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tv   KQED Newsroom  PBS  November 1, 2013 8:00pm-8:31pm PDT

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next on kqed newsroom. what will san francisco voters decide to do with a prime land overlook the bay? >> it will bring revenue and provide parking. >> job growth is up in the bay area but so are housing costs, who is being priced out and what can be done about it plus billionaire mark, the force behind salealesforce.com. >> so on your first day of work at salesforce.com we show you where the toilet is and kitchen and at noon you go out and do something for the city of san francis francisco.
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good evening and welcome to kqed newsroom. i'm thuy vu. they will decide the controversial case of the waterfront development. if propositions b and c are approved, 134 units of luxury condos will be built there along with space for small businesses, a public park and other ameniti amenities. scott shafer looks why a development on a small parcel of land 8 washington street is sparking such a big debate. >> reporter: there is would be things all sides on this debate agree on, this part of land is hardly inviting. a fitness club surrounded by a large fence and asphalt parking lot but what should we place it? voters answer to that question tuesday could shape the course of waterfront development for years to come. project supporter tim sees two
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options with an easy choice. >> one is to keep what we have that generates about $100,000 a year for the city versus a wonderful project that builds housing, it builds a large amount of new public open space that doesn't exist now. >> reporter: one of the most contentious issues is the height. after years of public meetings and approval by the san francisco port, planning commission and supervisors, developers got permission to build structures 134 feet in the air 12 stories up. san francisco mayor is a leader of the project. >> well, i think this project is the first brick in what appears to be a new wall made of steel and glass. >> reporter: as mayor, he led the charge to demolish the freeway and open up the waterfront. he sees the proposed develop met
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as a giant step backwards. >> it was a concrete monster half the size of what this building is proposed to be, and it creates a president on the waterfront, a new president of busting through height limits and bulk limits and threatens the waterfront accessibility for all of season fran. >> reporter: speaking for the props b and c campaigns, tom says the design of 8 washington fits the surrounding buildings, including the 22-story golden gateway apartments next door. it's time colin says to put the president of land to better use. >> when the freeway came down, that gave us a once in a generation opportunity to use waterfront land in better more imaginative ways so when folks say we got to preserve the precious waterfront, i'm not exactly sure what city they are
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talking about because the labd is so valuable, we pork oark ous on it. >> reporter: the former major agnos says they are driving the policies with little interest in building housing the average san francisco person can buy. >> i think that this project is the canary in the mine. i think that if this project goes forward as planned for millionaire housing at $5 million average a condo, it is the death now of middle class and affordable causing in this city because it sets a president, not only on the waterfront but elsewhere in the city where desirable lots exist for rich people's housing. >> reporter: this battle comes in the mist of a building boom that is driving housing prices up and out of reach for many. for that reason, this project is taken on greater meaning says university of san francisco political science professor
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corey cook. >> on the one hand it's a small issue on a small plot of land but it's really emerging a bigger more complex question about the economic growth in the city and future of housing in the sit the. >> reporter: adding to the intensity of the debate cook adds is location. a san francisco waterfront many see as the city's backyard. >> the waterfront is the jell of the city and a lot of people view this as a neighborhood. >> reporter: opponents put property c on the ballot as a referendum and supporters responded with their own ballot measure prop b. turn out is likely to be low but san francisco people we talked to seem to be paying attention. judith would like to see a different development there. >> more affordable. >> i think it's a smart development for the city and help bring in revenue and it will provide parking.
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>> reporter: if either prop b or c pass, the project moves forward. if they both fail, city planners will go back to the drawing board. >> and those themes being played out in san francisco hit home in many bay area cities. the struggling with high housing costs and the crisis that presents. we held a series of town hall meetings this fall called open newsroom and heard similar worries in every county from santa clara to moran. >> we go and look at rentalsoth families looking. i'm applying and it's two months to two years long. >> what we're very deeply concerned about is just where are these seniors, us? where will we go? can we remain in silicon valley? >> tonight a deeper look in what it means to be priced out, the impact on communities and possible solutions. for analysis we're joined by
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carlos romero, linda mandilinni and caroline slieed. caroline, let's begin with you, for a quick overview of housing costs, how dramatic is the rise in rent and home prices? >> dramatic on both counts. double digits up by 20% year over year. housing turned around on a dime after the downturn and rising, rising, rising and the immediate housing price in the bay area is over 500,000 to buy. the median price to rent is over $3,000 a month in san francisco and $2,000 a month in san jose and oakland, huge. so housing -- for sale housing will moderate. there is several things happening, rising interest rates and coming on the market as prices rise and more people sitting on the sidelines are putting homes on the market.
