Avalos proposes housing bond boost 

Calling for bolder investment in below-market-rate housing production, Supervisor John Avalos announced Tuesday a plan to double the amount of Mayor Ed Lee’s proposed housing bond to $500 million and two tax measures to generate even more revenues.

A progressive supervisor, Avalos said that given the housing needs in San Francisco, a much more aggressive approach needs to be taken by The City than the mayor’s $250 million housing bond slated for the November ballot.

Avalos announced he will propose a $500 million housing bond for the November ballot and two tax measures that he said could generate $10 million to $20 million annually. One tax would be a utility user tax on commercial customers’ use of carbon energy, with an exemption for renewable energy. Another would be a parcel tax on commercial properties.

Avalos said he is targeting commercial real estate with the tax measures because that’s where there’s been the greatest wealth growth. “The economy booms for the wealthy but more significantly dooms the rest of us who are rapidly losing our foothold in this city,” Avalos said. He suggested that with the mayor’s support the voters would approve the measures.

“[The mayor] is using his power to get everyone on board with his cautious measure when he should be using his energy to get a much more impactful measure on the ballot,” Avalos said.

Another crisis discussed was the drought. Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced legislation that would require certain large developments to install recyclable water systems. The systems would reuse gray water (like water from sinks, laundry and rain) and use it for toilet flushing and irrigation.

The legislation would also require a feasibility study for including such systems in developments that exceed 40,000 square feet citywide but stops short of requiring their installation.

Previously, Wiener had proposed another water-conservation effort — the installation of individual water meters per housing unit for new development — but has held off pending the outcome of a similar state bill.

A new law was adopted Tuesday by the board that prohibits tour bus operators from narrating tours as they drive.

“It’s another small step we are taking to reach our Vision Zero goals of zero pedestrian fatalities by 2024,” said Supervisor Norman Yee, who introduced the legislation. The proposal came after a city employee was struck and killed by a tour bus when walking in a crosswalk outside of City Hall.

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