Guardian forum on Plan Bay Area draws big, engaged crowd

More than 130 people attended last night's Bay Guardian forum in the LGBT Center.

San Franciscans who want to help shape how this city grows — rather than just leaving it up to regional planners and market forces — packed a large conference room last night for a community forum presented by the Bay Guardian: “Whose Future? What Does the Regional ‘Plan Bay Area’ Really Mean for San Francisco?”

Moderated and organized by Guardian Editor/Publisher Tim Redmond, and co-sponsored by the Council of Community Housing Organizations (CCHO) and Urban Institute for Development and Economic Alternatives (UrbanIDEA), the session began with a overview of what’s now being planned for the San Francisco of 2040.

Gen Fujoika of the Chinatown Community Development Center said that Plan Bay Area, which is being jointly developed by the Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (which will hold a hearing on the plan tomorrow, Fri/14, at 9:30am in Oakland), doesn’t pay for itself yet it will include strong incentives that will shape development in the region.

“It is in some sense a plan and I think we need to critique the hell out of that plan,” he said. “As we think of Plan Bay Area as a vision statement, we need to think about whether it’s our vision.”

As illustrated by the Plan Bay Area maps that the lined the walls of the LGBT Center conference room, the plan’s “priority development areas” that are slated for dense, streamlined development are also the same areas identified as “communities of concern” with vulnerable, low-income populations, making the plan a recipe for mass displacement.

Fujoika quoted a comment that Mayor Ed Lee made on Tuesday when asked by Sup. Eric Mar about the issue: “San Francisco has some of the toughest anti-displacements laws in the country.” While that may be true, Fujoika said that the plummeting numbers of African-Americans in the city and Plan Bay Area’s displacement projections for San Francisco show those laws simply aren’t up the challenge.

“If we have the toughest anti-displacement position in the country, then we are in some trouble,” he said, calculating that the affordable housing needed to prevent extreme gentrification in the city would total $6.8 billion, and that the affordable housing fund created by voters last year is only projected to raise $1.3 billion by 2030.

Fujoika said that he and the other panelists aren’t against growth and development, “but we are for equitable growth,” which would involve more community buy-in for the plan, more money for affordable housing and infrastructure needs, and more of the growth burden being shared by other Bay Area communities.

San Francisco Planning Commission Chair Cindy Wu cited growth projections for Chinatown as a good example of the problem, noting that is already a dense, complete neighborhood that would suffer from the greatly increased traffic that would be funneled through it and other negative impacts of unfettered growth.

“It’s not just growth for growth’s sake, it’s who gets to live there and who gets those jobs,” she said. Wu called for more community organizing around this and other development plans, citing as a good example the coalition-building that forced California Pacific Medical Center to agree to a multi-hospital project with far better community benefits than the deal it originally cut with the Mayor’s Office.

It was a point echoed by Maria Zamudio with Causa Justa, who said Plan Bay Area will worsen pressures that are already displacing the Mission District residents she works with, or forcing them to live in unsafe housing. “They’re going to push our families out of the city and maybe out of the region,” she said.

To combat the power that this plan and profit-minded property owners will exert over how San Francisco grows, San Francisco Labor Council President Mike Casey, head of UNITE-HERE Local 2, said that progressive San Franciscans will need to work cooperatively with organized labor, a relationship that has suffered during these tough economic times.

“Unfortunately, I think we’ve become alienated and marginalized from each other,” Casey said, calling on activists to not let differences over individual projects or issues interfere with solidarity over the larger, longer struggle for equity and justice.

“Not everyone agrees that a strong labor movement is the cornerstone of a more progressive vision,” Casey said, arguing that displacement of working class people from the city has a cascading effect in gentrifying the city. “The demographics of a city shape very much what the politics of protest look like.”

And those politics of protest will be more crucial than ever in resisting the demands that powerful capitalists will make on San Francisco in the coming years, a point that all seven panelists seemed to agree on.

Bob Allen of Urban Habitat said the planning research groups represented on the panel need to find ways to funnel more funding into grassroots organizing, both in San Francisco and regionally. Otherwise, we’ll see the “suburbanization of poverty,” with Plan Bay Area funneling the best jobs and most expensive housing into urban areas and leaving everyone else to fend for themselves in communities that don’t have the tenant protections and other hard-won social justice programs that San Franciscans have struggled for.

“Local control can be a way of saying ‘I don’t want black or brown people to live in my suburban community,” Allen said.

