How San Francisco's Progressive Policies Are Hurting the Poor

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    Nov 09, 2014 11:27 PM GMT
    http://reason.com/archives/2014/11/09/how-san-franciscos-progressive-policies

    First, though, it's worth noting the magnitude of the city's inequality, which is problematic not so much because the rich have gotten richer, but because everyone else has gotten poorer. This was determined by a Brookings Institution paper earlier this year which found that between 2007-2012, San Francisco trailed only Atlanta as the nation's most unequal city, with the top 5 percent of households earning average incomes nearly 17 times higher than the bottom 20 percent. During this period, inequality grew far more quickly in San Francisco than in any other U.S. city, with incomes for those top households increasing by nearly $28,000 to $353,576, and incomes for the bottom 20 percent decreasing by over $4,000 down to $21,313. But other brackets were hit also, as incomes declined for the bottom 80 percent of households, meaning those making up to $161,000. The study validated media narratives about how gentrifying San Francisco had become exclusive to the rich at everyone else’s expense.

    A lot of the reason for this shift is because of the tech industry's emergence. Once confined to the southern part of the region, Silicon Valley's imprint expanded across the city throughout the 2000s, and is now a mainstream cultural force. Not only have businesses like Twitter opened offices downtown, but once-working-class areas like the Mission provide housing and start-up space for industry workers, causing an influx of new wealth and neighborhood disruption.

    But the city's progressive tendencies seem only to have worsened this shift, with an over-reaching government that offers inadequate—or plain wrongheaded—solutions to problems.

    This is most evident in the way that it has handled housing. San Francisco now has one of the nation's most expensive markets, with median home prices at $1 million. Numerous explanations have surfaced for what caused the spike, ranging from the area's growing population and wealth, to its land constraints. But the spike can also be explained by regulations that discourage new housing. For example, lots within the city's downtown, where infrastructure is already in place to handle added population, are held to severe height restrictions, and this is even more the case in outlying neighborhoods. The structures that are built endure robust approval processes that can take years, and require millions in lobbying—creating expenses that get passed down onto customers. The developers of the proposed Washington 8 condo project on the downtown waterfront, for example, waited eight years and spent $2 million on campaigning only to have their project rejected.
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    Nov 10, 2014 1:39 PM GMT
    Ya gotta keep 'em poor. I mean who else is going to provide the cheap goods and services the rich have come to expect?
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    Nov 10, 2014 2:20 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidCan't be the fault of the progressive policies. It must be the fault of the Republican (singular) that lives in SFO. icon_wink.gif


    No, can't be that either; I moved from SF to SD several years ago. Probably Bush's fault.
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    Nov 10, 2014 6:06 PM GMT
    More:

    Census: High-cost California tops nation in real poverty
    http://blog.sfgate.com/stew/2014/10/17/census-high-cost-california-tops-nation-in-real-poverty/
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Nov 10, 2014 6:15 PM GMT
    What a load of crap. If the whole country went conservative we'd end up with no middle class at all.
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    Nov 10, 2014 6:34 PM GMT
    HottJoe saidWhat a load of crap. If the whole country went conservative we'd end up with no middle class at all.


    Again, the irony. So do the facts not fit? If not, how? Is this inequality because of policies that are too conservative?
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Nov 10, 2014 6:54 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    HottJoe saidWhat a load of crap. If the whole country went conservative we'd end up with no middle class at all.


    Again, the irony. So do the facts not fit? If not, how? Is this inequality because of policies that are too conservative?

    You're just repackaging trickle down economics to new voters and it's still a doomed plan.
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    Nov 10, 2014 8:43 PM GMT
    HottJoe said
    riddler78 said
    HottJoe saidWhat a load of crap. If the whole country went conservative we'd end up with no middle class at all.


    Again, the irony. So do the facts not fit? If not, how? Is this inequality because of policies that are too conservative?

    You're just repackaging trickle down economics to new voters and it's still a doomed plan.


