Voters: Stop planning behind closed doors!

San Francisco voters resoundingly told the Planning Department to stop bending the rules and bring the decision-making about waterfront development out of the back rooms and into the open. Nearly 60% of the electorate voted to support Prop B. 

The measure will require voter approval for any new buildings on San Francisco port property that exceeds existing height limits, which were set through an extensive public planning process that voters required when they imposed a moratorium on waterfront development in 1990.

Unlike in the recent 8 Washington pro-growth initiative, which also lost, public officials either lined up behind the measure or, like Mayor Ed Lee, took no stance.

Jon Golinger, former President of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers who managed the Yes on B campaign, found himself on the winning side again. Supporters included former Mayor Art Agnos, former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, and former Supervisor and City Attorney Louise Renne. As in 2000, this will very likely push the Board of Supervisors’ November races to the left.

SPUR, the city Democratic party, Chamber of Commerce, construction unions and real estate interests ended up on the losing side of the development wars in San Francisco again.



Filed under planning

2 responses to “Voters: Stop planning behind closed doors!

  1. Brian Wallace

    I understand people’s frustration with a flawed approvals process, but I didn’t think that Prop. B was the right fix and reluctantly voted “no” on Prop B. Allow me to draw people’s attention to these two pertinent observations from today’s San Francisco Chronicle:

    “Today, San Francisco took another step toward becoming the most expensive city in the country. We fell for a simplistic slogan and effectively shut off thousands of future housing units,” said Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of SPUR.

    “I don’t think an election process is necessarily any more democratic than going through the dirt on the approval process, because the people who are voting on projects may not be educated about them. I don’t know if that’s any better,” said Jasper Rubin, chairman of the urban studies and planning program at San Francisco State University and author of “A Negotiated Landscape,” a history of San Francisco waterfront development.


  2. Jim Meko

    But Metcalf is always wrong. SPUR is usually wrong too. Where did they get this mystique that they know it all?

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