It isn’t often politics and go-go dancing intersect, but one group of San Francisco activists is flashing all the skin they can to get their message out. Their hope is that a local measure, Prop G, succeeds with city voters in Tuesday’s election, thereby helping to protect lower-income tenants from being squeezed out of the city.
Because a San Francisco without g0-go boys, artists and drag queens is, well, we don’t want to even imagine it.
Interestingly, Prop G’s “anti-speculation tax,” is reminiscent of the final pieces of legislation that Supervisor Harvey Milk pushed for before he was assassinated. Sadly, those efforts died with him.
Queerty spoke exclusively with Prop G activist Brett Waxdeck about what the measure means for the city, and his memorable tactic to reach voters.
Queerty: What is Proposition G, exactly?
BrettWaxdeck: Prop G, which is on next Tuesday’s ballot, is commonly referred to as the “anti-speculation tax”. It is intended to address the problem of speculation in rental real estate in San Francisco that is contributing to the city’s housing affordability crisis.
Investors, often from out of town, are buying muti-unit rental properties and immediately evicting tenants under the Ellis Act. The speculators turn a quick and enormous profit from “flipping” the properties. The formerly rent-protected tenants are left in the cold. And the city’s stock is reduced putting more pressure on everybody’s rents.
Prop G is designed to discourage speculators from buying and flipping rental properties by imposing a 24% tax on the sales price of any multi unit, non-owner occupied, property that is bought and sold within a year. The tax gradually declines to 14% for a property bought and sold within 5 years. After 5 years the tax does not apply.
The law targets true speculators (as opposed to homeowners) because the tax does not apply to any owner occupied property, for example, a home that has an in-law unit, or a duplex, in which the owner lives in one unit.
And where do the go-go boys come in?
Scantily clad go-go boys and their supporters assembled in Harvey Milk Plaza and marched through the Castro District chanting: “Save our go-go boys, yes on G.” The relationship between go-go boys and Prop G is simple: The housing affordability crisis is driving out many of the very people who make San Francisco a fun and sexy city in which to live: go-go boys, artists, musicians, drag performers, educators and other people of moderate means.
The real estate industry opposes G because it will cost them a fraction of their business — sales to speculators. G is supported by a majority of the Board of Supervisors, both candidates for State Assembly, and the city’s Democratic Club, among others. Opponents are outspending proponents by more than ten to one. Hopefully, however, the voters will do what’s necessary to protect economic and cultural diversity (and fun) in their city and pass Proposition G.