Monday, April 28, 2008

SF's affordable housing shell game

You don't have to take my word for the notion that San Francisco plays a duplicitous shell game on affordable housing, which I wrote about last month:

In last Sunday's Chronicle, toward the end of Carol Lloyd's longish article on "inclusionary zoning" and affordable housing in the Bay Area, the shell game of so-called affordable housing in San Francisco is succinctly delineated:

According to Doug Shumacher at the Mayor's Office of Housing, San Francisco has attempted to build flexibility into inclusionary housing regulations and even be responsive to developers' complaints. "We offer alternative ways of complying (on-site, off-site and in-lieu fees) so that the developer can figure out what's best for them and the site," he said. Recently the city began discussing an alternative formula to the affordable housing percentage for developers who are attempting to create so-called workforce housing---homes for moderate-income buyers---not (as is the city norm) luxury product.

Not only does a developer not have to build any "affordable" housing on the actual site of the project; he can avoid building any such housing at all by making a payment to the Mayor's Office of Housing. Next time you hear Chris Daly, Aaron Peskin, Ross Mirkarimi or some other demagogue brag about some great victory for affordable housing in SF, you need to ask, Will it be built on-site, off-site, or will the developer simply pay off the Mayor's Office of Housing?


Progressive "artists" busted

From: Christine Falvey
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2008
Subject: SF Public Works Crew Nabs Graffiti Vandals

For Immediate Release
Contact: Christine Falvey
Tel: (415) 554-6931
Cell: (415) 713-2181


Two men were arrested this morning after allegedly spray-painting graffiti on Stockton Street storefronts and inside the Stockton Street Tunnel. Two workers from the Department of Public Works' (DPW) graffiti abatement crew called police at 4:00 a.m. after witnessing two men spray-painting on Stockton Street storefronts and witnessed fresh graffiti tags inside the tunnel. Two officers responded and took two men from Sacramento and Oakland into custody after the public works crew identified them.

"By observing a criminal act in progress, our crews responded immediately by providing critical information so that law enforcement can take action," said Mohammed Nuru, Deputy Director of Operations for DPW. "We encourage the public to provide information that can lead to such arrests. Together, we can make San Francisco graffiti-free," he added.

Mayor Gavin Newsom and District Attorney Kamala Harris recently kicked off a new Graffiti Rewards Fund that provides $250 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of graffiti vandals. Graffiti Rewards Fund claim forms are available at or by calling 311.

In 2007, police made 238 graffiti arrests, an increase from the 139 arrests made the previous year and DPW crews are working seven days a week to remove graffiti from San Francisco's streets and sidewalks. A 2000-2001 Civil Grand Jury report estimated the total cost to the City of graffiti damages and removal at $22 million per year without considering the costs borne by private property owners. In this case, DPW and the Police Department documented the damage to support the case and to provide a cost of the damage to ensure the vandals pay restitution.

DPW also provides free paint and supplies to volunteers who want to help abate graffiti on public property in their neighborhoods.

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