengamos la supervisión y aplicación adecuadas de las nuevas reglas, nuestras comunidades perderán. Los detalles están faltando hasta ahora en su plan.

El plan para viviendas es mucho mas peor: un regalo para los urbanizadores de viviendas al nivel del mercado que rápidamente va a aburguesar a la vecindad aún más rapido de lo qué hemos visto esta última década. El Departamento de Planificación no está ofreciendo mucho en términos de la vivienda económica más allá del “inclusionary housing,” que es, esencialmente, vivienda de compra bajo del nivel del mercado, y lo qué ellos llaman la vivienda de “renta promedia,” que ofrecería viviendas para la gente que hace 150% de promedio de ingresos de la área (¡cerca de $99,000 por el año para una sola persona!). Todavía estamos abogando fuertemente para zonificación que dará va a crear viviendas económicas para los inquilinos de ingresos bajos y de la moderado, que son la mayoría de la gente que vive en la misión, así como oportunidades para comprar viviendas económicas.

¡Mientras que la Comisión y el Departamento de Planificación pudieron se han dado por vencidos en la idea de vivienda económica, nosotros seguimos luchando! Estamos organizando a nuestra comunidad para venir con fuerza a la Junta de Supervisores en septiembre. La Junta de Supervisores todavía tiene el poder de dar a la comunidad el plan que hemos trabajado tan duro para conseguir. Regrese por aquí regularmente para conseguir las fechas específicas para audiencias y eventos y para obtener noticias sobre nuestra campaña. El fin esta cerca y esto significa que tenemos que venir juntos más fuertemente que nunca.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Mission is our Home

(This post originally appeared in the publication El Tecolote earlier this year)

It has been ten years since Mission residents were first being evicted and priced out of their homes in the gentrification of the Mission. In an attempt to quell these problems, the Mission Ant-displacement Coalition (MAC) has been fighting to prevent displacements through grass root organizing and advocacy. In response to neighborhood concerns, the San Francisco Planning Department has been in the process of creating a Mission Area Plan to rezone the Mission District. Among other things, the plan will “strive to provide a significant amount of new” affordable housing and “attempt to ensure a stable future” for industrial type businesses.

The residents of the Mission will need to advocate for “a significant amount of new” affordable housing and “a stable future” for industrial type businesses, because the City will fail to provide a suitable amount without community pressure.

The proposed zoning changes by the city will affect your home, business, health, employment and/or commute. It is imperative that community residents voice their opinions at City Hall. The Planning Department staff hopes to finalize the Mission Area Plan by year’s end. Hearings at the Planning Commission regarding the Mission Area Plan (MAP) are scheduled to begin in May. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will have final say on the policies in the MAP.

MAC has been in discussions with the panning department and other neighborhood based organizations to deliver community input into the plans. MAC has advocated for the plan to include regulations requiring that a significant percentage of the new housing built be affordable to families in the neighborhood. As a coalition of social service agencies, MAC is very aware of the need for affordable family-size housing in the neighborhood.

The biggest physical changes to the neighborhood will likely occur along the corridors (Mission, 24th, 16th, and Valencia Street) and the northwest corner of the Mission. The plan can also have a significant affect on the number of residents and businesses who are evicted or priced out of their respective homes and locations.

The rezoning of the corridors will play an important role in where new housing is built. The plan calls for rezoning Mission Street to allow for more housing by increasing height limits along the corridor. It could create incentives for developers to demolish existing buildings with businesses on the ground floor to build expensive mid-rise condos. Rezoning along the corridors should be done to maximize affordability and minimize displacement.

The plan will also determine the future uses of the industrial spaces in the northwest corner of the Mission. It will recommend the conversion (rezoning) of some parcels zoned for industrial use to residential and commercial uses. It is important to preserve industrial businesses because they provide thousands of blue-collar jobs.