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it leveling off at over 500,000 for the hope area and over 800,000 in silicon valley. it will level off at a high level. >> carlos, you're a consultant and worked with developers and governments on housing policy issues. is there an end in sight? >> well, again, it's a segmented market. so the market is producing housing for the higher end. it is middle income and lower income folks that are really priced down. and, you know, i think what we need to do is look at strategies that both locally regionally and statewide provided a digs l subsidy and i think we just heard the testimony in one of your pieces about afobdbility. >> when we say affordable housing there is subsidized, government subsidized housing
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for very low income families and the more general issue of affordability to the rest of us. can we afford to buy a home in the bay area even with middle incomes? >> yeah, i think it ranges on both ends, right? for the subsidized housing that typically includes people that make between $12,000 and $60,000 a year and rent is from $1200 a month to $1500 a month but not to the $3,000 price tag. it's hard for those families to rent at $3,000 but to buy a house when the median price is $500,000 plus, you need substantial income and $50,000 for a down payment at a minimum. it a challenge to get into the housing market and if you think about it, how do you buy a house? you live in an affordable apartment and save up enough money to save for the down payment to buy the house. if you can't afford to rent, you can't save for the down payment.
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you're stuck. >> like a catch 22. you work with families every day. you run and manage affordable housing. what kind of impact is this having on families economically and also health wise? there is health effects? >> we have 15,000 people on the waiting list. >> 15,000. >> they are a challenge. everybody was talking about two years to move up into a home. it's a huge challenge for folks just to get into affordable housing right now and when you look at the impacts on family whose have kids living in substandard housing if they have mold, or living a dangerous neighborhood. there is huge health challenges for children there is a doctor at boston university that study the the impacts of housing on children and likes to say it's a vaccine. you give a child safe, affordable home you give them future success, health and education. they have a stable place, healthy and have an opportunity to do homework so they can go to school every day. >> that sounds good. how do we achieve a solution
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here? are the impediments to the solution and how do we move beyond that? >> money, money, money. i'm sure linda and carlos can talk about this quite a bit but affordable housing subsidies from the state of california are basically have evaporated are the loss of redevelopment. a huge part of money came from redevelopment and other money passed by voters in 2008 is almost gone. so they desperately need a new source of revenue. you know, there is some federal money but that's not going to be enough, and i think they will probably both be the ones to talk about the home and jobs act which could create that for them. >> mark has introduced legislation. >> the california homes and jobs act is a terrific piece of legislation that would generate between 3 and $500 million a year to create affordable housing. >> how would it do that? >> it's a document recording fee so when you refinance your house you pay a $75 fee on the
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refinancing and that would put into a pool invested into a pool of affordable apartments and homes and down payment assistance for people wanting to buy their first house and subsidies so folks like eden who need to build new housing for local families to rent could use that subsidy to build in housing. >> i ima' imagine there is a pu back from realtors. >> they don't want any more fees on the recording of real estate transactions. we actually think there is a lot of folks that do support it. business groups all over the state from silicon valley leadership group to orange county business counsel are in favor of this because affordable housing matters to job growth. you can't just employ engineer whose make $300,000 a year in your company. you have to employ folks at lower levels and they need to live closer to their jobs. >> that's where local coalition building comes in. at the county level you can do
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document fees and transfer taxes and you can get labor together with the affordable housing folks, people interested in parks and open space and come up with a coalition of folks to put a measure, you know, on -- in your county that might be a transfer tax that could be divided up among the various uses. i think those local coalitions can be strong in passing getting you to the 66% threshold. >> it is a dilemma, though, right, because we need growth. we need developments for jobs, for economic stimulation but then there are always those sectors that have opposition because of environmental concerns, how do you -- how do you compromise and move beyond all that? is it purely a policy issue? >> well, a lot is policy driven by san francisco is trying a few creative things that might be able to be replicated elsewhere. one is a pirates project to