    Republicans in SF? That's a Joke. Democratics generally run without opposition. SF is run by rich liberals hence the laws are written by rich liberals who have no idea why people are poor. The transient population which is causing the over population pressures are rich kids that live on trust funds or multinationals that see dollars as funny money. The latest new housing in my neighbor was bought instantly but no one lives there. It you look up the titles they are owned by Chinese holding companies or foreign investors.
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    Nov 10, 2014 9:30 PM GMT
    HottJoe said
    riddler78 said
    HottJoe saidWhat a load of crap. If the whole country went conservative we'd end up with no middle class at all.


    Again, the irony. So do the facts not fit? If not, how? Is this inequality because of policies that are too conservative?

    You're just repackaging trickle down economics to new voters and it's still a doomed plan.


    Oh - so you're saying that there's very little inequality in San Francisco because of those liberal policies?
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    Nov 11, 2014 1:24 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    HottJoe said
    riddler78 said
    HottJoe saidWhat a load of crap. If the whole country went conservative we'd end up with no middle class at all.


    Again, the irony. So do the facts not fit? If not, how? Is this inequality because of policies that are too conservative?

    You're just repackaging trickle down economics to new voters and it's still a doomed plan.


    Oh - so you're saying that there's very little inequality in San Francisco because of those liberal policies?



    It's simply supply and demand dynamics . Scarcity of land, SF is between an ocean and a bay ( and some of the bay has already been filled in from a hill removed from where is now the Castro neighborhood) and overpopulation make the limited resources more valuable. Liberal policies of encouraging immigration moves pacific rim super wealth into the area. ( like Van couver in the 90's ) and liberal emphasis on higher education ,UC system and Stanford, attract the young and smart and the wealthy and the soon to be wealthy.
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    Nov 11, 2014 3:05 AM GMT
    riddler78 saidOh - so you're saying that there's very little inequality in San Francisco because of those liberal policies?


    It sounds like you're trying to pin this on liberals. Not the same as a progressive, might I point out.

    For starters, yes, some of these policies are bullshit. As a property owner (not in California), a rent-controlled policy would ensure that I'd bulldoze and then rebuild new. Fuck rent control. If property values go up, my taxes go up.

    Secondly, a discussion about the failure of a public policy isn't an indictment of ALL public policy. Short-sightedness is hardly endemic to ONLY progressive policy.

    Thirdly, a lot of "idea" politics doesn't scale. Issues like managing poverty, left in the hands of local municipalities, is bound to fail. What municipality has the resources--in revenue, or real estate--to address this? Dealing with poverty of this scale has to come from the state level. Or higher.

    As a landlord, I cannot rent to people who cannot afford their contract. I empathize with them--as a liberal--but I cannot undertake this burden myself. The issue of housing the poor has to come from a much larger communal pool (one that I contribute to with property, income & sales taxes).

    Finally, I'm unimpressed with this writer's position. You've posted it as--shall I say--"evidence" of progressive policy failure (thus progressivism is a failure?) from a clearly Free Market Capitalist website. Yes, truly a fair source. There's more to this story, and I daresay you wouldn't have read any critiques or counterpoints on the article. It's an opinion piece. Not journalism.
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    Nov 11, 2014 6:04 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said
    riddler78 saidOh - so you're saying that there's very little inequality in San Francisco because of those liberal policies?


    It sounds like you're trying to pin this on liberals. Not the same as a progressive, might I point out.

    For starters, yes, some of these policies are bullshit. As a property owner (not in California), a rent-controlled policy would ensure that I'd bulldoze and then rebuild new. Fuck rent control. If property values go up, my taxes go up.

    Secondly, a discussion about the failure of a public policy isn't an indictment of ALL public policy. Short-sightedness is hardly endemic to ONLY progressive policy.

    Thirdly, a lot of "idea" politics doesn't scale. Issues like managing poverty, left in the hands of local municipalities, is bound to fail. What municipality has the resources--in revenue, or real estate--to address this? Dealing with poverty of this scale has to come from the state level. Or higher.

    As a landlord, I cannot rent to people who cannot afford their contract. I empathize with them--as a liberal--but I cannot undertake this burden myself. The issue of housing the poor has to come from a much larger communal pool (one that I contribute to with property, income & sales taxes).

