Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tenants Together Statement Regarding San Francisco’s Proposition G

Tenants Together commends the broad coalition of San Franciscans that championed Proposition G, a San Francisco ballot measure to stop displacement at the hands of real estate speculators. Although final figures are not yet available, it appears Prop. G gained 46% of the vote, a major success in the face of a well-funded and deceptive campaign by realtors from across the country.  Backers of the measure vowed to press on with efforts to stop evictions and abusive speculation. 

Proposition G would have been California’s first anti-speculator tax.  This groundbreaking measure proposed a stiff penalty on speculators who flip multi-unit properties.  The idea was to create a disincentive to the predatory style of real estate investing in which speculators buy occupied property, evict all tenants, and then quickly sell the units for profit.  Had Prop. G passed, speculators would have faced a tax as high as 24% when they resold such units.  For details about Proposition G, visit the campaign wesbiste at

Most of the money against Proposition G came from the National Association of Realtors and the California Association of Realtors, who poured over a million dollars into ensuring that they could continue to reap profits from predatory flipping in San Francisco.  The interest of the state and national realtors underscores just how powerful this measure would have been.  Realtors perceived Prop. G as a major threat to their financial interests and feared that a successful anti-speculator tax could be a model for other cities struggling with soaring housing costs and displacement. 

In the face of an extraordinary deluge of national and state real estate dollars that distorted the truth about the initiative, the Prop. G campaign built a broad grassroots coalition of tenants, neighborhood and labor organizations united for reform.  Notably absent were major endorsements against the measure.  Labor unions, tenant groups, neighborhood associations, elected officials, and the San Francisco Democratic party united behind the measure.  Some took no position, including Mayor Edwin Lee, but few outside the real estate industry took an official stand against Prop. G.

Weeks before the election, tenants in San Francisco suffered a devastating blow with the tragic death of Ted Gullicksen, the longtime director of the San Francisco Tenants Union and a key leader of the tenant movement in San Francisco.  With remarkable resilience, the campaign fought on in Ted’s memory.  A memorial service for Gullicksen is planned on Sunday, November 16, 2014, 2 p.m. at Mission High School in San Francisco. 

Following the election results, the Yes on G campaign released a statement thanking supporters and noting: “In the midst of this crisis we found new friends and a rising new generation of leadership who are committed to protecting the diversity and inclusive values of this city we love.”

Tenants Together congratulates our members and member organizations in San Francisco who were part of this remarkable campaign.  Clearly, a growing number of San Franciscans are fed up with rampant real estate speculation, rising housing prices and evictions.  This is a sentiment shared by tenants in other hot real estate markets in California.  Together, we will push back against abusive real estate speculation and preserve affordable housing opportunities for poor and middle class Californians.

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