Ironically, Plan Bay Area is ostensibly driven by concerns over climate change and the argument that it’s better to concentrate development along transit corridors, which is why almost all of San Francisco and much of Oakland is proposed for development that would be given waivers from some California Environmental Quality Act scrutiny.

Yet the plan doesn’t fund the transit upgrades that would be needed to serve that growth or create restrictions on automobile use that might encourage more transit use. Instead, Fujoika said low-income people who actually use transit would be the diplaced in favor of wealthier residents who might not.

“Transit has become an amenity rather than a necessity,” Wu said.

The forum, which was attended by more than 130 people, included a lively discussion that involved dozens of audience members who offered their own views, ideas, and strategies for how to move forward. Among them was Brian Basinger of the AIDS Housing Alliance, who said that he is working with a coalition to reform the Ellis Act, which allows landlords to evict tenants from rent-controlled apartments.

“We could move this as early as January,” Basinger said of the reform legislation now being developed with allies in the Legislature, urging attendees to get involved.

After the audience discussion, the meeting closed with Peter Cohen of the CCHO summarizing the high points and getting people to sign up on lists that were circulated to be involved with next steps. And Rachel Brahinsky, a former Guardian staff writer who is now a professor at USF’s Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, urged attendees to fight for San Francisco to remain inclusive and diverse: “San Francisco is the place it is because people have kept fighting.”


SF isn't that far off the 10% quota that blacks represent nationally.

More importantly, there are many more Asians and Hispanics than there used to be, so in fact SF is MORE diverse than it used to be. Clearly that is not a problem.

As well meaning as these sandal-wearing usual suspects undoubtedly are, the simply fact is that planning isn't about ideology, and much less about racial quota's as you seem to desire. It's about how does SF's economy want to grow.

And consideration of planning without consideration of our future tax base quite simply will not work.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

AIDS sufferers already get a one year suspension of an Ellis eviction, while everyone else is gone in 120 days.

If he gets his way, which may not even be constitutionally possible, no landlord will EVER rent to a gay male again.

Way to go, Brian, you asshat.

Posted by anon on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

It has been happening for decades now. It's unstoppable despite all the electronic ink and hot air everyone wastes babbling about it.

Nothing anything progressives have done over the past 40 years has even slowed the pace of gentrification in this city. If anything it has sped up.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

more pleasant, more cultured, more prosperous and more safe, and with better employment and housing opportunities.

I can handle that.

Posted by anon on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 5:44 pm

I agree 100%. The people I see harassing commuters in subway stations, illegally jumping out of moving buses (forcing Muni to spend millions to stop them), "tagging" (I.e. defacing) my building, and urinating and defecating on our sidewalks are absolutely not gentrifiers. If anything, we need much more gentrification. Bring it on!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

over and over and over, darling, belies you.

Posted by marke on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 5:44 pm

I suspect that neither Lucretia nor anyone else here would feel such a need to restate the obvious if the level of receptivity to the obvious here was more elevated.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

Mmmm hmmm - two snaps up for that one sister frien'!!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

pack every meeting, endlessly crowing the same mindless shtick.

Real convincing.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

This article contains nothing in the way of ideas for their goals. Nothing more needs to be written here, I mean its laughable.

Posted by Well on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

At least with the Klan you know where you stand...
The usual suspects who "aren't opposed to growth" except when they are meeting because they are opposed to growth plans.
A room full of the whitest of white people planning how they can get more black people in town.


Posted by Maldita fondada on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

Nice to read the report from the meeting. With so many different housing interests presented, it will be interesting to see what the particpants come up with going forward. Talking about an issue takes 1% of the effort. Coalescing around common strategies may take another 20% of the effort. But the really hard work comes from taking good ideas and making something real happen.

If 3-4 solid ideas are formed - such as reforming Ellis, increasing the affordable housing requirements for all future private housing developments throughout the Bay Area, and reducing/eliminating the impact of speculators from the housing market - and if the various sub-groups can support each other when the needs arise, there could be some very positive long-term outcomes. With so many talented people in one room working together, good results are almost inevitable.

Some of the panelists seemed to want more tax money for their favorite causes - more transit, more housing subsidies, more non-profit owned housing developments. I'm sure another 25 groups could have been invited that would have also spoken eloquently about needing far more tax dollars for their programs too. Given governmental budget constraints for decades to come, begging for more money from government doesn't seem nearly as effective as first reforming the housing market altogether by (1) discouraging/preventing speculators from buyng single-family zoned housing and condos altogether, and (2) diverting the current billion-dollar tax subsides given to landlords and property speculators and channeling them instead to families and households.

