San Francisco Bay Guardian, Oct 18, 2000

(This is copied from a download from long ago, and is probably not on the SF Bay Guardian website.)

Saving San Francisco: A 50-year chronology
By Rachel Brahinsky, Cassi Feldman, and Genevieve Kramer

1942-44 World War II is raging, and San Francisco isn't doing its part to help the war effort. The region is too disorganized: Workers live too far from shipyards and waste hours every day getting to work. Supplies come in to the wrong places and get tied up on their way to factories.

So local businesspeople form the Metropolitan Defense Committee to figure out a way to speed things up, to organize the Bay Area so that workers, industry, and big business are organized efficiently. MDC has sweeping powers and is responsible for fire prevention, law enforcement, health, safety, and transportation as well as for overall regional planning and coordination. Although MDC eventually loses federal funding owing to internal bickering, it establishes a model for top-down city planning.

Building on the MDC, the Bay Regional Council is established; it's renamed the Bay Area Council a year later. Bank of America, American Trust Company, Standard Oil of California, Pacific Gas and Electric, U.S. Steel, and the Bechtel Corporation each pledge $10,000 annually to get the BAC up and running. The new "super-Chamber of Commerce," as the Bay Guardian later describes it, pushes for more airports, freeways, and bridges, and an overall scheme for development.

The East Bay is targeted as the center for heavier industry, chemicals, and petroleum, while the South Bay will be the site of light manufacturing, electronics, and the aerospace industry. San Francisco, the council decides, will be the center for administration, finance, consulting, and entertainment the Manhattan of the West Coast.

A system of freeways and the $1.5 billion Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system are envisioned to link all of those sectors together and to bring people from bedroom communities in the suburbs into downtown San Francisco.

As Alvin Duskin will write later, in the introduction to the 1971 Bay Guardian book The Ultimate Highrise, "It all sounded good, and in fact it is good if you want to win a war against a real enemy. If you are not thinking about winning, you might decide that you want open space in your own neighborhood as well as on the top of a mountain. You might want certain factories in the neighborhoods so that minorities will have a better chance of finding jobs.

"You might want to have people living downtown next to the banks and the insurance companies so that when the offices close at five o'clock the neighborhood stays lively. You might not want to forge ahead, because you might not want to give up whatever it takes to win the race to grow faster than anyone else is growing. Because you can't win without losing something."

1945 Steve Bechtel, the head of Bechtel Corp., joins the corporate heads of Bank of America, Kaiser Industries, Standard Oil of California, and U.S. Steel in Citizens for Rapid Transit, a group that plots the development of San Francisco into a second Manhattan that would be the economic gateway to the Far East. The men quickly turn their attention to the South of Market area as a place to expand the city's Financial District and to build the new hotels and convention center that "Manhattan West" will need.

1950 The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency receives an advance of federal funds to study redevelopment in SoMa.

1952 The Redevelopment Agency declares a 19-block area in SoMa "blighted." The next year the San Francisco Board of Supervisors designates this Area D and begins moving to clear out the existing residents thousands of people, mostly retired single men and immigrants to make room for new hotels, offices, a convention center, and a ballpark.

1954 Benjamin Swig, owner of the Fairmont Hotel, tells the Redevelopment Agency that he wants to privately develop parts of SoMa, including the blocks bounded by Third, Fourth, Mission, and Folsom Streets. He creates the "San Francisco Prosperity Plan," which includes a convention center, a stadium, office high-rises, and parking. He wants his blocks to be declared blighted, though only a relatively small number of buildings are in disrepair. Though Swig's plan is not adopted, it lays the groundwork for urban renewal.

1955 Two local businesspeople, Charles Blyth, stockbroker and director of Hewlett-Packard, and J.D. Zellerbach, a pulp and paper magnate, form the Blyth-Zellerbach Committee. Blyth-Zellerbach immediately gives the San Francisco Planning Department $25,000 for an "objective" study of the produce-market area to the east of the Financial District. A few months later the committee quietly offers another gift of similar size.

Joseph Alioto becomes first a member, then chair, of the Redevelopment Agency. Alioto invites Swig to present his Yerba Buena Center (YBC) plan again to the Redevelopment Agency. Swig details his plan, adding two more blocks to the original redevelopment area, and promises to contribute $3,500 for a study to expedite the process.

Oct. 12, 1955 Swig admits to the San Francisco Examiner, "This is a straight business proposition.... I think I'm going to make a lot of money out of it, or I wouldn't be spending all this time on it." The Planning Department finds that most of the four blocks Swig wants to add to the redevelopment area are not, in fact, "blighted." But the Redevelopment Agency, then the supervisors, agree to accommodate Swig.

