Advocacy

a future for all communities

Working together with South of Market's many communities, our vision is to realize here at last: a just and inclusive neighborhood of opportunity.

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TODCO’s Mission

As South of Market Neighborhood Builders, it is the Mission of the TODCO Group to assure that the poor, the disadvantaged, and the working people of South of Market —elders, hotel residents, homeless, immigrants and families — will always be an integral part of their Neighborhood's future, always benefited rather than displaced by renewal, and able:

  • To meet basic needs for housing, nutrition and economic security, ending deprivation.

  • To live in safety with dignity, respect and equity, ending isolation and exploitation.

  • To share community productivity to build social capital, institute wellness, expand common assets, and impact the future.

  • To achieve their just aspirations now and for generations to come.


TODCO’s History

TODCO’s founders 50 years ago were “community activists” of their era, not “housing developers.” Then, George Woolf, Peter Mendelsohn, and the members of TOOR (Tenants and Owner Opposed to Redevelopment) were determined to create and build a better Yerba Buena and South of Market of the Future for all its communities upon the ruins of their redevelopment-bulldozed neighborhood. And as they knew well - both then and now - that takes strong and direct civic action to accomplish, not just simply building affordable housing. We have always incorporated this as a central and vital theme of TODCO’s mission.

Today TODCO is among the forefront of progressive civic action leaders and organizations striving to realize a future San Francisco founded on community-based economic and social justice for all. This includes:


Community Information And Engagement

Throughout its history TODCO has always emphasized teaming up with Central City community organizations of all backgrounds to work together on the many difficult realities of the Central City and SOMA’s future, including:

  • Our Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium which has convened YBC residents and stakeholders regularly since 1980 to learn about and address the never-ending complex issues facing this pivotal heart of South of Market (several described below), especially those impacting the 2000 senior housing residents of this neighborhood, such as pedestrian safety.

  • Community Advisory Committees such as the South of Market Project Area Committee for the Sixth Street Redevelopment Area, the Eastern Neighborhood Citizens Advisory Committee for all SOMA, the SOMA Stabilization Fund Citizens Advisory Committee for the Rincon Hill SOMA Community Mitigation Fund.

  • Boards of Directors such as the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District and the Treasure Island Development Authority.

  • SOMA Community Coalitions such as the South of Market Problem Solving Council, Senior Power, Advocates for the South of Market, the Coalition For Jobs, Arts, and Housing, and today, We Are SOMA.


Community Planning

Since 1980 TODCO has been a leading community voice in very consequential urban planning undertakings for the South of Market and the Central City, including:

  • Yerba Buena Redevelopment Area as a key stakeholder and advocate for building a real neighborhood throughout the project’s five decades of development, including our seminal 1980 Year Buena Neighborhood Plan.

  • South Beach/Rincon Hill Redevelopment Area as principal advocate for affordable housing development within this 1980s repurposing of SOMA’s former industrial waterfront district.

  • South of Market Rezoning as the voice for community stabilization of South of Market in this 1980s envisioning its affordable mixed-use future.

  • South of Market Redevelopment Area as the spearhead community instigator of this post-Loma Prieta Earthquake recovery and 1990s neighborhood building project focused on SOMA’s distressed Sixth Street community.

  • Treasure Island Base Reuse Project as 1990s co-founder of the Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative and leading neighborhood building proponent for this visionary $5 billion master-planned complex.

  • Today's Central SOMA Plan as the leading community proponent – our Central Corridor Community Plan that fully integrates neighborhood and community building and social justice objectives with downtown and tech industry expansion – of this comprehensive master plan and rezoning completed in September 2018.


Civic Advocacy

Consistently joining community coalition efforts throughout the decades, TODCO has played a major role in pivotal civic issues, including:

  • The Downtown Plan which rezoned all of the Central Business District in 1985, including much of SOMA, working with San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth, ultimately resulting in the 1986 Proposition M Annual Limit On Office Development and the 1991 citywide Unreinforced Masonry Building Seismic Retrofit Program.

  • Hotel Tax And Redevelopment Agency Financing For Affordable Housing that over the last 30 years has provided hundreds of millions of dollars for development of low and moderate-income nonprofit housing in San Francisco, working, as a founding member, with the Council of Community Housing Organizations.

  • Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program that over the last four decades has produced thousands of affordable housing units within market-rate projects, working again with CCHO and housing advocates to establish first in SOMA and then expand citywide this innovative public-private approach to meeting our City’s housing needs.

  • Yerba Buena Gardens, the treasure of South of Market, working with the Friends of the Gardens in past decades to create and build this vision of community amenity for all San Francisco, and today with other Yerba Buena Neighborhood groups to improve and expand its features plus establish the new nonprofit Yerba Buena Gardens Consortium to undertake its future community-based management.


City Election Ballot Measures

TODCO’s Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium has helped to develop and provided significant financial support to a series of San Francisco Ballot Measures over the last five years, including:

  • 2014 Proposition K which set an overall 50% goal for all future City housing to be affordable for low, moderate, and middle income households.

  • 2015 Proposition K which mandated affordable housing development on surplus City properties.

  • 2016 Proposition C which mandated an increase of the City’s affordable inclusionary housing requirement for all large market-rate developments from 12% to 18% in 2018 with gradual increase to 24% in 2025.

  • 2016 Proposition X which mandated replacement of existing South of Market and Mission District commercial spaces for production, distribution, repair, and arts uses demolished for new developments.

  • 2018 Proposition C which added a new tax on downtown commercial buildings to fund early child education and childcare for all San Francisco families.

  • 2018 Proposition C which added a new tax on Big Businesses to fund doubling of the City’s Homeless Housing and Support Services programs.


Legal Action

TODCO’s Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium has undertaken formal appeals and litigation challenging approvals of major SOMA real estate developments, including:

  • 2016 Lawsuit challenging the Environmental Impact Report for the 706 Mission luxury condo tower project due to its failure to fully evaluate the Yerba Buena Neighborhood pedestrian capacity and safety impacts caused by the Moscone Convention Center. The suit was settled in 2017 with a City commitment to widen sidewalks at bottleneck locations and install new signalized crosswalks to Yerba Buena Gardens.

  • 2018 EIR Appeal challenging the City’s massive Central SOMA Plan rezoning that will expand downtown further into South of Market without giving equal priority to building a future neighborhood and community too, as envisioned by TODCO’s Central SOMA Community Plan.