The current housing system in the US, and especially in California, is a mess, with rapid price increases often followed by steady declines. It's the easiest investment for making millions, much better than even stocks or bonds. Tens of thousands of speculators make small fortunes when housing prices are rapidly increasing using mostly borrowed money, while hundreds of thousands of families can lose much of their downpayment or more when housing prices collapse and the job market deteriorates. Until speculators are prevented from purchasing family housing units (unless there is a large excess inventory for sale), the housing market will never improve for most lower and middle-income families. And until builders are required to include higher percentages of units for lower and middle income families, they will continue to build as many cadillac housing units as the market will support since the profit margins are much, much higher. When these two items are fixed, the majority of the community will start to see much better housing affordability.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 9:11 pm

First: It's a State Law and there are hardly any Ellis evictions outside of San Francisco, and so there is very little interest in changing the rules from the vast majority of elected Assemblymen in Sacramento. It's takes a lot of pushing to get bills onto the floor and this one doesn't have broad interest or appeal.

Second, Ellis simply codifies a fundamental constitutional protection for property owners and so, even if Ellis were repealed in it's entirety, landlords could still sue to reclaim their property rights - see Nash versus the City of San Francisco, 1984.

There's also a very practical issue. The new condo restrictions mean SF LL's now have another reason to Ellis because waiting for vacancies and condo conversion has been pushed back into the 2030's. And if there is even a sniff that moves are afoot to try and weaken Ellis, landlords will decide to Ellis now rather than risk that it might not be so easy in the future.

So by the time the stable door is closed, most of the horses will have escaped.

Bear in mind also that Ellis'ed units are not kept vacant. They simply have new occupants. The amount of housing is not affected by Ellis.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 6:44 am

It's wasn't a diverse group at all. It was a bunch of single-issue activists saying the same ol' same ol'

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 5:12 am

Tom Colon from the Housing Action Coalition was in the house, not too nervous this time.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 6:11 am

If so, they are in more trouble than I thought.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 6:34 am

We are very proud of our membership! As you can see below, SFHAC includes a broad range of organizations that have come together to support building more housing in San Francisco. Our bylaws require a balance between developers and their advocates and organizations that do not have a direct financial interest in housing development. As of January 2011, our members are:

AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust
AvalonBay Communities, Inc.
AXIS Architecture + Design
BAR Architects
Barbary Coast Consulting
Berg Davis Public Affairs
BRIDGE Housing Corporation
Build Inc.
Cahill Contractors
Cannon Constructors
Carpenters Local 22
Cathedral Hill Plaza
Catholic Charities CYO
Center for Creative Land Recycling
Charles F. Bloszies Architecture
City CarShare
Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass
Cresleigh Development
David Baker + Associates
Emerald Fund
Farella, Braun & Martel, LLP
Forest City Development
Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF)
Fritzi Realty
GCA Strategies
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Glen Park Association
Gould Evans
Greenbelt Alliance
Habitat for Humanity
Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association
Heller Manus Architects
HKS Architects
John Stewart Company
JS Sullivan Development
KwanHenmi Architecture & Planning
Laborers Local 261
Lennar Communities
Martin Building Company
McKenna Long & Aldridge (Formerly Luce Forward)
Mercy Housing California
Mission Rock
Nibbi Brothers General Contractors
NorthPoint Public Affairs
Panoramic Interests
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Paramount Group
Perkins + Will
Planning Association of the Richmond
The Prado Group
Pyatok Architects
Related California
Reuben & Junius LLP
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council
San Francisco Chamber of Commerce
San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR)
San Francisco Association of Realtors
Skidmore Owings Merrill Architects
Solomon Cordwell Buenz
Steinberg Architects
Sunset Heights Association of Responsible People (SHARP)
Swinerton Inc.
Tishman Speyer
Trumark Urban
United Educators of San Francisco
Universal Paragon Corporation
Urban Housing Group
UrbanGreen Devco
Van Meter Williams Pollack LLP

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 7:04 am

Non-profit housing development is a multi-billion dollar business. Large law firms and the most powerful investment companies make tens of millions every year putting non-profit housing deals together, selling tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to wealthy 1%ers, and lobbying governments. Thousands of non-profit management companies make large salaries watching over the properties, developing 100 page rule books governing every aspect of their tenant's behavior, and spending countless hours lobbying governments for more funding. Therefore, its not a surprise these companies would band together to keep the tax dollars coming to fund their very lucrative activities.

