SF politicians trade tweets over state housing probe

Dean Preston and Matt Haney argue on social media about first-of-its-kind investigation

From left: State Assemblyman Matt Haney and Supervisor Dean Preston
From left: State Assemblyman Matt Haney and Supervisor Dean Preston (Getty, ASMDC, Dean Preston SF)

A Twitter volley between two San Francisco politicians over a state review of the city’s housing protocols would be worthy of a Wimbledon final.

Supervisor Dean Preston and state Assemblyman Matt Haney have traded power tweets over a state probe into the city’s glacial housing approval process, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Preston has fired off Twitter posts slamming a state Department of Housing and Community Development investigation into why San Francisco takes longer than any other city in California to greenlight housing.

Haney, who served on the Board of Supervisors with Preston before he was elected to the Assembly this year, defended the state’s actions. He slammed Preston for rejecting and delaying housing, saying the state needs to intervene after supervisors blocked the construction of badly needed new homes.

He also waded into the public debate over the city’s controversial rejection of hundreds of new homes on a South of Market parking lot last year. Haney voted for the SoMa project while Preston voted against it.
A similar Twitter war erupted after the October rejection, with Mayor London Breed tweeting: “That’s no way to run a city.” 

Preston asked why the state had singled out San Francisco for the first review of its kind, given that the city exceeded its state-mandated goal for building market-rate housing. The city has met less than half of its goal for affordable housing construction.

Preston, a democratic socialist whose district stretches from the Tenderloin through Haight-Ashbury, doubted the seriousness of the state’s review.

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“It seems to me this is more about Governor Newsom peacocking for the real estate industry as he eyes a presidential run than about creating the affordable housing San Francisco needs,” Preston told the Chronicle in a text message.

Angel investor Matt Brezina told Preston the Board of Supervisors’ rejection of 495 housing units at a Nordstrom valet parking lot in SoMa last year was the city’s “textbook failure.”

Preston tweeted that Haney, whose supervisor district at the time included the project, “didn’t even try to resolve it.”

Haney returned his former colleague’s lob, saying the legal challenge to the project that led to the board’s rejection was based on imaginary environmental issues.

Haney tweeted Preston’s defense of his vote against that project was “exactly why the state is investigating SF’s flagrant and open violation of state housing laws and will intervene.”

Dana Bartholomew

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