1956 Property owners in SoMa begin to fight redevelopment on the grounds that the "blighted" designation hurts their property values. The Redevelopment Agency takes SoMa off its list, but only temporarily.

Nov. 2, 1956 The San Francisco Chronicle publishes a map of the proposed and actual freeway routes through San Francisco. It's an extensive network, including 10 new roadways that will ring the waterfront and chop up the center of the city. One elevated freeway is slated to run right over Golden Gate Park. The Chron scolds the protesters who object to the new highways: "The remarkable aspect of these protests and claims of injury is their tardiness. They concern projects that have for years been set forth in master plans, surveys, and expensive traffic studies. They have been ignored or overlooked by citizens and public officials alike until the time was at hand for concrete pouring and when revision had become either impossible or extremely costly."

November 1957 Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) district officials begin to meet to decide how to implement a report prepared by the engineering firm of Parsons, Brinkerhoff, Hall, and McDonald, which recommends the creation of a centralized business district in San Francisco and a rail system to transport workers into the city. "The end result of BART," Roger Lapham Jr., a longtime BART director, tells the Bay Guardian in 1968, "is that San Francisco will be just like Manhattan."

In the same story Adrien Falk, head of BART's board of directors, admits, "It's not a question of whether it's desirable. It's the only practical way. Certain finance, banking industries, want to be centralized, want to have everyone near each other.... There's also a cultural aspect. You can't have the symphony, the opera, the ballpark in every community."

1958 By the time the Embarcadero Freeway is nearly under construction along the waterfront, an unprecedented coalition of neighborhood activists including Haight-Ashbury resident and neighborhood activist Sue Bierman has formed a campaign to end construction of the freeway. More than 30,000 people sign anti-freeway petitions in neighborhoods around the city.

1959 As a result of the public outcry, the Board of Supervisors votes to cancel 7 of 10 planned freeway routes through the city.

1959 Justin Herman is appointed executive director of the Redevelopment Agency.

Planning consultant Aaron Levine issues a report concluding that San Francisco lags behind other cities in terms of redevelopment. In response the Blyth-Zellerbach Committee forms San Francisco Planning and Urban Research to encourage business support for urban renewal.

1960 Mayor George Christopher designates SPUR the city's official Citizen's Advisory Committee for Redevelopment, a body required under federal urban renewal codes. Soon after, the mayor asks the Redevelopment Agency to once again begin work on SoMa.

1960-1970 As many as 4,000 families are displaced from the Western Addition as a result of an urban renewal project. The project also includes the construction of the Geary Expressway, which transforms a busy central roadway within the Western Addition into a limited-access highway that improves access to downtown.

Years later, in The Contested City (Princeton University Press, 1983), John H. Mollenkopf explains what really happened: "After World War II, the Western Addition had a thriving black commercial life. Its main commercial artery, Fillmore Street, featured every manner of convenience, including nightclubs like the Cafe Society, Esther's Breakfast Club, Jimbo's Bop City, and the Both/And. Vernon Thornton owned a popular bowling alley on Fillmore. As renewal began execution, according to Thornton, the [Redevelopment Agency] held off purchasing his thriving business, even though it was located in the area to be demolished for a new shopping center-style development. Instead the [Redevelopment Agency] demolished much of the surrounding housing, displacing Thornton's clientele and driving him out of business. Only then did the Agency take his property, offering him a fraction of what it was worth."

1962 BART's promoters get Bay Area citizens to approve a $792 million general obligation bond issue to finance a 71.5-mile high-speed transit system, consisting of 33 stations serving 17 communities in three counties. Property taxes are supposed to pay off only the interest on the bonds, but the interest costs $650 million, almost as much as the construction itself. After the election, engineers begin work on the final designs, but the validity of the bond election and the legality of the BART district itself are challenged in court, delaying the construction for two more years.

1964 Mayor Jack Shelley's South of Market Development Committee, made up of prominent businesspeople, announces a Yerba Buena Center proposal that looks remarkably like the old Swig plan. It calls for demolishing dozens of low-cost residential hotels and apartment buildings to make way for offices, hotels, and a convention center. The Planning Department publishes a four-page preliminary plan that parrots the Shelley committee's land use proposals.

SPUR studies the project and agrees with most of it except the proposal to include some modest replacement housing for elderly men, which it finds "absurdly incompatible."

Mel Swig, Ben Swig's son, writes to the Redevelopment Agency and promises a several-million-dollar investment in the new project.

May 17, 1964 Opposition to a Golden Gate Freeway, which would run through the middle of Golden Gate Park, reaches a climax with a rally at the Polo Grounds to save the park. The so-called freeway revolt, led by now-supervisor Bierman and others, attracts national attention and becomes a watershed moment in the history of the urban environmental movement. On Oct. 13, in a 6-5 vote, the Board of Supervisors rejects the freeway.