I especially like seeing groups like the Bike Coalition, Greenbelt Alliance and City Carshare on the list. They, along with groups like Walk SF, Livable City and Transform have contributed to the rapid gentrification of places like the Mission, lower Haight, Glen Park, Western Addition and Dogpatch. Many of these organizaton's employees, board members and volunteers live in these rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, some of them actually living in former rent-controlled apartments that they help convert to TICs and condos. Some of them actually evicted tenants so that they might enjoy the riches than arise in a gentrifying neighborhood. Nothing screams gentrification louder than "more bike lanes, more transit, more traffic calming, more transportation investments, and more police presence," all of which greatly enrich the local property speculators as the local neighborhoods become even more pricey with these tax-payer funded "investments."

Irony doesn't even begin to describe the SFBG's support for these non-profit organizations that are the vanguard of gentrifying practices while constantly decrying how expensive the city has become. Whether it's their naive ignorance or whether it's part of a well-conceived plan to say one thing while supporting the opposite is for others to decide.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 8:28 am

provides a counter-weight to the city's progressive wing, who can claim to be "getting things done" even while their ideology-laden policies drive the city down into the dumps.

And Randy Shaw has turned out to be quite reasonable.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 9:00 am


Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 9:34 pm

KQED does a good job of covering the school board meetings though.

Posted by Greg on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

Short for "Quad Erat Demonstrandum", meaning "which was to be proved".

You're a funny guy, Greg, although not always intentionally.

Posted by anon on Jun. 15, 2013 @ 6:10 am

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

--Upton Sinclair

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 6:10 am
Posted by Blalock uzmc on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 6:19 am

Great article. Unfortunately, it's too late. The Plan Bay Area was effectively finalized a year ago and it's going to be approved on July 18.Kiss your local laws goodbye; ABAG will have the power to supercede local planning authorities.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 6:58 am

As one of the panelists at the event I'd like to respond to some of comments on this blog. But first I'd like to thank the Guardian for its series of articles about displacement and Plan Bay Area and for co-sponsoring the event AND I'd like to thank those who attended. It was truly humbling to speak before so many of my heroes who have been champions for keeping San Francisco such a diverse and democratically engaged city.

For those of you who have posted critical comments on this site, I would hope we can also engage in a less polarizing discussion here and in future forums. I understand it may not make for the kind of sharp punch-counterpunch that are par for most internet chats, But I think this truly is a topic that we can find at least some common ground. The stakes are too high for us stay divided about semantics, old disagreements, or whatever. So let me give it a try on a couple of comments critical of some of the points that I raised at the forum.

First, on the issue of "gentrification" one commenter said this is "another word for our city becoming more pleasant, more cultured, more prosperous..." Let's say this is true (and I would even concede it is at least partially so). But does that mean the city also has to be come less diverse and (more specifically) less African American? My guess is that the commenter would say 'no.'

In my presentation about displacement and gentrification I showed this graph::

The graph shows the dramatic decline of African Americans in SF from 1970 to 2008 and the rise of the population in San Joaquin County which includes the foreclosure devastated City of Stockton). I also mentioned that other studies showed that African Americans were particularly hard hit by evictions from gentrifying neighborhoods in SF and with many moving to poorer outlying suburbs. That is not mere leftist rhetoric or speculation--those are simply the facts.

I believe that most San Franciscans, the critics on this site, and even the fans of some forms of 'gentrification' are not fans of segregation. So can we also agree we need to do a better job of preventing the involuntary displacement of San Franciscans in order to keep our city's famed diversity? (How we do that can be the topic of another debate)

Second, I suggest the cynics about nonprofit organizations should hold their fire regarding the topic of this forum. To be sure, many on the panel and at the forum represented nonprofit organizations, including some (like me) from affordable housing developers. But to clarify, our message at the panel was NOT that the solution for all ills of the regional Plan Bay Area was to fund more nonprofit organizations or affordable housing developers. To the contrary, our collective point was that we need a bigger critique of Plan Bay Area and that the solutions requires a larger movement to bring about the change we need. Indeed, one of my specific criticisms of Plan Bay Area is that it proposes that San Francisco build more housing than is possible -- whether that housing is built by for profit or nonprofit developers.

In past 25 years the city has only build 3000 units of housing in two years. The average is closer to 1600 units a year. Plan Bay Area says we need to AVERAGE 3000 units every year for 30 years.

This plan sets goals we can't meet. It means more traffic. It means higher residential and commercial rents. It means more threats and challenges for the neighborhoods we live, work, and meet in.

