Bottom Line: The Lennar Prop M Exemption Initiative is a bad idea. This last minute initiative continues a legacy of broken promises for jobs, housing and parks. There is nothing in Proposition O that makes sure new promises are achieved. Please Vote No on Prop O until there are clear and measurable commitments for jobs, housing and parks promised as far back as 2003.
What is Prop O?
Lennar is proposing major changes to Proposition G passed by voters in 2008 to roll back many prior commitments with their goal to get an exemption for 5 million square feet of new office development in the Hunters Point Shipyard from Proposition M, the annual office space limitation program established by voters in 1986 – a policy needed to achieve jobs and housing growth and guarantee impacts are addressed with new office growth.
Why No on O and Upholding Prop M (1986) is Important for Jobs – Housing Balance?
The tech office boom and the tens of thousands of new employees coming to San Francisco in the last 5 years is evidence the need to uphold the voter mandated goals of Prop M is more critical now than it was 30 years ago to address our transit, housing and city services. Studies indicate that one new worker is created for every 250 s/f of office space. A million s/f of new office space means 4,000 new workers and we need to achieve a jobs and housing balance. With rampant tech growth and its impacts on our last remaining working class communities of color, Prop M’s goals are as, many would say, more important today to:
- Regulate and limit commercial office development because of the extraordinary impact office workers have on transit, housing and city services that were making each less available to existing residents. This also protects PDR and traditional blue collar jobs in SOMA, Mission and Potrero Hill by making sure there is a balanced impact of smaller buildings as well for buildings between 25,000 to 49,999 square feet.
- Second, Prop M established 8 “Priority Policies” (now Section 101 of the Planning Code) which established affordable housing, neighborhood serving retail, industrial and business service as development priorities and called for the protection of existing neighborhoods and communities, landmarks and open space in approving all projects.
- Third, it called upon the Board of Supervisors to create programs to “ensure that the maximum number of San Francisco residents are trained and placed in employment opportunities in our City” and to coordinate these programs with the school district, City College and community based programs to reach that end.
Vote No to O until clear labor agreements and first source housing and jobs plan is in place. Uphold the goals of Prop M to guarantee balanced growth, prioritizing the increase of affordable housing and deliver on the Mayor’s promise of 2,500 First Source Tech jobs, especially for the Black and Latino communities which tech has failed to hire.
How Does Prop O Make Overnight Changes to Years of Work for Prop G (2008)?
The measure would more than double the amount of office space previously authorized for the project by voters in Prop G of June, 2008 (from 2.15 m/s/f to 5 m/s/f). The new Lennar initiative would also remove the location commitments for office development promised in the June 2008 Prop G which limited office space to only 150,000 s/f in the Candlestick Point portion of the project and it would abandon any effort, promised in Prop G, to seek industrial or additional housing development for this additional space allocation.
Vote No to O until there is a real community process to evaluate impacts and approve plans: Prop G (2008) had a long community process to develop a land use plan and clear set of community benefits prior to voter approval. This significant shift in land use has had NO community process and should be delayed until 2018 so that voters can understand the impacts and intended outcomes to achieve real housing, jobs, transit, and environmental commitments.
Why Lennar Should Pay Its Fair Share BEFORE They are Entitled for More Profits?
Lennar was chosen as the master developer of over 750 acres of public land in Candlestick and Hunters Point in 1999 because it had the resources to invest in the community and deliver on the promises of jobs, housing, shipyard cleanup and parks. According to the media, as of July last year, nearly $250 million has been raised for the project, much of this public subsidy. Last year Lennar had a revenue of $9.5 billion, up 22% from the prior year and net earnings of $802.9 million. Despite these earnings, Lennar has only paid out on 16% of the community benefit and impact contributions it owes to the City, SFUSD, and community. A recent city report found that Lennar is out of compliance on many of its community benefit commitments and stopped reporting to the city in September 2013.
NO on O until Lennar makes good on all of its Community Benefit payments: Lennar has made commitments and promises since 2003 that have not been fulfilled. Before this Prop M exemption and massive profits for the developer, the BVHP needs:
- A clear timeline on development on the long delayed affordable housing for nonprofit developers;
- Payment of the over $50 million in delayed community benefit payments;
- A clear and transparent outcome driven “commitment” to employ Bay View Hunters Point residents in the “high quality permanent jobs lost when the Shipyard closed” especially if these jobs are in tech which only has 2% Blacks and 4% Latino’s in its workforce.
- Evaluation and payment of any impacts for increased transit access to the site while adding an additional what is proposed to be as many as 8,000 daily workers to the site.
Prop O claims that this is needed to ensure jobs, housing and parks are created faster: Some have claimed that Lennar’s inability to build office buildings is the reason “jobs envisioned in Prop G have not yet materialized” the Lennar Prop M exemption provides no commitment by the developer to actually proceed to develop any of the new office space at any certain date. This allows Lennar to speculate in future office development, “land banking” its voter mandated entitlement; rather than build anything. Lennar could trade or sell its entitlements at any time it is most profitable.
Prop O impacts on other neighborhoods: Lennar is already years behind meeting its affordable housing commitments and offers no new affordable housing despite studies showing that an office workforce creates new demand for affordable housing. Prop O reduces the overall supply of such housing already committed. It fails to make new commitments for local employment or transit payments for its massive increase in developable space and refuses to set an actual time line on performance in meeting its often promised “benefits” to the community.
Say No to a Last Minute Developer Sponsored Initiative – Help Support a Real Community Process – Vote NO on Prop O this November 8, 2016.