1965 The city receives a $19.6 million federal grant for urban renewal at YBC.

1965-1968 High-rise office buildings begin sprouting rapidly in downtown San Francisco. In 1970 Wells Fargo Bank will report, "The value of highrises built [in downtown S.F.] between 1965 and 1968 totaled $255.7 million seven times the value of all highrises built during the entire decade of 1950-60."

1966 At hearings on the YBC plan, opponents reiterate their points: the plan will displace thousands of residents, and the money and plans for relocating those residents are insufficient.

Some members of the Board of Supervisors express concern that outside financial interests will buy up huge blocks of land and cut out San Franciscans. Herman guarantees that the land will be advertised widely and lots will be sold individually. Given those assurances, the supervisors approve the plan 7-2 and sign a contract for $49 million in federal funds. Under the plan only 176 units of new housing are to be built to accommodate more than 4,000 people whose homes will be demolished.

Oct. 27, 1966 The San Francisco Bay Guardian is founded to serve as a competitive alternative to the daily newspaper monopoly in San Francisco. It soon becomes a leading opponent of what the paper terms the "Manhattanization of San Francisco."

1967 Land acquisition in YBC begins. Landowners in the area continue to fight.

August 1967 Downtown decides that incumbent mayor Jack Shelley is moving too slowly on YBC and Manhattanization. So Ben Swig, real estate mogul Cyril Magnin, and lawyer Bill Coblentz meet in a room at Swig's Fairmont Hotel and devise a plan: they will raise a huge war chest, pick a charismatic candidate for mayor, and force Shelley to withdraw from the race, rewarding him with a cushy, high-paying job for life.

Shelley drops out of the mayor's race, citing poor health and exhaustion. Hours later, little-known millionaire antitrust attorney Joseph Alioto announces his candidacy, and Shelley quickly endorses him. Four days later Alioto raises $203,000 in campaign money in 45 minutes. The Bay Guardian reports the story on Oct. 31 under the headline "Shelley, Alioto It's a Deal."

November 1967 Alioto is elected mayor.

1968 Business leaders representing the Chamber of Commerce, the Real Estate Board, the Downtown Property Owners and Building Association, the Building Owners and Managers Association, the Bank and Clearing House Association, and the Pacific Telephone Company form the Downtown Advisory Committee to promote high-rise expansion.

The first three high-rise buildings erected in conjunction with BART construction are the Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, and the Crocker-Citizens Bank. Meanwhile the Rockefellers plan their construction of Embarcadero Center, with office buildings up to 60 stories high. North Waterfront Associates, led by Roger Lapham Jr., is pushing a 17-acre, $100 million barrage of concrete and glass, called the International Market Center, on the face of Telegraph Hill. Developers plan skyscrapers to line the waterfront and rim Golden Gate Park on Lincoln.

June 18, 1968 The Bay Guardian publishes its first article detailing the plans to "Manhattanize" San Francisco. The article, "Manhattan Madness," states that the "little understood Bay Area Rapid Transit system is expressly designed to transform San Francisco into another Manhattan Island. The result: San Francisco will duplicate the crushing problems ... that have made Manhattan Island virtually unlivable."

November 1968 Fearing that "urban renewal" will soon destroy the Mission District, more than 100 local organizations in the Mission form the Mission Coalition Organization. Rather than let the already infamous Redevelopment Agency obliterate the neighborhood, the group convinces Alioto to let it control a multimillion-dollar federal Model Cities Program grant to improve the area. It becomes the first example of a community group taking money that once went to city hall and using it to attempt to reclaim control of the neighborhood.

1969 Publicist Jerry Mander and journalist Warren Hinckle meet for lunch at Enrico's in North Beach to talk about creating an advertisement attacking a Texas developer's plan to turn Alcatraz Island into a re-creation of Victorian San Francisco combined with a monument to the Apollo 8 moon rocket. They spot Alvin Duskin, a local garment manufacturer, and ask him to join them, eventually getting Duskin to cover the $5,000 cost of running the ad in the Chronicle and Examiner. The headline calls the project "As big a steal as Manhattan Island." Within two weeks, outraged citizens persuade the Board of Supervisors to abandon the project. Duskin, whose name is on the bottom, becomes a local celebrity.

June 1969 The Redevelopment Agency unveils YBC designs. As Chester Hartman details in The Transformation of San Francisco (Rowman and Allanheld, 1984), the plan includes "a 350,000 square foot exhibition hall, a 14,000-seat sports arena, an 800-room hotel, a 2200-seat theater, an Italian Cultural and Trade Center, parking for 4000 cars, an airlines terminal, four office buildings, shops, restaurants, pedestrian malls, and landscaped plazas." Ignoring community concerns, ads are placed in Fortune magazine, offering the area's central blocks to out-of-town developers. Five firms are invited to submit proposals.

