Tenant groups rally against Props P, U

Labor, tenant and faith groups rallied at San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church on Wednesday in opposition to ballot measures they said could reduce the amount of affordable housing in The City, especially for residents with the lowest incomes.

Propositions P and U, which have the backing of groups including the San Francisco Association of Realtors, would change the way the city handles bids for affordable housing projects and change the income limits for below market rate units that developers are required to produce to include higher income brackets.

Proposition P would require The City to get at least three bids for all affordable housing projects before proceeding with the project, and to always take the lowest bidder, in the interests of transparency, according to the ballot argument. Proposition U would allow households earning up to 110 percent of the area median income to be eligible for below market rate units.

Opponents said that Proposition P could delay or even block many affordable housing projects, because the city often receives fewer than three bids for the unprofitable projects.

Proposition U, they argued, would retroactively change the affordability requirements on all below-market rate units citywide, increase competition for those units and give property owners an incentive to evict or decline to rent to poorer residents in favor of those with higher incomes.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin said at the rally:

“This is war on poor people, this is war on working people.”

The campaigns for Measures P and U have raised $175,000 each and spent $137,998. The largest single donor to both campaigns is the California Association of Realtors, which gave $125,000 to each measure.