Despite Mission Moratorium Failure Proponents Fight Gentrification as Developers Keep Building

Supporters of the proposed Mission District Housing Moratorium have vowed to continue the fight against the construction of luxury housing and displacement of longtime residents despite falling short at the polls in Tuesday’s election.

The Committee to Save the Mission, known also as the “Yes on Prop I” group, is continuing their calls for affordable housing and neighborhood stabilization despite a defeat at the polls. Proposition I proposed pausing the construction of market-rate housing in the Mission District for 18 months while requiring the City to work with the community to create a Neighborhood Stabilization Plan.

The Committee to Save the Mission stated that their grassroots campaign was a success in that it united the Mission District “in pursuing affordable housing and rejecting the hyper-gentrifying impacts of luxury development.”

Gabriel Medina, policy manager at the Mission Economic Development Agency and campaign manager for Proposition I, said in a statement released Wednesday, “Last night’s vote shows that despite the outcome, as San Franciscans we have the knowledge and the capacity to lead the planning efforts for our neighborhoods. We will not be ‘sold out’ by the City to luxury developers — we will not allow our families to be displaced.”

Joe Arellano, spokesman for a proposed housing development at 1979 Mission St. and an opponent of the Mission Moratorium, released a statement Wednesday, saying that San Franciscans “sent a clear message that building housing is the answer to the housing crisis.” He said the developer remains committed to the completion of 1979 Mission St. and they are proceeding with the planning process. An advocacy group called the Plaza 16 Coalition was created for the explicit purpose of fighting this proposed development. Arellano said the developer’s proposal goes beyond the city’s affordable housing requirements and provides community benefits that would help invigorate a neighboring school and enhance the BART plaza.

“The community requires a revitalized, vibrant, clean and safe corridor at 16th and Mission,” Arellano said. But Proposition I proponents say developments such as 1979 Mission St. are comprised of too much market-rate housing and not enough housing affordable to the neighborhood’s long-term residents.

AirBnB Plans More Advocacy Organizations in Wake of Prop F Defeat

The failure of a controversial ballot measure that aimed to place stricter regulations on short-term housing rentals in San Francisco has Airbnb claiming victory. Airbnb spent more than $8 million to defeat Proposition F, which would have capped short-term rentals at 75 nights per year, potentially setting a precedent for how other cities handle the emergence of online platforms for short-term residential renting, jeopardizing the tech firm’s revenue.

The Proposition, an effort to stop long-term housing from being taken off the housing market, would also have made it a misdemeanor for Airbnb and other housing rental platforms to unlawfully list a unit as a short-term rental.

Chris Lehane, global head of public policy for Airbnb, and formerly an aide to Bill Clinton and Al Gore, released a statement to Airbnb users in San Francisco following the unofficial election results Tuesday

Lehane said, “Proposition F has been defeated. As a result, home sharing will continue in San Francisco. That means middle class families will continue to be able to pay their bills, and you can still help visitors to our hometown experience this great city like locals.” Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty released a presentation Wednesday regarding how Airbnb defeated Proposition F and what they plan to do next.

The company stated that the Airbnb community in San Francisco is comprised of 6,000 hosts and over 132,400 guests. Members of the Airbnb community apparently called or knocked on the doors of more than 285,000 San Francisco voters leading up to the election.

Now that Proposition F has been defeated, Airbnb doesn’t plan to sit back and relax. In fact, Airbnb released their plans to build further momentum in favor of short-term rentals by helping the Airbnb community create new advocacy organizations. Airbnb said that they would provide “the finest grassroots organizing training, tools and support” as well as provide Airbnb users access to Airbnb staff that will provide support via a hotline.

Airbnb said they aim to help Airbnb users establish 100 clubs around the world over the next year to bolster support for short-term rentals. “We will help them establish these organizations, but clubs will
be independent,” an Airbnb post-election presentation states. Proposition F had less than 45 percent voter approval, according to unofficial election results.

(News Roundup via Bay City News)