The Chron gets the condo deal wrong

Pub date April 17, 2013
WriterTim Redmond
SectionPolitics Blog

It’s kind of a surprise that the Chron actually likes the (possible) condo conversion deal. That paper typically opposes anything that is good for tenants and supports anything that the landlords like. But it’s annoying that the editorial writers made it sound as if Sups. Scott Wiener and Mark Farrell engineered this whole thing. You need to get beyond the silly paywall to read the full editorial, so I’ll reproduce the key part here:

This week a deal may be struck to end the stalemate. A plan by Supervisors Mark Farrell and Scott Wiener will give owners of tenancies in common the chance to convert under a one-time deal. The yearly lottery will be suspended, the apartment owners will pay from $4,000 to $20,000 each into a subsidized housing fund, and those in the conversion pipeline can go forward. It’s essentially a one-time offer with the lottery system swinging back in place in 10 years.

Actually, Farrell and Wiener weren’t the ones who came up with the proposal that might make this legislation possible. That work was done by tenant and housing advocates — Sarah Shortt of the Housing Rights Committee, Ted Gullkicksen of the Tenants Union, Peter Cohen from the Council of Community Housing Organizations, Gen Fujioka of CCDC — and Sups. Norman Yee, Jane Kim, and David Chiu. The landlord group Plan C didn’t make any effort to negotiate anything in good faith, so the tenant and housing people went and put this together on their own.

It was never included in the Wiener/Farrell bill; if anything, it was prepared as a hostile amendment. Realizing that, with Yee on the side of the tenants, there wouldn’t be six votes for their original plan, Wiener and Farrell had no choice but to accept the tenant alternative.

A lot of hard work, and a lot of give-and-take was involved — but the credit for that goes first and foremost to the activists who fought the original Wiener-Farrell proposal. Let’s be fair here.