Summer 1969 SoMa tenants begin meeting in the lobby of the Milner Hotel. Eventually they form Tenants and Owners in Opposition to Redevelopment and begin holding monthly meetings and frequent demonstrations under elected chair George Woolf, an experienced union organizer. Their main goal: to ensure rehousing for SoMa residents within the neighborhood.

Nov. 5, 1969 The SoMa tenant group files suit in the federal court against both the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Redevelopment Agency. The tenants take issue with the Redevelopment Agency's theory of "turnover rates," which assumes that a high turnover rate in residential hotels will lead to thousands of vacant rooms for displaced SoMa residents. The residents argue that most of the approved relocation sites are in poor condition or too expensive. They commission the Bureau of Social Science Research to conduct a survey that shows only 200 low-rent, up-to-code vacancies citywide.

1970 In a Feb. 28 cover story called "The Politics of Embarcadero City," the Bay Guardian writes, "San Francisco's waterfront has been put on the real-estate market and is now being auctioned off to giant corporations by the City and Port of San Francisco. Just as Cyril Magnin dreamed 10 years before, proposals for waterfront development started pouring in from corporations like Dillingham, U.S. Steel, Ford Motor Co., Kidder Peabody...." The combined vision included dozens of hotels, offices, retail shops, and garages and was enthusiastically hailed by the Port Authority as "Embarcadero City."

April 30, 1970 Federal Judge Stanley Weigel issues an injunction against YBC displacement and demolition. The Redevelopment Agency agrees to build or rehabilitate between 1,500 and 1,800 units of permanent low-rent housing by 1973.

Construction begins on the first new YBC building, the General Electric Building. Del Monte and Crocker Citizens National Bank, both corporate members of SPUR, are awarded two of the first four building lots sold.

June 1970 Calvin Welch, who came to San Francisco in 1962, becomes active as a Haight-Ashbury community organizer. He helps tenants make the Haight one of the first neighborhoods to reorganize zoning regulations to prevent increased density from outside real estate speculation.

December 1970 Despite major neighborhood opposition, construction of the Transamerica Pyramid begins.

1971 Garment manufacturer Duskin, who has made a small fortune selling dresses with peace signs printed on them, decides to launch a campaign to force a vote on the issue of high-rises in San Francisco. He hires a young, newly transplanted San Franciscan named Sue Hestor to help organize his campaign. Hestor and volunteer Charlie Starbuck figure out how to gather enough signatures to put Proposition T, which would limit buildings citywide to a height of 72 feet, on the November ballot.

Feb. 26, 1971 The Bay Guardian runs a two-page spread with the headline "If You Like New York and Chicago, You're Gonna Love San Francisco!" An accompanying chart shows that San Francisco's intensity of downtown development is greater than New York's or Chicago's. A look at property taxes per occupant before and after construction of the Bank of America headquarters shows that occupants in the new structure actually pay significantly lower taxes than the preexisting tenants and demand more city services.

September 1971 Following up on the Bank of America building research, the Bay Guardian releases a detailed cost-benefit study on high-rise development. The results are published in its Sept. 27 issue and in a book called The Ultimate Highrise . The pioneering study, the first of its kind ever done in the nation, confirms everything Duskin and company have suspected: high-rises eat up more money in services than they return to the city in taxes.

In the foreword to The Ultimate Highrise, Duskin asks some crucial questions: "Will it make us happier to live in a World Headquarters City? Will it cost us less to live here? Would we rather raise our children in San Francisco as we know it or in the Ultimate Highrise? Where would we rather have lunch? Walk? Work? Can we do anything to change direction?" He urges voters to back his Prop. T.

Nov. 3, 1971 Thanks to an expensive campaign by the Chamber of Commerce and downtown developers, Prop. T is defeated, receiving 37 percent of the vote. Duskin vows to bring back a new version of the measure as soon as he can get his campaign reorganized.

April 12, 1972 A Bay Guardian cover story called "The Neighborhoods Are Next!" reveals the Chamber of Commerce's blueprints for San Francisco, a plan to put high-rise enclaves for the rich in 10 neighborhoods as part of an "Urban Design Plan." Under tremendous community pressure, the Planning Commission instead votes to down-zone virtually all of the neighborhoods in San Francisco, outlawing most high-rises almost everywhere except downtown. The move takes the wind out of Duskin's sails; without neighborhood outrage, he is unable to gather momentum for another anti-high-rise proposition. He eventually gets another measure on the ballot, this one limiting new downtown structures to 160 feet, but it's defeated, 57 to 43 percent.

