‘Gimme Shelter’: Newsom falls far short on his big housing promises – but not in favor of building big homes
Assembly-member Ed Chau sent the message that no real change is in planning for affordable housing in the district. Photo: Elizabeth Barkan/P-C
Housing and Planning Committee
Assembly-member Ed Chau
Assembly-member Ed Chau has come to represent a city so polarized it has become disintegrating. His district — the 10th — covers a sprawling urban region of San Francisco and parts of Oakland where, for the past 20 years, more than 10 million people have grown up there. It is a very diverse area — minority, immigrant, gay, Jewish, and Latin — all in agreement on one point: they want to keep the district’s small private market (or “gentrified”) and build as little as possible.
It’s hard to imagine how Chau might change that. He’s the most liberal of all the ten members of the Assembly, a man who spent 10 years as the head of Mayor Newsom’s San Francisco Public Utilities Commission with a strictly progressive agenda which involved reassessing the city’s power sector. In that time he had a long, happy marriage with a wonderful woman who is not a government employee, and, in addition to being a committed friend to the poor, is married and has two daughters. Chau is also a man of family — his brother, Tony, preceded him on the Assembly floor. He’s the man who gave the first interview to the San Francisco Chronicle in 2004 when he returned from a seven-month business trip to the Far East, speaking with his family by phone from there. And Chau has a vision, as detailed in his new book, The 10th District: A Chronicle, a Chronicle:
There is no such thing as housing or affordable housing; no such thing as housing affordability. The only thing that matters is who lives in the district. We could afford to build 10 million houses — that’s a figure we heard from the Mayor every year when he