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legalize inlaw units. they are existing units so many places in san francisco have a basement or backyard garage converted into an apartment. they are there and if they were legalized, they could be a better souse of housing for people that can't afford as much and now we're talking market rate housing. another thing is san francisco's experiment on micro units. they can build them more cheaply and rent more cheaply. not everybody wants to live in something the size ocf a shoe bx but people are willing to make that trade off to be closer to the jobs and maybe they would move out of a flat they were sharing with roommates and that flat would be available for a family to rent there are -- these are slightly policy driven but a combination of policy and development hand and hand. >> and there is a larger vision planned in the bay area and developed by the association of bay area government and metro politician transportation to come up with housing solutions and planned out through 2040 but
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even that now is facing multiple lawsuits but groups that complain it violates regulations. >> it is 62% of the housing development with 15 cities. an intersection with transportation and land use is right so you can go a little higher so that indeed you don't do the sprawl. many of us live in the bay area because it's a beautiful place to live and create kind of sustainable green scrapes around us and if we want to keep that quality of life we have to rethink the way we build the future and we have to continue to move forward to implement it. it has flaws. people may get this place and we have to figure out how to fix that and some people may not want taller buildings and it's a trey off for quality of life issue. >> certainly interesting, a complex issue. i wish we had much more time to debate it but have to leave it
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there. for now we have to wrap it up but kkqed will continue. still ahead a glimpse of stories we're working on but marc benioff of salesforce.com. >> one reason for san francisco's booming economy is companies like salesforce.com a leading maker of products and growth has been explosive. marc benioff is a local boy made good. he earned a fortune and feels an obligation to give back. in fact, he made corporate part of the business plan. they donated $3 million to san francisco's middle schools for
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teacher training, wireless access and ipad s for students. in 2010 he donated $120 million to the children's hospital. scott shafer has our interview. >> reporter: marc benioff welcome to kqed newsroom. >> glad to be here. >> you're a fourth generation, born in the mid 60s. a lot going on then. how did that impact you and the way you look at the world? >> well, i love the bay area and san francisco. i feel like we live in a nirvana here and we look at the amazing people and on top of that unbelievable invasion that comes out of these universities and communities and draws so many interesting people from all over the world. >> what about you as a kid or even as a young man? is there something -- was there something that it clicked for you that really made you the person you are today in terms of the way you look at the world of business and the world of
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corporate responsibility? >> what i was really influenced by was my own family and their contributions that they were making here in the bay area -- >> your dad was a member -- grandfather was a member of the board on supervisors. >> my grandfather was a supervisor and very active in the city of san francisco and came with the bay area rapid transit part of the legacy and my whole family is committed to giving back and i think that, of course, impacts you when you're a kid that you are thinking, okay, yes i'm going to be successful and yes, make, money and create a company but how will i make the world a better place? these things have to work together. >> how do you create that corporate culture because not all silicon valley and high tech co company haves that. >> i attended this conference by colin powell, he said get out there and do something for everybody else and use your relationships, technology and money and make the world better,
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just don't reap the harvest here and around the world and i took that back and said, when i start my own company, i'm going to take 1% of equity, 1% of profit and 1% of employee's time and put it into a 501 c 3 charity. that was easy because we had no profit, equity and time. >> now you got to put up. you were with oracle in '97 and there was that desire but it wasn't part of the corporate culture. >> that's insightful. when we started the sales force we said we would integrate it. so on the first day you come in and see the kitchen and toilet and at noon you go and do something for the city of san francisco. you go to a homeless shelter, you go to a soup kitchen go and do something else. >> you recently got a lot of attention for giving a 2.7 million dollar gift to the 12 middle schools in san francisco. they will get tablets, wi-fi
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access and the teachers will get i think $100,000, principals, rather to dsplit the way they se fit. what impact will that have? >> it's an awesome target for that because so many individuals and organizations made big commitment to the school districts. they need to invest more because technology by itself is not going to make a difference. it's about a full package and investment and the people and it's about the technology. it's about the new generation of blended learning. >> san francisco, you live here, you know is experiencing a tech boom, people want to live here, housing prices are going through the roof. business is doing well. the unemployment rate is low. at the same time there is a concern that san francisco is becoming unaffordable. it became unaffordable for the
