Real Estate

Real Estate – John M. Lee

District 4 Election Issues

By John M. Lee

When my November Voter Pamphlet arrived in the mail I marveled at how thin it was this time around. There are only five ballot measures for San Francisco voters to decide and 11 for the state.

None of the San Francisco measures deals directly with real estate.

In the Sunset and Parkside districts, however, there is a very important supervisorial race. Whoever gets the seat can most likely swing the balance on the SF Board of Supervisors either to the moderate or progressive side.

This race was set up when incumbent District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang decided not to run for re-election, which created an open seat.

There are eight candidates in the race: Lou Ann Bassan, Adam Kim, Mike Murphy, Tuan Nguyen, Jessica Ho, Gordon Mar, Trevor McNeil and Art Tom.

According to political pundits, there are four candidates with the best chance to win, mostly due to their ability to raise money. They are Tom, Mar, McNeil and Ho.

All have talked extensively about the major issues and concerns of affordable housing, solutions to our homeless problem, public safety and the reliability of public transit. I also think the candidates are mindful that the Sunset District differs from other districts in San Francisco, with about 60 percent home ownership and 40 percent renters.

Ho was Tang’s legislative aide. She only moved to San Francisco in March of this year to work at City Hall. However, she did spend time in San Francisco in her youth and attended the University of California, San Francisco. If elected, Ho will most likely follow Tang’s current agenda for D-4.

Gordon Mar is a community and labor activist in the Sunset and the executive director of Jobs with Justice. He is the brother of former Supervisor Eric Mar and, if elected, could change the composition of the Board of Supervisors to favor a more progressive agenda. Mar is endorsed by many of the labor unions in the City.

Trevor McNeil is a public school teacher on the Peninsula who has run a couple of times for the school board. He was born and raised in San Francisco and knows first-hand how unaffordable our City is.

Art Tom works for the City as a tax auditor and has been involved by serving on various commissions. He also is active in Sunset neighborhood groups.

Why is this election important with regards to real estate?

Because members of the Board of Supervisors can set policy and ordinances when it comes to land use issues. They can change zoning laws or rent control constraints and they have a lot of influence on what gets built. So, who gets elected matters quite a bit. In general, a more moderate candidate will stand up for landlord rights where a more progressive candidate might side more with tenant rights.

Because there is ranked choice voting in this election, voters can choose up to three candidates and rank them on their ballot. Because the voting is expected to be really close, with a plurality vote determining the winner, I urge you to vote for three candidates so your vote has a better chance of being counted.

Whoever you decide to support, I urge you to vote on Nov. 6!

John M. Lee is a broker with Pacific Union specializing in the Richmond and Sunset districts. If you have any real estate questions, call (415) 465-0505 or email

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