London BreedYIMBY Action Questionnaire
1. Do you support YIMBY Action's ballot measure to streamline zoning-compliant affordable and teacher housing in San Francisco?
Yes! We are in a housing crisis and need to be producing more affordable housing at a range of income levels. We should be removing barriers to constructing these desperately needed affordable housing projects to ensure they are not subject to endless appeals and delay, which too often result in these projects becoming more expensive to build, downsized or denied. We’ve already seen some people fighting to stop or make infeasible a 100% affordable housing project at Haight and Stanyan, which will replace a blighted McDonalds. I look forward to supporting this measure in June.
2. Do you support State Senator Scott Wiener's new transit-oriented housing bill, SB 827? Be specific about any amendments you think it needs.
Yes. I passed my own versions of transit-oriented zoning in District 5, with my Neighborhood Commercial Transit District legislation for Divisadero and Fillmore. I took a lot of heat for it and my re-election with my opponent demanding I rescind this legislation. We need to prioritize infill housing that respects rent control and other protections, and serves major transit corridors.
I do want to ensure SB827 has/maintains strong protections for low income communities, rent control, as well as demolition and inclusionary issues. My friend and former colleague Scott Wiener is an unrivaled leader on housing issues and always works hard to accommodate concerns and revisions in his legislation. I am optimistic he and the legislature will get this right. Transit-oriented housing isn’t just good for housing; it’s critical for the environment.
3. How many units of housing do you believe San Francisco should add over the next 10 years? Do you plan to continue Mayor Ed Lee's commitment to add 5,000 units per year?
Mayor Lee didn’t always get the credit he deserves for what he did on the issue of affordable housing. His goal of building 5,000 units of housing per year is the minimum we need to do to address our housing crisis. I would continue this commitment. But we can do more. This number (5,000 units) is only projected to keep the cost of housing from rising further. While it is a crucial component of addressing our housing crisis it alone is not sufficient. We need to build more housing at all income levels, market rate, middle and low income to ensure we have housing opportunities for all San Franciscans.
4. How do you think inclusionary housing percentages should be calculated in San Francisco? Be specific about how you think about the costs and benefits of this policy.
Inclusionary housing requirements are a way of producing new, affordable housing at a time when state funding for affordable housing has been limited and the Trump administration is openly hostile to HUD and providing federal housing support.
Inclusionary housing percentages must be informed by data and analysis which guides us a decision makers. We need to use nexus studies to set inclusionary percentages which maximize the amount of inclusionary housing in new projects while also ensuring those projects are still feasible to build. That is why I worked to ensure our last update to our inclusionary housing ordinance struck this balance and included more middle income housing opportunities. I am also currently working with the Planning Department to conduct a feasibility study for the Divisadero and Fillmore Neighborhood Transit Corridors to identify what inclusionary rate is feasible for these specific neighborhoods. Having a high inclusionary requirement will not result in more affordable housing if the projects which pay for it cannot be built.
5. Do you support market-rate home construction in your district? What do you think the construction of market-rate housing accomplishes?
Yes. Market rate construction increases the housing supply to address the high demand we see today. Most importantly, market rate housing is one of the key ways we pay for affordable and middle-income housing. We must build more housing for all San Franciscans, including market rate housing.
6. If market-rate projects are opposed in your district, how will you interact with developers and project opponents to reach a deal?
As someone who ran against an insider appointee in my first race for Supervisor, I understand the impact that a small, dedicated group of grassroots activists can have. In San Francisco, this is also the case when those activists are trying to prevent new housing from being created. Everyone should get a say in what happens around them – that’s what democracy is all about!
I have a track record of working with neighborhood organizations such as the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association on several housing projects in the Market Octavia Plan ensuring they are being built to plan. If project sponsors are looking for exemptions or allowances beyond what is allowed under the code I think it is important the city and community have an open dialogue with them about what impacts that may cause and how they can be mitigated. But we also need to be mindful when we put laws in place to regulate development and project sponsors meet those requirements we cannot change the rules on them at the end of the process. That makes the housing we need more expensive and challenging to build.
7. Do you support upzoning in San Francisco, particularly on the westside and in single-family-home-only neighborhoods? Where would you push for upzoning, and how?
I co-sponsored HOME-SF, which represents the first upzoning in the westside of San Francisco in recent memory. HOME-SF was passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors, including support from Supervisors who represent the west side. The whole conversation is shifting as we have to realize that this crisis affects us all and in every neighborhood in San Francisco.
As we continue to grow as a city we need more housing along major transit corridors. We should strive to make our neighborhoods vibrant and walkable, with easy access to public transportation. This type of change should be coupled with meaningful investments in our transit infrastructure and alternative modes of transportation so that we have greater equity throughout the city with respect to mobility and housing equity.
8. How would you interact with supervisors who do not want housing in their district?
I’m ready to work with all of my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors to both understand their perspective but be an advocate for more housing in all corners of the city. I have done so, and will continue to do so. HOME-SF was passed unanimously. I, for one, am ready for the “housing wars” to be over. I don’t think I’m alone in that, and I think this election has the potential to mark a turning point in our city’s history and housing narrative. Our elected leaders who are against the creation of new housing are on the wrong side of academic research and evidence, and increasingly they’re on the wrong side of public opinion. We all have to do our part to address our housing shortage, and we need to do a better job to ensure that there’s geographic equity with new development so that areas like SOMA and the Mission are not responsible for building all the new housing in San Francisco. We can do this in a way that still reflects smart planning and neighborhood character.
9. Do you support a by-right process for zoning-compliant housing developments in San Francisco, including market-rate housing? If not, be specific about how you would expedite housing construction in the city.
I’m supportive of the YIMBY Action ballot measure to allow for a by-right process for new affordable and teaching housing, as well as the idea of instituting a similar process for certain market-rate projects which meet policy goals and code requirements.
In the meantime, we need to speed up the planning and approval process for new housing projects, especially the post-permitting process for approved projects. Once a project is approved, the city should do everything it can to expedite the process so projects can break ground and be constructed.
10. How do you think San Francisco can work with the rest of the Bay Area to address regional housing needs?
San Francisco is in the midst of a housing crisis, but we’re not the only ones. The entire Bay Area, and a rapidly increasing number of coastal cities and major urban areas, are feeling the effects of housing underproduction. I’m heartened by the success of a number of statewide housing bills in the last legislative session and as Mayor I would continue to work with our State representatives on their efforts in Sacramento. The state is starting to realize affordable housing is not just an urban city problem its affecting nearly every county.
San Francisco has a responsibility to lead in the Bay Area, and the best way to do this is by example. The decisions we make to block housing affect on the rest of the region, pushing the demand further from our urban core and resulting in more displacement and higher costs across other cities. And if we are to put pressure on other cities that not doing their part, like Brisbane, we need to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to hold up our end of the bargain.