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poor, teachers, nurses, bus drivers are having a hard time buying a home in san francisco. is that something you think people like you should worry about or do you worry about it? >> i think a lot about that because san francisco is a smart place where we have a finite piece of land here 7 miles by 7 miles and all these great tech companies, you're going to come here you better be ready to give back. >> in a way that makes it more affordable? is there anything that can be done? is that not the job of corporations? >> would be way we can do it is impacting the schools like we're talking about here. we want to make sure the people living here can go to great public schools, why can't we have the best public schools in the nation? >> do you think there is a problem in mpolitics our leader aren't thinking hard enough? >> i think it's hard because over time you're in a position of leadership or an organization or involved specifically with schools and you get beaten down
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over time because not all the things always work out. that's why you always have to keep a beginners mind and start again and say we can do it and make the successful and make it more successful than last time. >> quick question about where technology and politics come together, obama care, the affordable care act. we see huge problems with the health care portals people are going to for the health care exchanges, not so much the ones run by california but nationally run. what do you make of that, they are totally unprepared, the government is not going fast enough to new technology instead of building it on this thing we invented in san francisco called the cloud. they didn't ask you. >> they didn't ask us or anyone associated with the cloud to help them and building these old systems not scaling and got themself into a pickle on that one. >> last question i want to ask you about your grandmother who is 100. tell me about her and what influence she had on you. >> my grand hmother had a
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phenomenal impact on me. she's 100 so your research is good. when i was growing up and first getting involved in business and in computers, she was really by my side the whole way. i was working at this jewelry shop and polishing the cases and she came to me and said you know what? you make enough money and we'll buy that $500 computer and i'll match you. you make 250 and i'll give you 250 and we went to radioshack and bought that first compute there changed my life. >> marc benioff thanks for coming in. >> thank you so much. great to be here. scott shafer is here now for a look on what's coming up on kqed news next week. hi, scott. >> hi thuy. guns very much in the news today with the shooting at lax and last week the shooting of that 13-year-old boy in santa rosa so this measure, measure c would
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require people to report gun thefts if their gun is stolen in 48 hours and ban the high capacity magazines, that kind of thing. >> this is happen income sunnyville, small town and attracting a lot of national attention. the nra is on it. new york city mayor michael bloomberg contributed. why is that? >> the local measures become symbolic but can make their way up to the federal court and u.s. supreme court in fact. the nra is saying this is unconstitutional and violets the second ameant mnldment and almo daring sunnyville to do it and costing money to defend. >> you referred to this earlier, the santa rosa shooting involving andy lopez, the 13-year-old boy. lots of community outrage and anger over this. >> it was an outpouring of grief that's turned into anger. there are community meetings this weekend which we'll keep track of and into next week as
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well. questions how do it happen, why did it happen, what did we do to prevent it and the name of the sheriff deputy who shot him and people are talking about him and it's raised a lot of issues about guns, toy guns that look like real guns and representation on the school bored, in the sheriff's department, so a lot of community discussion happening out there. >> and also, people bringing up trayvon martin, oscar grant, some traces of that. >> another, you know, young person of color being shot by police or in this case the sheriff's deputy and questions being raise. would it have happened under different circumstances if he was, you know, a white teenager for example. >> let's return to the south bay for another election measure, another campaign but next june in 2014, already attracting a lot of attention. >> absolutely. seven-term income want mike popular, both democrats, up and
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coming young lawyer when the obama administration and a lot of tech money and another case of a young up and comer challenging an entrenched democrat and it will be interesting to see what happens. we had something like that in the east bay last year, eric knocked off pete stark because the primary, facing off against each other in november. we'll have a profile of the race next week. >> interesting two asian americans against each other in the only district in the united states with the majority asian american -- >> you see a lot of divided loyalties and mike conda as a young kid, so real personal stories that will be very much part of this campaign. >> definitely want to watch. scott, thank you. >> you bet. >> we want to also invite you to send comments and story ideas to kqed newsroom. that does it for tonight i'm thuy vu, thanks for watching. >> and i'm scott shafer. good night.
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