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CA Democrats Reject Plan to Allow More Housing Supply in San Francisco

Progressives will tell you until they're blue in the face that they're all about helping the "oppressed."

However, the progressive citadel of San Francisco is not at all welcoming to the affluent, let alone the "oppressed." Housing prices in the region are ridiculous. A condemned house recently sold for $1.2 million, for crying out loud.

CA State Senator Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco, recently proposed a bill that he felt would address the issue. The bill sought to partially override zoning restrictions on housing density -- such as limits on building height -- in certain areas such as those served by mass transit of some sort. This would allow builders to increase the number of units available for sale or rent, and would reduce housing prices throughout the city.

The Law of Supply and Demand, of course. And a removal of government interference.

Wiener got an awful lot of pushback -- from Democrats, of course. Wiener's own party doesn't like this obvious way of solving the problem.

James Pinkerton at The American Conservative has a theory as to why. Wrote Pinkerton:

Why the fierce opposition? Perhaps it’s because the dominant progressive voices in California are, in fact,  regressive. ... That is, they prefer to protect the privileges of the landed -- who benefit, of course, from high land prices -- as opposed to the aspirations of the landless.

Pinkerton uses the phrase "gentry liberalism":

Gentry liberalism recalls the aristocratic, even feudal, days of yore when the lords in their estates didn’t wish to be crowded by the bourgeoisie, to say nothing of the peasantry.


It’s fair to say that this gentry liberalism -- that is, greenwashed NIMBYism [Not In My Back Yard] -- is the dominant ideology in California. Bolstered by big money from tech gods and trust funders, gentry liberals have simply bought the state’s politics.

If Democrats in California really wanted to help the poor and middle class afford to live in the city -- bringing in the first-generation diversity they claim to support -- they'd have gleefully embraced Wiener's proposal.