Saturday, July 26, 2008

Coleman Action Fund: questionnaire for Rob Anderson, candidate for District 5 Supervisor

C4 Candidate Questionnaire- Board of Supervisors

Thank you in advance for taking the time to fill out our questionnaire. We ask that you limit your responses to no more than 100 words per question. Thank you!

1. What experience do you have with issues facing children, youth and families in San Francisco? What have you done to improve the lives of low to moderate income families and families of color in San Francisco?
My main contribution to the struggle for an affordable San Francisco is my opposition articulated in District 5 Diary ( to the accelerated gentrification of the city as reflected in the Market/Octavia Plan, the Rincon Hill luxury highrise condos, and UC’s rip-off of the old extension property on lower Haight street for a massive housing project. These awful projects are supported by the city's "progressive" establishment, including Supervisor Mirkarimi.

2. Why do you think families are leaving San Francisco?
Obviously because it’s too expensive, which is why the least we can do is not make the problem worse by supporting the type of housing projects referred to above. Mirkarimi also supports making it as difficult and expensive as possible to drive in San Francisco as per the SF Bicycle Coalition’s anti-car agenda. As a former parent, I know how difficult it would be to take care of a family--especially a large family---without a car. Housing affordability may be the biggest reason families are leaving SF, but deliberately making it difficult and expensive to drive a car in the city is another.

3. The Mayor and a majority of the Board of Supervisors recently pledged to parent and youth members of our affiliate Coleman Advocates to support doubling the City's production of affordable housing, from 1550 to 3100 units in the pipeline, 2011. Will you make that pledge? If so, what steps will you support to carry it out? Do you support this goal? Yes_X_ No___ Why or why not?
Sounds like a reasonable goal to me.

4. Do you support the San Francisco Housing Fund which will be on the November 2008 ballot? Yes __ No__ Why or why not?
Maybe. I'm still thinking about this one. It’s not clear that the city should take on more large, long-term mandates when we already have chronic budget deficits, especially with the SF General measure also on the November ballot.

5. The Mayor’s Office of Housing and affordable housing advocates have identified that the two biggest challenges to building affordable family housing in SF are limited land and limited local sources of financing to pay for affordable housing development. What are some solutions to these challenges that you will fight for and/or support?
I don’t have any solutions. I get the impression that you think you do. Doubling the city’s affordable housing production as per question #3 at least seems affordable and reasonable for openers.

6. In city planning, land use and zoning decisions, will you prioritize sites for the construction of truly affordable housing for working families earning below 100% AMI over the construction of high-end market rate housing for professionals? Please explain.
Maybe. See #5 above.

7. The SF rental and ownership housing market is too expensive for most families, causing an extraordinary housing crisis for two-thirds of all families in the city. What responsibility do you believe the private housing industry has in solving this crisis?
Again, your question suggests that you think you know the answer to this question. Obviously the city can’t force private companies to build anything, but the city makes the rules and it can provide incentives. But how much additional incentive does a developer really need to build in San Francisco?

8. What are your top five city budget priorities?
Why does SF have a budget crisis every time we have a recession? I suspect the main reason is the city's bloated workforce. Progressives and the unions seem to think that city government is primarily a jobs program. There are ten (10) people working full-time in the city's Bicycle Program!

9. How would you improve transparency and public participation in the city budget process?
Is there a “transparency” problem?

10. Will you support continued expansion of the local safety net for children, youth and families (for example: Childcare, Violence Prevention, Famliy Support) beyond the level required by the Children’s Amendment provisions in the city charter? Please explain.
Maybe, but I don’t have enough information to make that commitment. You're pushing your agenda in the question. Nothing wrong with that, but it implies that you know the “right” answer, which may or may not be the case. I’m sure Supervisor Mirkarimi will be willing to provide the exact response you’re soliciting here.

11. Do you support Prop H, which requires the city to allocate $40 million each year to the public schools? Yes_X__ No____

12.How do you plan to strengthen the partnership between the city and SFUSD?
Does it need strengthening? $40 million a year shows that we already have a pretty serious relationship.


"Saving" the Harding---and blocking housing

Photo from Haighteration

The developer's original plan for the Harding Theater on Divisadero was for 18 condominiums, 18 parking places and 5,000 square feet of retail space.

Thanks to David Tornheim and Supervisors Ammiano, Alioto-Pier, Daly, Peskin, and, of course, Mirkarimi---who all signed Tornheim's appeal way back in 2005---the derelict, eyesore former theater was "saved" from being demolished. "Saved" for what, exactly? Just to sit vacant, a blight on the middle of Divisadero, which is what we still have more than three years later. Tornheim evidently did succeed in reducing the number of condos planned from 18 to only 8 (see the agenda item in italics below). And there are still four commercial spaces in the current plan, with 19 off-street parking spaces. (Has Tornheim discussed the parking for cars/aka, death monsters, with the Bicycle Coalition? They would probably endorse his misguided cause if they knew about that.)

