San Francisco City Councilman
moves family out of San Francisco
by C.W. Nevius
San Francisco Chronicle
Supervisor Chris Daly, the sworn enemy of gentrification in [San Francisco], announced Wednesday that he has bought a house in the suburb of Fairfield and has moved his wife and two children there. The revelation brought out his critics, who highlighted the extreme irony of him falling victim to his own legislative efforts to encourage the building of low-income housing at the expense of middle-class housing.
Daly, who was 28 when he was elected to the board in 2000, has been in the vanguard of far-left politics since he arrived from Maryland in 1993. He has opposed legislation that would encourage tenancy-in-common condominium conversions, which middle-class housing advocates say would allow young families to buy a place in the city, and even called for a three-year moratorium on all condo conversions. In addition, he has shown little interest in attacking the issues of chronic drunkenness and violence in the Tenderloin, the kind of quality-of-life issues that make the city less family friendly.
And now he’s announced that he is moving his family to the suburbs. (Actually, although he says he still lives in his home in San Francisco, tax assessor records indicate that Daly and his wife, Sarah Low, have purchased two homes in Fairfield, one in February and one in April.)
“Here’s a guy who has not only consistently voted against working-class families in San Francisco, he’s introduced legislation that has hurt them,” said fellow Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier, who has taken her fair share of abuse for owning a second home in the Wine Country. “How invested in the city are you when you sit on the board for a few years and then decide you don’t like how the city looks and move your family out?”
Daly would not respond to interview requests, but he has fallen into the pattern of thousands who have come before him. Idealistic, well-educated young people move into town, rent an apartment and become champions of social causes. After five years or so, when they discover that they might like to own a home, raise kids or live in a place where they don’t have to step over a homeless camper on their doorstep on the way to work, they realize they will have to move out of town.
“The reason is that you have this largely transient population who come here with their college ideals and want to enact ideological change,” said David Latterman, a local political consultant and analyst.
“It’s an anti-middle-class agenda,” he said of Daly’s legislative history in favor of building low-income units. “It is really about using a portion of the renters in San Francisco as political capital.”
Latterman’s point is backed up by some simple math. The 2000 census says that two-thirds of housing units in San Francisco are renter-occupied. But the majority of new rental units are for low-income or very-low-income households. Between 1999 and 2006, a Planning Commission report says, there were more than 4,000 units built for low-income families earning less than $48,000 a year, but only 725 for families of four earning between $75,000 and $113,000.
“We maintain that middle-income housing is underserved in San Francisco,” said Tim Colen, executive director of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition. “It is inconceivable, for example, that we could have a healthy, functioning school system without a solid middle-class presence.”
But young families get fed up – with either the high prices or the quality-of-life hassles – and move out. Meanwhile, the demographic that is encouraged is the low-income tenant.
“Why is it so damn difficult for a middle-class family to make it in San Francisco?” asked Latterman. “Because it is so expensive? How come there are so many low-income people, then?”
And now, after years of discouraging middle-income housing, Daly is caught in the same bind.
“I think that Chris did try to buy a place in San Francisco,” said Randy Shaw, executive director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. “But it is just too expensive.”
Maybe Daly should have thought of that when he was making it difficult for young couples with two kids to own a home in San Francisco.
Filed under: BS elsewhere Tagged: | Chris Daly, enemy of gentrification, Forster-Gill, general plan update, hoist with his own petard, low-income city, next Santa Rosa, San Francisco without all the gay, scare junkies, slums are so cool, Suckville, well meaning dumbfuck