The growth proposed by Plan Bay Area isn't just a problem for us left progressive radical people of color who work in nonprofit organizations. It is problem for all of us. So let's start bridging across some of our traditional divides and keeping talking and blogging. We all love this city too much to stop trying.

Gen Fujioka
Chinatown CDC

Posted by Gen on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

trying to do what exactly? Progressive have for the most part been in control of our housing policies since the days when Bruce Brugmann mattered enough to incite a war against high rises...
Where has that gotten us? We're a boutique city with boutique diversity.. after all this time and all the lowering of heights and limiting what can be built what do we have to show for it?
The same usual suspects are playing the same old game - it didnt work then, and it wont work now.

This forum was entirely a reaction to ABAGs projections, and you will never succeed if the best you can do is be a reaction to something

Posted by NOT_Eric_Brooks on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 12:24 pm

I understand the skepticism. Given the scale of the problems, the reforms we win often seem puny. A couple of thoughts:
1. We actually HAVE made a real material difference for thousands of people. One example is our city's controls on converting or demolishing SROs. Before we passed those controls thirty years ago we were losing a 1000 units a year. Since the adoption of those controls (and with vigorous continued advocacy) we still have 18,000 SROs units (roughly a decline of about 2000). I don't think that is a boutique number. And I know some of the seniors and low income folks who live in those units today and I am glad they are still with us. Without those housing policies they would be long gone from the city.
2. I agree we need to move from reacting to being more affirmative. But first we need to understand the nature of the problem and ABAG's projections of our present course unless we change. The forum was intended to sound the alarm. We'll follow up with discussions about our affirmative agenda.

Posted by Gen on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

buildings in the city. The city has tried imposing improvements and DBI mandates but the owners just do not have the money to do them.

So they get sold on a lot and at least two of them have had "mysterious" fires in the last few years.

Hardly a poster child for sound housing policies. And many of the people housed in them would be happier in Oakland.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

Bedbug and cockroach-infested fire traps for people who should have left a long time ago. The Tenderloin could be such a nice neighborhood with its proximity to downtown, good weather and great transportation links - if it weren't for all the denizens of those damn SROs. The sooner those can be converted to lofts and other market rate housing - the better.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

Shout out for Guido and Vinnie.

Posted by Pete on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

Gen, an affirmative agenda would involve doing what Mike Casey suggested and taking stock of failures that have led us to this point because what you all are doing for us is not working. Maybe it is in Chinatown, but not in the Mission, SOMA and TL and D10. Why should San Franciscans trust the nonprofit employees who have a financial interests in the policies on the table and who have been at the table allegedly for us for years now, getting paid to negotiate our city away from us?

You all have lost the economic battle. Only higher income people or those who have access to Tong Societies can move here now. What is left is a dwindling collection of middle class folks barely hanging on--folks who have no place in the nonprofit political cosmos because they are not paid to care about us--and the rapidly disappearing trophy poor. D9 lost 5000 people last census, most of them Latino, most all of them working class. Consequences for advocates? Of course not! Consequences for real folks? Fresno, Stockton, Merced!

With such a narrow base, such economic conflicts and a built in animosity to the middle class, to all of the unpoor by the activist cadre, the sector is reduced to arguing for minor concessions ineffectively from the sidelines.

This is only permitted so long as the nonprofits do their job and exclude the majority of San Franciscans from the political table on these matters. Nonprofits get funded to provide the illusion that government and business gives a shit about the unrich so that people quit bitching. The problems are not solved, but you all get paid to provide the illusion that someone is solving a problem.

On the same night as the SFBG forum, there was a Planning Department forum on the "Central Corridor." You might have heard of one Rose Pak, that non-citizen, non-voter who lives in a BMR unit and has more say in San Francisco politics than the 80,000 residents of The Mission?

Pak had Jane Kim put Cindy Wu on the Planning Commission to make sure that the Central Subway massive upzonings around 4th Street went Rose's way. This, after the ink is barely dry on the Western SOMA community process that rezoned the western portions of the Central Corridor according to community principles and values.

Why anyone want for residents, citizens and voters to be relegated to the world of making plaintive "asks" that get rejected most of the time and granted only when a "practicable" for developers and operators while a non-citizen, non-voter political operator runs the table in a representative democracy? That is not what democracy looks like.

Some commentators moved for a summary divorce between economic/social justice and environmental justice by announcing an intent to resist transit investment to restore the system to what the white people had 30 years ago because that would be racist. Does the CCDC agree with this as applies to the Central Subway? How does the schism between enviro and social/economic justice do anything but play into the interests of those corporate/government interests which fund the nonprofits

The task before San Franciscans facing displacement and gentrification by market rate development is all the more enormous now than it was ten years ago. And most of the people on the panel were paid to make that not happen, yet it has. Was there even anyone who lives in the Mission on the panel?

