The housing debate dominated Campos and Haney’s Assembly race. New reports reveal their background

Anurupa Ganguly loved living in Brooklyn. She loved its diversity, restaurants, culture and walkability. When she felt drawn back to her home state of California, she focused on San Francisco’s Mission District as a similar neighborhood.

It was similar – except for the accommodation options. In New York, she had moved several times, often finding a new unit the very weekend she had started looking. At the Mission, vacancies were incredibly rare – and expensive.

But she and her husband managed to rent a tiny one-bedroom apartment at 1188 Valencia St. in February 2021 for $3,900 a month plus $400 for utilities and a storage unit. Like many San Franciscans, they are now addicted. Unlike many San Franciscans, they plan to stay when they have children.

“We really fell in love with our home here and the community here and the work we do here,” said Ganguly, 36.

Ganguly’s new life, however, would not be possible had then-supervisor David Campos returned in 2015, as his home would likely not exist.

The building with around 50 residences, including six units below market price, is home to a diverse mix of people, including many families living in larger units with children. But development would have been significantly delayed, had it been built at all, if Campos’ proposed 18-month halt to construction of market-priced housing in the Mission – with an option to extend it to 30 months – had been passed at the council or the ballot box. Even Campos himself now acknowledges that the moratorium was not a good idea.

It is a central point made in a new report examining Campos’ housing file – and another looking at his opponent’s record in the State Assembly, Supervisor Matt Haney – by an associate professor of political science at UC Berkeley and confessed YIMBY who wants to see more housing built across the city. And who, for the record, votes for Haney.

A UC Berkeley professor’s deep dive compares the housing track records of Assemblyman candidates David Campos, left, and Matt Haney.

Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle; Felix Uribe / Special for The Chronicle

David Broockman, working in his spare time, took on the mind-numbing task of drafting planning documents, watching government meetings and filing public records requests to analyze the housing records of San Francisco leaders, one by one. (You may recall his first report on Supervisor Dean Preston, whom he called “the worst offender” when it came to stopping housing on a board with multiple title contenders.)

Broockman plans deeper dives into the housing track records of supervisors who will be re-elected in November.

As the Assembly race nears its April 19 finish line, housing — or lack thereof in San Francisco — has become a priority. It’s clear that the city and state, both struggling with a severe housing shortage and affordability crisis, need more housing for people at all income levels. It’s also clear that the Board of Supervisors hasn’t done enough to approve these units, and that the city is making it far too difficult and expensive to build the units that manage to get approved.

Clearly, our housing crisis is not the fault of any elected official, but emanates from an overall desire by too many residents and their leaders to freeze parts of San Francisco in amber, to pretend that fundamental laws of supply and demand do not exist, and continue to see the value of their own home skyrocket.

Yet it is crucial to examine the background of each leader and hold them to account.

As Broockman explained, “For any individual project, there are often excuses that seem reasonable, but it’s only by zooming out that you get a sense of the overall pattern.”

Campos was the supervisor of District Nine, which includes the Mission, the Portola and Bernal Heights, from late 2008 to early 2017. Broockman calculates that Campos got a paltry average of 157 residences built in the Mission per year, of which only 32 were housing subsidized. . It was less than one a week despite repeatedly speaking about the need for buildings with 100% affordable housing.

Admittedly, Brookman is not a neutral political observer here, and Campos called his report “poorly done, biased and narrow in scope.” He argued that this sidesteps his goal of keeping people in their homes, taking measures such as banning no-fault evictions of teachers and families during the school year and regulating Airbnb to prevent homes from become short-term vacation rentals.

But to truly tackle our housing crisis, officials need to focus on both protecting tenants and building more housing at all levels. Broockman argues that the second part is where Campos fell on the job.

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