Spring 1972 State and federal suits are brought against YBC by six conservation groups, including the Sierra Club and San Francisco Tomorrow, claiming the city failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. To settle the suit, the city agrees to do environmental impact studies on YBC.

Supervisors approve a $225 million bond issue for YBC public facilities, which prompts further lawsuits against the Redevelopment Agency and the city alleging that the YBC bonds required voter approval.

1973 Because the Redevelopment Agency has done little to stem displacement, Judge Weigel revises the suit settlement, adding 400 units to the agency's obligation, to be developed within the YBC area and funded by a hotel tax increase.

Fall 1973 Hestor, who has been in town since the late 1960s, when the architecture firm she worked for transferred her from the East Coast, has become president of her neighborhood association and leader of San Francisco Tomorrow. Frustrated by the lack of legal help available to nonprofit environmental groups, she enrolls at Golden Gate University Law School. Her tuition is underwritten in part by a fundraising campaign from her friends, featuring a flyer that reads, "Let's get Sue Hestor off the streets and into law school."

1974 A settlement is reached on the YBC lawsuits, with the city agreeing to a $210 million cap on bonds and the deletion of the sports arena from the public facilities portion of YBC.

November 1975 Alioto's second term ends (and by law, he can't run again). State senator George Moscone is narrowly elected mayor, with 45 percent of the vote, running on an anti-high-rise, antidevelopment, pro-district elections platform against Sups. John Barbegelata and Dianne Feinstein. Moscone, whom the Bay Guardian endorses, refuses to accept individual contributions of more than $100.

Once in office, Moscone appoints three planning commissioners who speak out for neighborhood and environmental concerns: Starbuck, Supervisor Bierman, and Ina Dearman. But on every important vote, they lose to the pro-development majority. Years later Bierman tells the Bay Guardian that her role on the commission was not unusual: "It's not surprising; the powers that be, they want your voice, but they still want to control the vote."

On other commissions Moscone plays the same game, appointing a few token progressives but not the majority they would need to win. Stockbroker Doug Engmann is first appointed to the mayor's select committee on YBC and later to the Board of Permit Appeals.

Community activist Welch later argues that Moscone's legacy affected a generation of activists: "Did George Moscone empower an entire set of players that had never had access to city departments and commission? Yes.

"Moscone strongly defended "district election of supervisors and affordable housing development. Moscone shifted the flow of federal community-development funds away from the Redevelopment Agency to more community-based entities. Now about 95 percent goes to community groups instead of city departments. You would not have two tenant measures on the ballot [in 2000] if it weren't for groups funded by that federal money. You would not have Prop. L."

November 1976 Prop. T which divides the city into 11 supervisorial districts, allowing candidates to run from neighborhoods without raising the big sums of money that it takes to get elected citywide wins with 52 percent of the vote. Citizens for Total Representation, a downtown-funded group, unsuccessfully tries to repeal the initiative.

January 1977 The Chamber of Commerce editorializes in its house organ, San Francisco Business: "Most business leaders, unfortunately, don't reside and vote in San Francisco and must therefore rely upon their persuasive powers and their money to influence the course of local politics."

Aug. 4, 1977 At midnight more than 400 San Francisco sheriff's deputies and police officers break through a line of 2,000 demonstrators and begin forcibly evicting the mostly elderly, Chinese, and Filipino residents of the International Hotel on Kearny Street. The eviction is televised nationwide.

For eight years the struggle to save the I-Hotel has occupied center stage in San Francisco politics. Supasit Mahaguna a Thailand liquor baron represented by an S.F. law firm that once employed George Moscone has been trying to evict the tenants since buying the property in 1973. Tenant advocates fought the evictions all the way to the State Supreme Court but lost.

The I-Hotel is the center of Manilatown, a thriving Filipino community and has come to symbolize the city's policy toward the preservation of low-income housing. The city allowed the eviction and later, will allow Mahaguna to demolish the building without ever seeing any specific plans for what Mahaguna intends to do with the site. In fact, a Bay Guardian correspondent in Bangkok discovers and reports that Mahaguna is in trouble with the Thailand authorities and has been looking for a way to get some of his money out of Thailand; apparently the I-Hotel is nothing more for him than a speculative investment.

Mahaguna, in fact, never produces a plan for the site, which remains a gaping hole in the middle of Chinatown today.

November 1977 The city holds its first district election for the Board of Supervisors. Harvey Milk is elected in the Castro. Dan White an Irish Catholic former police officer is elected on a conservative platform in a district that includes Visitacion Valley and Crocker Amazon. Feinstein, elected from Pacific Heights, is chosen by the conservative majority to be board president.

