Sun, 2 Dec 2012, 7:33am PST
Any development in the SF Bay area becomes controversial because the regulatory structure is designed to maximize markups that can get shared out to political campaigns and community organizing. If we had good quality standards (requiring safety and sound design), without maximum quantity restrictions, then the market would quickly create plenty of supply and many jobs along the way. Instead, we have quantity restrictions, with the result that only "upscale" (Realtorspeak for overpriced junk) can get built, and that gets taxed further to pay for "affordable" (below market rate) housing that gets rationed out to politicians' nephews. I can understand the owners want to develop the property to its most valuable use, and the residents want a cheap place to live. Alas neither side proposes to solve the real problem, which is the same restrictions that prevent development are the same restrictions that make housing unaffordable. The owners want their profit without competition from deregulation, and the renters want their space without having to buy anything, so the familiar battle lines are drawn and the game plays out like football: words will be exchanged and intercepted, one side will "win" and the other will lose, and everyone pays.