Affordable Housing Summit In San Francisco City Hall, A Great Idea

Epitomizing the feeling and culture of their time period anoints some songs to remain timeless.

San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” is an American pop music song, written by John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and sung by the late legendary  Scott McKenzie.

The song was produced and released in May 1967 by Phillips and Lou Adler, who used it to promote their Monterey International Pop Music Festival held in June of that year.

Here are the opening lyrics:

If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re gonna meet some gentle people there

Today if the song blossomed on to the charts, given Mr. McKenzie’s golden voice, it would still be a big hit but the lyrics would most likely need to change.

Maybe it would go like this:

If you’re going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear attire with a powerful checkbook
If you’re going to San Francisco
You’re gonna meet many wealthy people there.


Tech Entrepreneurs, Real Estate Moguls, Investment Bankers and Financial Champions have long replaced the hippies with flowers in their hair.

Look, don’t despair. They still seem to be very gentle, once they leave the chair behind their desk and order some exotic coffee.

It’s all about the housing market. writer, photo via Puzzle Warehouse

According to as reported on April 5, 2018, “The median price of a single-family home in San Francisco rose to yet another all-time high by quarter in Q1 of 2018, according to a report released Wednesday by Paragon Real Estate economist Patrick Carlisle, this time hitting $1.61 million.

If accurate, this figure means that the price of a San Francisco house has nearly doubled just since 2013 and soared more than 23.8 percent since Q1 of 2017, when Paragon calculated a median of $1.3 million.”

And yet, as reported by the United States Census Bureau as of July 2017, San Francisco’s estimated population was 884,363 people, up from 876,103 the same time the previous year.

Fascinating and intriguing.

Starting in the 1990s, the city of San Francisco, and the surrounding San Francisco Bay Area have faced a serious housing shortage, such that by October 2015, San Francisco had the highest rents of any major US city.

The nearby city of San Jose, had the fourth highest rents, and adjacent Oakland, had the sixth highest.

This does create a ripple effect.

As reported by, “For most Americans 1/3 to 1/2 of their income is dedicated to the roof over their heads; this translates to 15 years of working over your lifetime just to pay for it, and because of it 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.”

Over the period April 2012 to December 2017, the median house price in most counties in the Bay Area nearly doubled. Late San Francisco mayor Ed Lee has called the shortage a “housing crisis”, and news reports have said that addressing the shortage is the mayor’s “top priority”.

Though Mr. Lee has passed, the torch has been passed to the current interim Mayor Mark Farrell to take on this challenge.

He is doing just that very thing. Here is a press release from the Mayor’s office.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Public and private groups assembled during affordable housing summit in City Hall writer, By MFStaff photo credit via wikimedia

Mayor Mark Farrell announced the creation of three public-private working groups that will provide recommendations by July 31 to reduce affordable housing construction costs and increase the number of affordable homes in San Francisco.

“Our teachers, janitors, nurses and other working-class residents cannot wait forever for the City to find ways to build homes quicker and cheaper,” said Mayor Mark Farrell. “I am directing these working groups to find real, actionable solutions to the affordability problems that are causing gridlock in our housing production. We cannot provide affordable homes for our families if we cannot afford to build these homes to begin with.”

Due to a variety of factors, building affordable housing has become increasingly cost-prohibitive in San Francisco. In the last year, the total development cost per affordable housing unit surpassed $750,000 for many buildings – a price far too high to achieve the affordable housing production San Francisco needs.

To address the soaring costs of affordable housing, Mayor Farrell hosted an affordable housing summit at City Hall on Monday, attended by City agencies, contractors and sub-contractors, architects and labor representatives. As a result of the summit, Mayor Farrell created the three working groups, which will present their recommendations for lowering housing costs and speeding up production in July. The groups will have specific areas, with one focusing on regulatory action, one on design action and one on workforce action.

“We’re grateful for the engagement of affordable housing stakeholders in San Francisco in an effort to collaboratively bring construction costs down,” said Kate Hartley, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.  “Every dollar we save will be reinvested into more affordable housing, which is so desperately needed in our communities. This work will also keep work flowing to construction workers, design professionals, and property management staff over the long term.”

“This is a very challenging cost environment for construction in all sectors, and we understand that it feels particularly difficult when looking at affordable housing,” said Kathryn Cahill, Chief Executive Officer of Cahill Contractors LLC. “We need ideas and efforts from all sides to work towards reducing costs in this market. We look forward to the opportunity to brainstorm ideas with stakeholders about how to bring down costs and enable the City to build more units of much needed affordable housing.”

The convening of the three working groups is the latest effort by Mayor Farrell to tackle the ever-growing costs of building housing in San Francisco. Last month, he introduced legislation to streamline City permit processing in an effort to produce more housing faster, following up on an Executive Directive issued by former Mayor Edwin M. Lee in 2017.

Mayor Farrell’s legislation will create consistent public notification requirements with improved clarity, consolidate multiple redundant hearing processes and streamline the approval of housing projects. The legislation will also eliminate the need for multiple hearings for most projects in the Downtown and eastern neighborhoods.

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OPENING PHOTO writer, photo Cabe6403 at English Wikipedia

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