June 1978 Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann lead a successful campaign to pass Proposition 13 on the statewide ballot. The measure rolls back local property taxes to 1975 levels and limits annual increases to 2 percent. In the first year alone, property owners save $7 billion. That's $7 billion that comes out of the state's primary source of local government revenue, used to fund public services like buses and sewer systems. Cities brace for what will be many years of cutbacks in essential services, while big commercial-property owners begin seeing even higher profit levels.

Nov. 21, 1978 In a private "Dear Dick" letter later obtained and published by the Bay Guardian, Moscone boasts to Chronicle publisher Dick Thieriot that none of 11 major downtown building projects proposed during his administration have been turned down by the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors.

Nov. 27, 1978 After less than a year in office, Sup. Dan White announces that the $9,600 supervisorial salary is not enough to support his family, and he resigns from the board. Within a day, conservative supporters offer to help White financially, and White changes his mind. But he's already officially resigned, so all he can do is ask Moscone to appoint him back to his job. Moscone decides to name Don Horanzy to the spot instead, potentially creating a six-vote pro-neighborhood, anti-downtown majority on the board.

After learning from a reporter's phone call that he won't get his job back, White enters City Hall through a basement window and shoots and kills both Moscone and Milk. When White is found guilty only of involuntary manslaughter, the city sees one of the worst riots in its history and the district elections movement falls apart.

January 1979 Feinstein, who has taken over as mayor after Moscone's death on a pledge to bring the city together, has already fired two progressive planning commissioners, Starbuck and Dearman. The first week in January, she moves aggressively to demolish the I-Hotel building, demolish the historic City of Paris building on Union Square, and evict the artists who live in the historic Goodman Building. It becomes a watershed week for the new mayor, a sign of how she will run the city. The Bay Guardian calls it "The Week Feinstein Tried to Wreck San Francisco."

Nov. 6, 1979 San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth, a coalition of neighborhood activists, environmentalists, backers of the district elections movement, and veterans of Duskin's unsuccessful campaigns of 1971 and 72, puts Proposition O on the ballot, after a decade that has seen the city's biggest building boom ever, until that time.

The initiative, which proposes a 260-foot height limit for downtown, loses by 46.5 percent to 53.5 percent after San Francisco Forward (funded by developers, big construction trade unions, and Chamber of Commerce corporations) spends a record $500,000 to kill it.

Meanwhile, an initiative on the statewide ballot that would have passed some of the Prop. 13 windfall on to tenants fails.

August 1980 The Chamber of Commerce and its downtown allies, frustrated by district elections, place a repeal measure on the ballot and force a special election in late summer, when turnout is virtually guaranteed to be low. The measure passes; district elections are repealed.

The high-rise boom continues unabated. Since 1965 more than 27 million square feet of office space have been built in San Francisco, the equivalent of more than two Transamerica buildings each year.

Oct. 26, 1981 The Board of Supervisors votes 7-2 to approve the final addition to the Yerba Buena Center environmental impact reports. Sups. Quentin Kopp and Nancy Walker are the dissenting votes. The Bay Guardian reports that several supervisors admit just before voting that they haven't read the document.

March 1, 1983 Environmental and neighborhood activists announce that they're launching the fourth citizen initiative to slow growth. Proposition M qualifies for the November ballot, and as usual, the community groups are badly outspent: downtown spends $700,000, while the coalition that supports M spends $60,000. Stockbroker Engmann chairs the Yes on M campaign, through the San Francisco Plan Initiative. Anti-M forces include the high-priced campaigners at Solem and Associates, who are hired by the Chamber of Commerce.

April 1983 The original plan for the Mission Bay Development Project is unveiled: Southern Pacific hopes to build 11.7 million square feet of office space on the 315-acre site of an old railroad yard near China Basin. The plan would create jobs for more than 46,000 workers but housing for only 12,000.

July 1983 After 10 years of fighting the Redevelopment Agency, the artists living in the Goodman Building, at the edge of a Western Addition renewal area, are evicted. One victory of the struggle, according to Chester Hartman, is that the building is slated to become low-income housing, not high-rise office space.

Aug. 25, 1983 With polls showing significant support for Prop. M, Dean Macris, Dianne Feinstein's planning director, unveils the "Downtown Plan." Although it is heralded as a limit on growth, the plan allows virtually unbridled high-rise development and, through zoning controls, permits the Financial District to expand further into SoMa. The plan's economic projections are based on a single survey of 58 downtown firms; based on that dubious study, Macris estimates that the city will gain approximately 11,000 jobs each year for the next three years.

A 1984 Bay Guardian study will show that this figure is off by a factor of 10; in those years downtown in fact only creates roughly 1,200 jobs each year.

