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SF supervisors finally endorse rent control boost

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Fight over whether to exempt houses lingers

Photo by Randy Andy/Shutterstock

On Tuesday the San Francisco Board of Supervisors finally passed a resolution endorsing Proposition 10, the November ballot measure that would eliminate California’s 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act.

SF lawmakers have been wrangling about the issue since July, despite the fact that seemingly all of them say they support Proposition 10.

The resolution’s sponsor, Supervisor Aaron Peskin, apologized Tuesday that it’s come up so many times.

“I want to thank you for your indulgence,” said Peskin at Tuesday’s meeting before pushing fellow lawmakers to go in for Proposition 10.

The board members disagreed over Supervisor Katy Tang’s suggestion that the city promise residents not to potentially place rent control restrictions on single family homes as well as apartments if Prop 10 passes.

Tang, who represents the Sunset, worries that the possibility will roil homeowners, but Peskin argued that it was too early to commit to an exemption without more debate.

“Everything should be on the table in the middle of the housing crisis,” he said at the hearing.

Most of the others agreed, with District Five’s Supervisor Vallie Brown arguing that making a promise ahead of time would “tie the board’s hands.”

“As I sit here, I’m not particularly inclined to think the city should be imposing rent control on single-family homes,” said District Eight Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. But he quickly added, “Whether we take a position on Prop 10 is irrelevant to that” and prompted a vote now without any hedging.

Before the final call, Board President Malia Cohen asked, “Peskin, any last words?”

The board passed the resolution 9-2 without taking up the single-family homes issue, with only Tang and District Two Supervisor Catherine Stefani voting against it.

That’s a reversal from a month ago when Cohen herself and District 11’s Ahsha Safai voted down essentially the same resolution, causing it to fail despite having a majority. (For procedural reasons, the measure needed eight votes to technically pass.)

The San Francisco Examiner reports that Safai in particular took some flak from voters and activists for his earlier vote, some of whom occupied his City Hall office for a few hours in protest.

In a September poll of likely voters, the Public Policy Institute found Prop 10 trailing with only 36 percent of those surveyed in favor of it and 16 percent unsure. Another 42 percent called the outcome of the vote “very important.”

It is just one poll. But so far it’s also the only one.