The clock was just 13 minutes shy of midnight on June 2 when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors—after listening to nearly nine hours of emotional public testimony from many distressed Mission residents—voted down the luxury-housing moratorium proposed by District 9 Supervisor David Campos.
The moratorium, which would’ve called for a 45-day halt on the construction of luxury housing in the Mission District, required nine of the 11 supervisor votes, but received only seven.
Campos, along with supervisors London Breed, John Avalos, Malia Cohen, Eric Mar, Jane Kim and Norman Yee, supported the moratorium, while Scott Wiener, Katy Tang, Mark Farrell and Julie Christensen opposed it.
Introduced at the beginning of May, the moratorium was controversial, gaining support from some organizations, like Calle 24 and Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), but strong opposition from others, like Grow SF and San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation (SFBARF).
Those against it argued the measure wouldn’t stop evictions, and would actually cause rent prices to increase at a quicker pace.
District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener had been the most outspoken board member against the moratorium, maintaining that the legislation, had it been approved, would likely become permanent and might expand to other neighborhoods.
The chances of Campos’ legislation being approved seemed slim heading into the June 2 meeting. A week earlier, the proposal failed to gain the support of the San Francisco Democratic Party (DCCC), voting 13-10 against it.
“It’s not going to stop a single eviction. It’s not going to stop people from being displaced,” Wiener said at the May 27 DCCC meeting.
“It was very disappointing,” Campos said of the DCCC’s decision. “But I think it shows the Democratic Party is controlled by real estate interests.”
Why the moratorium?
“Recently there were 18 sites that qualified for affordable housing,” Campos said. “Today, there are actually only 13.”
Those other five sites were taken by luxury housing developers.
Just 7 percent of units currently under construction or approved for construction in the Mission District are affordable.
“By the time the city gets around to buying these properties, they will be gone,” Campos added.
Data from the study Mission Action Plan 2020, conducted by MEDA, showed that over the last 10 years, 3,000 households earning less than $75,000 a year were replaced by 6,000 people earning over $100,000.
“You have to understand how personal this is for so many of us,” Campos said at the June 2 hearing, which was attended by hundreds of community members, who flooded city hall. “In my whole tenure as an elected official—my almost 7 years on the board of supervisors—I have never seen something like what happened here today. I have never seen a community so moved by what’s happening on the ground, that eight hours into a hearing, close to midnight, there are still people lined up to speak. That doesn’t happen just because.”
Before the public comment segment began on June 2, Farrell said he was opposing the moratorium.
“Our housing crisis started quite a while ago,” Farrell said. “To say that in 45 days we’re going to come up with a solution is completely disingenuous. If it was so important today, which it is, we should have started this conversation years ago.”
The meeting was also paused several times by board president Breed due to cheers and jeers of the emotionally-charged crowd.
“Do your job; you’re here because you were elected by us,” said Mission resident Sandra Sandoval, who kneeled in front of the board, imploring them to pass the moratorium.
“You’re … going to go down in history as the board who sold out San Francisco, [but] it’s never too late; you have a chance to change that today.”
Despite the failure of the moratorium, it’s likely voters will have a say on the issue come November.
“I also know that this is not the end, that this is the continuation of a movement,” Campos said. “Because we have started something special in the Mission.”
Alexis Terrazas contributed to this story.