    Finally, I'm unimpressed with this writer's position. You've posted it as--shall I say--"evidence" of progressive policy failure (thus progressivism is a failure?) from a clearly Free Market Capitalist website. Yes, truly a fair source. There's more to this story, and I daresay you wouldn't have read any critiques or counterpoints on the article. It's an opinion piece. Not journalism.



    Um, rent control in certain places in California is a necessary "burden" for monopolized properties by property owners or mostly the investor. The average income in California matches the nation at $55,000 yearly, but yet a average home price in a decent neighborhood is $450,000-$500,000 for 1,000 sq ft or less. Rent control keeps home prices from escalating out of control. If California did not have rent control, out of 38 million people, who do you think would be able to afford to live here? about 10 million of those 38?, half of those with six figure incomes that rent, the rest wealthiest who could afford an average $1 million home

    You just want to kick everyone out of California who doesn't meet your six figure income requirement?
    Who then will serve your daily Starbucks Latte? icon_rolleyes.gif

    Actually, a rent control policy would ensure you would have a steady income as a property owner, in tight markets with affordability, its a win win for both renter and land lord, CA cities without rent control have a high turnover of renters, many rental units go unoccupied while the rent controlled units are the first to be rented out and almost guaranteed to be filled. Would you rather have continuous rental income and a full building or half filled and renters you turn down who cant afford your space? You lose money when you don't rent your space because you want to hold out for the high dollar, that is just greed but you only hurt your self by holding out.

    Rent control does not mean section 8 housing. I assume you look down upon people with low income to average income, not rent to them to keep the 'riff raff' out of your properties, well then your properties must be empty, dust collecting, sitting shells
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    Nov 11, 2014 9:14 AM GMT
    Hm, I'm not so much into SF-politic but I noticed this, the majority of *rich people who live in San francisco are either trust-fund kids, they inherited the money from their family or they live in a very rent-controlled nice apt or they're tech-savvy employers. The majority of jobs in the bay area are very finance and tech-focused. I mean, say if you want to get a job in the music/entertainment field, it's pretty hard to get. There are ton of start up companies in SoMa/Downtown and Silicon valley (tech geeks heaven). I went house-hunting with my ex a little bit when I was living up there. What blew my mind was you have a Cute Victorian Condo about 1000 Sq in the heart of the Castro on NOE St (1 bed/1 bath) with no parking and it costs about $900,000-$1 mil. Jesus, no wonder only the older retired bears rich guys live there. You live in SF to get the feel of the SF-City, no wonder so many people come and leave, such a transient city. The poor in SF live in the Mission area, just watch that Woody Allen movie's Blue Jasmine.
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    Nov 11, 2014 11:14 PM GMT
    mickeytopogigio said
    riddler78 saidOh - so you're saying that there's very little inequality in San Francisco because of those liberal policies?


    It sounds like you're trying to pin this on liberals. Not the same as a progressive, might I point out.

    For starters, yes, some of these policies are bullshit. As a property owner (not in California), a rent-controlled policy would ensure that I'd bulldoze and then rebuild new. Fuck rent control. If property values go up, my taxes go up.

    Secondly, a discussion about the failure of a public policy isn't an indictment of ALL public policy. Short-sightedness is hardly endemic to ONLY progressive policy.

    Thirdly, a lot of "idea" politics doesn't scale. Issues like managing poverty, left in the hands of local municipalities, is bound to fail. What municipality has the resources--in revenue, or real estate--to address this? Dealing with poverty of this scale has to come from the state level. Or higher.

    As a landlord, I cannot rent to people who cannot afford their contract. I empathize with them--as a liberal--but I cannot undertake this burden myself. The issue of housing the poor has to come from a much larger communal pool (one that I contribute to with property, income & sales taxes).

    Finally, I'm unimpressed with this writer's position. You've posted it as--shall I say--"evidence" of progressive policy failure (thus progressivism is a failure?) from a clearly Free Market Capitalist website. Yes, truly a fair source. There's more to this story, and I daresay you wouldn't have read any critiques or counterpoints on the article. It's an opinion piece. Not journalism.


