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San Francisco officials believe Prop A will be crucial for meeting state-mandated housing goals

San Francisco leaders believe Prop A will be crucial to meeting housing goals
San Francisco leaders believe Prop A will be crucial to meeting housing goals 03:35

Mayor London Breed believes Prop A is a key piece of the puzzle to getting San Francisco the thousands of housing units it needs in the coming years, but there is strong opposition to it.

As is the case in many cities, San Francisco is in need of more housing, and it's under a state mandate to build 82,000 units over the next years, with more than half of them being classified as affordable units.

"Proposition A is an extremely important opportunity for us to have more dollars coming into the affordable housing department in order to not only build new, but preservation of existing affordable housing units," she said.

Larry Marso, a longtime San Francisco resident, doesn't think Prop A is the way to remedy the situation.

"This is our plebiscite, to say no and push back to the state mandates to build an outrageous amount of new housing," he said.

If voters pass Prop A, the city would be able to borrow up to $300 million by issuing general obligation bonds, that would be used for the construction, development, acquisition, and rehabilitation of affordable housing. A portion of that, up to $30 million, would be directed to housing for, "extremely low-income, very low-income, and/or lower-income households who need safe and stable housing, are experiencing street violence, domestic violence/abuse, sexual abuse and assault, human trafficking, or other trauma related to homelessness."

"It's not asking for new taxes," Breed said. "It's, as we retire old debt, we want to take on a new opportunity to invest in affordable housing."

Some proponents of Prop A include the United Educators of San Francisco, San Francisco Labor Council, Senior and Disability Action, and the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR). San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin also backs Prop A.

"A lot of this is housing for working people, housing for our first responders, housing for nurses, housing for the people who make this city run," he said. "There are very little federal or state subsidies. We do it all on our own. In order to do that, we have to put our money where our mouth is."

Marso, however, calls Prop A "a bad use of money." He said he is not opposed to general obligation bonds, as they play an important role in developing and maintaining critical infrastructure, however he doesn't think this fits that classification.

"Affordable housing though is not infrastructure. It's something that we have to build by corralling private sector investment," he said. "For San Francisco to build affordable housing, first of all, we need to rebuild the San Francisco economy."

Marso authored the official opposition argument to Prop A in the voter information guide:

"The Mayor and Board of Supervisors have embraced insane state mandates to build 82,000 new San Francisco homes over 5 years. Their plan changes the character of every neighborhood, bulldozes the West Side, and brings poverty, drugs, crime and homelessness to a street corner near you."

Breed's response?

"I 100% completely disagree with that statement because it's making the assumption that all people who unfortunately live in poverty are somehow associated with crime," she said.

In San Francisco, the Area Median Income is $175,000, according to 2023 figures from California's Department of Housing and Community Development. The threshold for low income was $104,000 for a single-person household.

San Francisco is on the hook for around 46,000 affordable units by 2031. Prop A needs to get two-thirds of the vote in order to pass.

"If voters don't pass this, then we're not going to – we're definitely, probably not going to meet that goal," Breed said.

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