Interesting to note that the developer is also going to replace the old theater marquee---like the city forced Amoeba Records on Haight Street to keep the sign from the old bowling alley---and call the development "Harding Place," a great victory for nostalgia, if not for housing in the city.

The original proposal was exactly the kind of infill housing development we should support, not the massive Market/Octavia Plan or UC's proposal to shoehorn 450 housing units into the six-acre extension property on lower Haight Street. We can only hope that the supervisors who supported Tornheim in 2005 have lost patience with this sort of obstructionism and will allow the poor developer to get on with this worthwhile project.

1. 2005.0911E (L. KEINKER: (415) 575-9036)
616 DIVISADERO STREET aka Harding Theater, Lot 002J of Assessor’s Block 1202, L-shaped lot fronting both Divisadero and Hayes Streets---Appeal of Preliminary Negative Declaration. The proposed project is to adaptively reuse the Harding Theater as a mixed-use commercial building, called “The Harding,” divided into at least four tenant spaces, replacement installation of the 1930’s marquee and blade sign, demolition of the theater backstage and, on the undeveloped portion of the lot facing Hayes Street, new construction of a five-story, eight-unit condominium building of approximately 13,700-sf, called “Harding Place,” with up to a total of 19 off-street parking spaces accessed from Hayes Street. This site is located within the NC-2 (Small-scale Neighborhood Commercial) District and 65-A Height and Bulk District.
(Proposed for Continuance to September 25, 2008)

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Community Leadership Alliance: questionnaire for Rob Anderson, candidate for District 5 Supervisor

Dear SF-Supervisor Candidate,

The August 1st deadline for our candidate questionnaires to be completed and sent back is soon approaching, it will be followed by an endorsement meeting of our endorsement advisory committee. At which point we then will publish our endorsements on-line, and send it out to our 1,836 subscribers, SF-DCCC, and on-line web news affiliate (

Folks city wide have come to rely on our endorsements as a voters guide taking a print-out copy with them to the polls. If you have already e-mailed back your completed questionnaire you may disregard this e-mail. For those of you who have not yet sent your completed questionnaire back to us, attached is a copy.

Community Leadership Alliance
"Together we can"

District Supervisor Candidate/s Questionnaire

1.) What are the three most important issues of concern to the voters of your district? How would you address each of these issues?
I can tell you the issues that concern me as a long-time resident of District 5. The most shocking trend since 2000 is how progressives are allowing the Planning Department to accelerate gentrification in the city with projects like the luxury highrise condos on Rincon Hill, the Market/Octavia Plan, and UC’s rip-off of the property on lower Haight Street for a massive housing project. Supervisor Mirkarimi supports all these unwise, destructive projects that provide mostly market-rate housing.

He also supported the city’s illegal attempt to rush the 527-page Bicycle Plan into the city’s General Plan with no environmental review. Mirkarimi supports Critical Mass and whatever else the anti-car Bicycle Coalition wants to do to neighborhood streets.

Finally, like other progressive leaders, Mirkarimi has been silent on the homeless issue, even as Mayor Newsom implements successful programs to deal with this ongoing social emergency on our streets (see my blog for a list of the people who died on city streets in 2007.) The city needs to continue Homeward Bound, supportive housing, and outreach through Project Homeless Connect. The city also needs to begin applying Laura’s Law to the homeless that are a threat to their own safety and the safety of others.

2.) How would each of the issues above affect the voters city wide?
Housing, traffic, and homelessness are clearly of concern to all city residents.

3.) How do you plan on continuously addressing services to seniors and persons with disabilities?
Is there a problem in delivering these services? If so I’d like to hear about it. I am now the fulltime caretaker for my 92-year-old mother, so I have a personal interest in these issues.

4.) Housing is a very serious issue in San Francisco especially for low income working families and those on fixed incomes. What would you do to help solve the issue around housing that these low income working families can afford? We are faced now with the fact that many San Franciscans are “baby boomers” that need to have subsidized housing that is not readily available to them and those in our neighborhoods that are persons with disabilities, so how could you work to aid these fixed income residents in San Francisco?
Those in need of course should get housing subsidies. I can tell you what I won’t do, and that is make the situation worse by supporting large projects that provide mostly market-rate housing for the well-off---Rincon Hill, the Market/Octavia Plan, and the UC/Evans project on lower Haight Street. All of these projects, supported by Supervisor Mirkarimi, required that the city change zoning regulations to encourage developers.