    You seem to be trying to poke holes at strawmen of your own creation. The article doesn't claim that all public policies are bad ones - it is pointing out however that there are a number that have been harmful to the city's poor:
    (1) rent control - making it difficult to find housing
    (2) regulations around making it more difficult to remove unwanted tenants - making it even more difficult to find housing
    (3) high mandated minimum wage - making it difficult for people to find jobs
    (4) expensive bureaucracy - including unionized monopoly and absurdly generous pensions - increasing taxes and fares
    (5) zoning restrictions - reducing availability of space to companies to create jobs

    And it's curious you're against rent control just because you own property. Where precisely would this communal pool of resources find said housing? If they don't restrict you, who would you rather they restrict in terms of building or renting?
  • roadbikeRob

    Posts: 14388

    Nov 12, 2014 1:10 AM GMT
    scruffLA said
    mickeytopogigio said
    riddler78 saidOh - so you're saying that there's very little inequality in San Francisco because of those liberal policies?


    It sounds like you're trying to pin this on liberals. Not the same as a progressive, might I point out.

    For starters, yes, some of these policies are bullshit. As a property owner (not in California), a rent-controlled policy would ensure that I'd bulldoze and then rebuild new. Fuck rent control. If property values go up, my taxes go up.

    Secondly, a discussion about the failure of a public policy isn't an indictment of ALL public policy. Short-sightedness is hardly endemic to ONLY progressive policy.

    Thirdly, a lot of "idea" politics doesn't scale. Issues like managing poverty, left in the hands of local municipalities, is bound to fail. What municipality has the resources--in revenue, or real estate--to address this? Dealing with poverty of this scale has to come from the state level. Or higher.

    As a landlord, I cannot rent to people who cannot afford their contract. I empathize with them--as a liberal--but I cannot undertake this burden myself. The issue of housing the poor has to come from a much larger communal pool (one that I contribute to with property, income & sales taxes).

    Finally, I'm unimpressed with this writer's position. You've posted it as--shall I say--"evidence" of progressive policy failure (thus progressivism is a failure?) from a clearly Free Market Capitalist website. Yes, truly a fair source. There's more to this story, and I daresay you wouldn't have read any critiques or counterpoints on the article. It's an opinion piece. Not journalism.



    Um, rent control in certain places in California is a necessary "burden" for monopolized properties by property owners or mostly the investor. The average income in California matches the nation at $55,000 yearly, but yet a average home price in a decent neighborhood is $450,000-$500,000 for 1,000 sq ft or less. Rent control keeps home prices from escalating out of control. If California did not have rent control, out of 38 million people, who do you think would be able to afford to live here? about 10 million of those 38?, half of those with six figure incomes that rent, the rest wealthiest who could afford an average $1 million home

    You just want to kick everyone out of California who doesn't meet your six figure income requirement?
    Who then will serve your daily Starbucks Latte? icon_rolleyes.gif

    Actually, a rent control policy would ensure you would have a steady income as a property owner, in tight markets with affordability, its a win win for both renter and land lord, CA cities without rent control have a high turnover of renters, many rental units go unoccupied while the rent controlled units are the first to be rented out and almost guaranteed to be filled. Would you rather have continuous rental income and a full building or half filled and renters you turn down who cant afford your space? You lose money when you don't rent your space because you want to hold out for the high dollar, that is just greed but you only hurt your self by holding out.

    Rent control does not mean section 8 housing. I assume you look down upon people with low income to average income, not rent to them to keep the 'riff raff' out of your properties, well then your properties must be empty, dust collecting, sitting shells
    You have just heard a typical Austin, Texas response to a complex problem of affordability and rent control. That is why Austin is such a horribly transient city because of its astronomical rents and little to nothing for people who are working class and poor. Even upper middle class people found Austin to be very expensive. Rapidly rising housing costs were one of the reasons why I left Austin. There was a tremendous demand for just regular apartment units in Austin but the developers and investors instead flooded that city's market with expensive, high end units. But rent control will never happen in arch conservative Texas.