The plan is sold to the public and the press as a measure that will slash growth by 50 percent, but as the Bay Guardian reports one week later, Feinstein's plan changes merely a few zoning rules. Far from an honest effort to slow development, the Downtown Plan is an effort to subvert Prop. M. Feinstein hopes to take control of the development debate and to therefore convince voters not to vote for the proposition. Significantly, however, Feinstein admits for the first time that downtown development will inevitably bring significant, definable problems to the city.

September 1983 A study released by San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth shows that to move the 100,000 new workers that would be brought into downtown by the continuing building boom, the city would have to spend $3.376 billion to build at least 14 new transit projects by 2000. This would mean doubling residential tax rates. Even the Downtown Plan acknowledges that the expensive and unfunded transit goal "must be achieved if the projected rate of employment growth is to be manageable."

Nov. 7, 1983 Prop. M loses by fewer than 2,000 votes, 49.4 percent to 50.6 percent.

Without effective controls, the high-rise boom only accelerates: between 1980 and 1986 roughly 30 million new square feet of office space (the equivalent of 60 new Transamerica Buildings) are built in the city, transforming the skyline, clogging the streets with cars, driving up housing costs and putting additional pressure on the increasingly strapped city budget.

1984 Hartman publishes The Transformation of San Francisco, outlining the shifting political landscape that has allowed the city's downtown to become dominated by high-rises. In his opening pages Hartman predicts a future in which "San Francisco housing costs rise to a point where it becomes the first totally middle- and upper-class city in the U.S." He points out that San Francisco is already the most expensive place to buy a home: high-priced homes go for $225,000, while comparable houses in Boston are $139,000, in New York City $174,000, and in Seattle $110,000.

1984 Urban economist Jane Jacobs reports in her book Cities and the Wealth of Nations that the economic strength of cities lies in efforts to replace imports with locally produced goods and services. Jacobs asserts that cities that put too much credence on single large industries or groups of industries are more susceptible to economic decline than those that are more diversified.

1984 Southern Pacific merges with Santa Fe Railroad, becoming Sante Fe Pacific Realty, which takes on the Mission Bay project (the company later merges again to become Catellus Corporation). The new company seeks and eventually wins approval for the largest single development in the city's history at the Mission Bay site.

The project is fought from both the left and the right. Community organizers like Welch find themselves on the same side as developers like Walter Shorenstein, who fights the project because he fears too much new office space will drive down rents on his other properties.

Oct. 7, 1985 Feinstein says in her State of the City speech that the city's economy "remains vibrant and healthy ... largely thanks to the fact that downtown has continued to generate at least 10,000 new jobs a year." This figure is repeated by the Chronicle two days later, despite the fact that nobody neither Feinstein's press secretary, the Employment Development Department, representatives from the Private Industry Council, nor Chronicle editorial page editor Jerry Burns can justify this claim or explain where the figure comes from. She may have taken it from the projections in her two-year-old Downtown Plan, but the plan was optimistic by a factor of 10.

Oct. 23, 1985 The Bay Guardian publishes its 19th-anniversary special issue, featuring MIT economics professor David Birch's study conclusively showing that high-rise office development is not creating new jobs in the city. In fact, the study shows that job growth and new office space have an inverse relationship.

Using primary information from the Dun and Bradstreet Corporation, a nationwide marketing agency, and data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Birch study shows that small, locally owned, independent businesses were responsible for virtually all job growth in the city between the years of 1980 and 1984. The report raises serious questions about the accuracy of the economic projections used in nearly every environmental impact report published by the city during that same period.

The Bay Guardian reports that much of the high-rise boom is fueled by an excess of investment capital (thanks to deregulation of the Savings and Loan industry under President Ronald Reagan), not by any need for new office space.

Birch points to Houston as an example of what happens when a city assumes that builders are in fact responding to demand caused by downtown job expansion: "At a certain point the vacancy rate got so high that investors suddenly decided to pull out of Houston," Birch told the Bay Guardian. "When that happens, employment growth starts to decline in a matter of months, construction employment drops almost to zero, and all of a sudden, thousands of people in the building trades are out of work and there's no indication that the market will pick up anytime in the foreseeable future. Those people have nowhere to go if you're a human being, you have to worry about that kind of situation. It's certainly an argument in favor of holding construction at a level that keeps pace with demand.... If building trades leaders in San Francisco haven't thought about that, maybe they ought to call their buddies in Houston."

Meanwhile, the nonprofit San Francisco Information Clearinghouse completes its own study of small businesses in SoMa, which shows almost exactly what the Birch study showed: that small businesses create jobs and that the high-rise boom is in fact forcing them out of town.

Oct. 22, 1986 Birch does a second study for the Bay Guardian, assessing the city's job growth by zip codes. The paper also sends a team of researchers to scour the most recently completed downtown office buildings to find out who's working in them. The results of both studies are conclusive: There are almost no small businesses in the high-rises. And downtown is losing jobs every year, while neighborhoods and light-industrial areas are gaining workers.