Tim Redmond was fired for insubordination, for not doing his job as directed. Will we ever see any of the people who got paid to have our interests covered fired for failing at their job, not just once, not just twice, but for the entirety of a decade with the consequences borne exclusively by others?

At the rate that the nonprofit housing community is building units, we can calculate the length of time until our communities are overrun, the length of time until we achieve equity and parity is not calculable. If all you all are doing is getting paid to negotiate our way to loss, then it is time for you all to quit now and just give those salaries of yours directly to "the most vulnerable" whose interests eclipse those of the majority of the unrich in the never ending nonprofit guilt trip.

Prop C was a master stroke of shifting the burden for affordable housing construction from developers to property and taxpaying San Franciscans to cover 1/7 of projected needs from Plan Bay Area. Did I miss the progressive component to that policy?

Every year or so the Guardian and the nonprofiteers hold some sort of community meeting or forum or community congress in response to this or that outrage or whatever that never seems to bear fruit aside from mobilizing people around budget time to demand more funding for these organizations that have failed us politically.

Casey was correct. Until there is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission where parties to progressive failure, nonprofit, labor and individuals can confess their errors and seek redemption from the community, until there are ethical standards where those seeking public or grant funding on an issue cannot participate on behalf of all residents in the advocacy politics surrounding the allocation of those resources, hubris and cooptation signal the death knell of a movement and clear the path for more gentrification, more displacement.

Why should anyone follow the folks who've led us off serial cliffs again this time? What are you all going to do differently this time? Can you all admit that you've not really got a clue as to how to come close to winning this, that you all are just phoning it in?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 15, 2013 @ 7:12 am

I think not. He sees a vacuum.

But we've been here before.

Hey, the city changes and the last thing we need is to design the city with a giant committee of ideologs.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 15, 2013 @ 7:35 am

They are out there taking action and helping some folks.

It's easy to sit and whine on the internet. What else do you do?

Posted by anon on Jun. 15, 2013 @ 8:12 am


I disagree with you about a number of your side allegations but here are a couple points that we can agree on:

1. We agree that Mike Casey from Local 2 made a great presentation at the forum.

2. Nonprofits are not the solution to everything. Indeed, my main point on the panel was that the proposed growth strategy proposed by Plan Bay Area will create displacement pressures that will be impossible to mitigate or correct (whether by nonprofits or anyone else).

That is why we need a better plan and more San Franciscans should be involved in making it better.


Posted by gen on Jun. 15, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

Why is displacement even considered a problem, given that a city like SF has always seen lots of arrivals and departures. Change is structural here and should not be seen as a problem.

And why is the racial mix that we just happened to have at some point in time somehow the "correct" mix, such that any other mix is "wrong"? In fact, SF has a lower percent of whites now than 30 years ago, because of the large number of Hispanics and Asians who have arrived.

Great cities grow organically and even chaotically. Overplanned cities are antiseptci, like Ottawa, Canberra, Brasilia. What we really need is a lighter touch, and not architecture by committee.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 15, 2013 @ 1:50 pm


What do the nonprofits plan to do differently now than when the Eastern Neighborhoods plan was approved with the support of the nonprofits and the stage was set for gentrification?

Was anyone on the panel who did not work at a nonprofit?

Was anyone on the panel who lives in the Mission?


Posted by Guest on Jun. 15, 2013 @ 8:19 pm

It typically means better-kept homes, lower crime and safer streets, upmarket fresh food stores, more bicycle infrastructure, new, cleaner businesses and a more diverse populace (note: a neighbourhood with only poor people isn't "diverse" - it's the exact opposite)

I've been in the Mission for nearly twenty years and it is a far nicer, better, safer and more prosperous place now than it was in 1993.

Whatever we are currently doing is working, and we should do more of it, whether it is the non-profits doing it, or others.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 16, 2013 @ 9:00 am

Hey Gen, where is the "free-wheeling, wide-ranging discussion" that we were supposed to be having on this latest venture into the realm of contesting displacement? Did the grant not fund that?

Posted by marcos on Jun. 18, 2013 @ 7:09 am

But some people will always want to move here, and some people will always want to leave.

Trying to achieve zero turnover doesn't seem like a very dynamic or constructive objective, and it's certainly not feasible.

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