SF Chronicle Backs Real Estate Speculators

by Peter Cohen on October 27, 2014

Labor Leader Mike Casey, joined by Planning Commission President Cindy Wu, CCDC's Rev. Norman Fong, and tenants

Wow, the San Francisco Chronicle is really showing its colors with escalating rhetoric about the City’s gentrification and displacement crisis.

First, the editors took a position opposing Proposition G — the anti-speculation tax—with the rationale that it “could have the unintended effect of aggravating the housing shortage” while Prop G is in fact about stopping housing “flipping” and tenant evictions, not increasing housing supply.  Simultaneously the editors took a position opposing Proposition K — the affordable housing goals — which is about increasing housing supply and affordability.

That’s a strange contradiction to the Chronicle’s supply-side rationale in opposing Prop G.  Hmmm.

Then last week the Chronicle opined there is no evictions crisis in San Francisco, since 2,000 evictions in 12 months (about 5,000 evicted residents) is not enough to be considered a “crisis.”  The editors paired that with a manifesto about the “City on the Edge” which essentially said that gentrification and evictions are simply “side effects of prosperity” and that “the city shouldn’t fear the success it’s encountering.”

In other words, a few thousand displaced residents is acceptable collateral damage from the gains of economic progress.

Like the realtors and other vested business interests opposing Proposition G, the Chronicle has taken the position that denying there is a crisis of gentrification and displacement and unaffordability is easier than actually trying to do something about it.

Finally, in an opinion piece two days ago the editors took it up one more notch, with a statement that Proposition G is a “landlord shakedown measure.”  The one upshot is the Chronicle finally tells the truth that Prop G is aimed at rental property landlords/investors and not about homeowners, as realtors have been attempting to mislead voters.

But for the Chronicle editors to characterize Prop G as a “shakedown” is a stunning defense of real estate speculation.  Wow.





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