No on Kim

Why Jane Kim shouldn’t be our next mayor

NEW: I’ve moved my blog. Find this and more at https://www.sbuss.dev/post/no-on-kim/

I think that the only candidate that deserves your vote is London Breed. She is good on housing and is running a positive campaign based on uniting San Francisco. She is smart, capable, has good policy advisers, and is the only candidate who will work with YIMBYs to build more housing.

Tell your friends: Don’t vote for Jane Kim. I prefer London Breed, but Mark Leno would be a fine alternative. Here’s why Jane Kim will be a disaster for our city:

Jane Kim is a hypocrite

She proposed the Twitter tax break and then used her opposition to tech as a main platform of her campaign.

She has a fundamentally shallow understanding of economics: she wants 50% or more of new units set aside for rent at below-market-rates, guaranteeing that only the very rich and the very poor can afford San Francisco.

She extorts housing developers — it’s the worst-kept secret among home builders: if you go against Kim or endorse her opponents, your building won’t get approved without serious concessions.

She is campaigning on “taking our city back” — back from whom? She regularly demonizes technology workers

Her district is the most unequal, dirty, and unsafe, and has only gotten worse under her watch.

Jane Kim cannot win and further hurt this city.

She’s wrong on housing

Jane Kim is wrong on housing policy and she’s wrong for San Francisco. Jane Kim doesn’t believe that middle class people will ever be able to afford to live in San Francisco without a government subsidy. At a recent meet-the-candidate Q&A with Jane Kim hosted by YIMBY Action, a member asked “Do you think that market rate housing could ever be affordable for the middle class?”

She responded “No […] The only way to make San Francisco more affordable is not by building a lot more market rate housing as possible, it’s by building as much Affordable and middle-income housing as possible.”

This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be middle class, and an utter lack of vision for building an affordable city. Given worldwide trends and the data available, we know that building more market rate units does decrease prices. The best way to address a housing shortage is to build more housing.

You can view her full response on youtube:

Jane Kim proposed Prop C, which crashed our housing production pipeline

San Francisco, since about 2002, had an inclusionary zoning (IZ) requirement of 12%. That means that 12% of the units in a market-rate building must be set aside as subsidized below market rate units. When Jane Kim ran for state Senate, she also introduced Prop C that raised the IZ requirement to 25%, pending analysis by an IZ Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

YIMBY (at that time called SF Bay Area Renters Federation, or SFBARF) campaigned hard against this proposition, predicting that it would cause a crash in new projects because projects would no longer “pencil out” (ie the developer would lose money so wouldn’t build).

Prop C passed in June 2016 and the IZ % was immediately raised to 25%. The TAC then began their work studying what IZ percentage made sense. After six months they reported to the board of supervisors that 18% was the maximum a rental property could afford, and 20% was the max that an owned property could afford.

Jane Kim ignored that advice and set the IZ% at 18%, with a 1% increase per year. Immediately exceeding the maximum recommended by economists. As we predicted, the project pipeline has collapsed:

This effect is even more dramatic if you break the analysis out by building type. There are three classes:

1) 0% Affordable (fewer than 10 units), which actually saw an increase in permit activity:

2) 12% Affordable (10–20 units), the only category of Affordable housing unaffected by Jane Kim’s Prop C, is holding steady with a slight decline:

3)18+% Affordable (more than 20 units), the only class of buildings to be affected by Prop C, which has cratered:

I have asked her about the results of Prop C on two occasions. Both times she avoided answering my question and refused to ask the planning department to study the effect. She knows about the negative impact of her policy and she doesn’t care.

You can do your own analysis and recreate these graphs at https://github.com/sbuss/sf-planning-pipeline/blob/master/New%20Pipeline.ipynb

Jane Kim’s district is a mess and her constituents are angry

Jane Kim included the Westfield Mall in the Tenderloin Police District, sucking resources away from the TL. This is considered a betrayal by her constituents in the Tenderloin.

By every single metric, district six got worse: dirtier, more violent, more encampments, more open air defecation, more open air drug dealing and use, needles everywhere, rampant car break-ins. And all of these things got worse after her re-election:

Not only did every metric get worse, but there are nearly 70,000 unresolved 311 complains from 2015 to 2017.

And you can recreate these graphs at https://github.com/sbuss/sf-311

Jane Kim refused to answer the YIMBY questionnaire

Even if her record on housing and her district was good, she refused to answer the YIMBY questionnaire that every other mayoral candidate, except Richie Greenberg, answered: https://yimbyaction.org/mayorquestionnaires/

YIMBY Neoliberal lead, YIMBY Action Board Member, Software Engineer, A little too obsessed with land use policy