La Misión es Nuestro Hogar

Han sido ya 10 años desde que residentes de la Misión fueron desalojados y desplazados de sus viviendas por el alto costo de las rentas y el proceso de aburguesamiento del barrio. En un intento para enfrentar el problema, MEDA con otras organizaciones de la coalición MAC han estado luchando para prevenir los desplazamientos y estabilizar el vecindario por medio de la organización y participación comunitaria. En respuesta a las preocupaciones de la comunidad , el departamento de Planificación de la ciudad ha estado en el proceso de crear el Plan de Area para la Misión para rezonificar el Distrito de la Misión. El Departamento de Planificación espera lograr la aprobación del Plan para finales de este año. Entre otras cosas, el Plan de Area se “esforzará por proveer una significativa cantidad de vivienda económica” e “intentará asegurar un futuro estable para los negocios industriales”

Los cambios de zonificación propuestos afectarán su vivienda, negocio, salud, empleo y transporte a su lugar de trabajo. Los cambios físicos más significativos en el vecindario se notarán alrededor de los corredores comerciales de las calles Mission, Valencia, 24 y 16 y la parte noreste de la Misión. El plan puede tener un impacto significativo en el número de residentes y negocios que son desplazados o desalojados debido a los altos precios de la renta. Audiencias en la Comisión de Planificación con respecto al Plan de Area de la Misión empezarán en Mayo. La Junta de Supervisores sera quien diga la última palabra con respecto a las políticas del Plan de Area.

MEDA como miembro de la coalición MAC ha abogado por incluir legislación que requiera un mayor porcentaje de construcción de vivienda nueva accesible para familias del vecindario. El Plan de la ciudad propone rezonificar la calle Mission para permitir mayor altura de los edificios para constuir más vivienda. Lo anterior puede motivar a los constructores a demoler los edificios existentes que tienen negocios locales en el primer piso para constuir edificios de condominios costosos e inaccesibles a nuestra comunidad. La rezonificación alrededor del corredor comercial de la Calle Mission debe ser hecho para maximizar el número de vivienda económica y minimizar el desplazamiento.

El plan de la ciudad determinará el futuro de los usos industriales en la esquina noreste del Distrito de la Misión. Por ahora la recomendación de la ciudad es rezonificar algunos lotes designados para uso industrial y convertirlos para uso residencial y comercial. Es importante preservar los negocios industriales porque proveen miles de trabajos para nuestra comunidad.
Si está interesado en saber más del Plan de Area de la Misión, puede visitar la siguientes páginas de Internet:

Departamento de Planificación:

Coalición de MAC:

Qué es zonificación y porque es tan importante?

Cada dirección (lote o parcela) en la ciudad es zonificada para ciertos usos. La calle Mission está zonificada para uso comercial y residencial. La calle 24 tiene también los mismos usos pero solo permite edificios hasta de 4 pisos de altura. Sin este tipo de regulaciones los edificios podrían ser tan altos como de 10 pisos.

Vivienda Incluyente: Es un requerimiento para cualqueir nueva construcción que incluye un porcentaje de unidades de vivienda accesible.

Vivienda Económica: Vivienda donde personas con ingresos menores del 80% -120% del ingreso medio de area ($80,000 al año para una familia de 4) paga no mas del 30% de su ingreso. Valencia Garden es un ejemplo de vivienda económica.

Comisión de Planificación: Es un grupo de 7 personas elegidas por el Alcalde y la Junta de Supervisores que supervisa el trabajo del Departamento de Planificación y aprueba, cambia, modifica o desaprueba las construcciones en la ciudad.

Junta de Supervisores: La rama legislativa de la Ciudad compuesta de 11 miembros elegidos en cada distrito. La Junta establece políticas, aprueba el Plan de Area y adopta ordenanzas y resoluciones.

Plan de Area: Es un elemento del Plan General de San Francisco. El Estado de California require que las ciudades decidan como van a cumplir con las necesidades de vivienda a través del Plan General.