Nov. 4, 1986 With the economic argument in favor of high-rises finally demolished, the most sweeping, innovative growth-control law in any U.S. city passes by a slim margin at the polls. Written by land-use lawyer Hestor, this initiative has the same ballot designation as its 1983 predecessor: Proposition M.

The initiative ordinance (a) requires the city to adopt a revised, consistent, and enforceable master plan by 1988; (b) imposes a limit on new commercial development citywide; (c) requires the city to establish an employment training and placement program for S.F. residents; (d) requires that a portion of the space allowed under the annual limit be earmarked for small buildings; and (e) pledges that the city's "diverse economic base be maintained" and protected from "displacement due to commercial office development."

The language in M actually mirrors the city's preexisting master plan, but Mayor Feinstein opposes this one because it will become official policy, rather than window dressing.

Prop. M has a lasting impact on the social movement that was founded through the previous growth-control measures. "The two M's categorically and fundamentally transformed what was an anti-high-rise movement into an assault on the economic elite of San Francisco and a broadening of the coalition to include people that the Duskin movement had totally ignored: neighborhood groups and community groups of color," community organizer Welch later recalls. "The goals of the movement became an alternative growth scenario, which included low-income housing. It was in that cauldron that the variety of community groups evolved and continued to press on a daily basis [for change]."

One unanticipated effect of Prop. M is that because it freezes development in SoMa, warehouses in that neighborhood are preserved and become a cheap resource perfect for start-up dot-com developers in the 1990s.

Dec. 8, 1987 Art Agnos is elected mayor on a strong environmental platform which he begins to dismantle almost as soon as he takes office. Agnos, like Moscone, appoints a few good planning commissioners Engmann and Jim Morales join Bierman on the Planning Commission.

October 1988 The Planning Commission passes the city's live-work ordinance, which allows artists to legally live in studio space in nonresidential areas of SoMa, Potrero Hill, and the northeast Mission. The artists who push for the law reject affordable housing proponents' request that the measure include provisions that will make any new units available to low-income people largely because at the time it seems hard to believe that anyone will want to build new live-work housing, or that anyone other than working artists would want to live in the rundown industrial areas of town.

November 1988 George Bush is elected president, and the nation begins an economic slide that will become a deep recession. The commercial real estate market collapses in almost every major city. Dozens of savings and loan institutions go bankrupt, costing the U.S. taxpayers more than $500 billion. Places such as Houston, Los Angeles, and Denver, which overbuilt and failed to heed warnings that the boom was based more on speculative capital than on real economic growth, are devastated.

San Francisco's recession is milder, in large part because the economy remains somewhat diversified and because the cap on new office development under Prop. M has kept the city from being too heavily overbuilt. Even the big real estate developers admit that Prop. M saved the S.F. economy.

Oct. 19, 1989 Loma Prieta fault produces a powerful earthquake, causing a section of the Cypress Structure elevated freeway and part of the Bay Bridge to collapse. The Embarcadero Freeway is closed, never to open again; in a few years it will be torn down for good.

Pro-development forces try to reopen the discussion of Prop. M, claiming that the city can't afford development restrictions in the wake of the earthquake.

Aug. 23, 1990 The Mission Bay project gets its first official approval from the Planning Commission, promising a huge profit for Catellus Corp. The plan is accepted despite many unresolved issues, including how much funding the city will have to provide, the imbalance between the number of new jobs the project will create and the amount of housing it will provide, and a vague cleanup plan for the toxic waste and hazardous materials on the site.

November 1990 Artists and grassroots community groups like the Haight Ashbury Switchboard and the North Mission News are ordered to move out of their 16th and Mission offices. An out-of-town developer wants to convert the building into more upscale offices.

November 1990 Voters approve Proposition H, stopping development of two waterfront hotels. The voters also refuse to approve a proposal to suspend the Prop. M office limits and allow Catellus to go ahead with its massive plan for Mission Bay. It's a major defeat for Agnos, who has insisted that Catellus offered the best deal the city was going to get.

Catellus says it will continue to seek city approval for Mission Bay in some form and indeed, a few months later it will come back with a deal that involves much more housing and less office space.

1991 Across the nation the recession is in full swing. Developers report building fewer new homes. The Federal Reserve blames the Persian Gulf crisis for declining activity. High vacancy rates in many cities discourage office development.

In San Francisco unemployment in building trades is at a 10-year high, commercial construction at its lowest in a decade.

1991 The Golden Gate National Park Association establishes the Presidio Council composed of high rollers from big business and academia, including representatives of Transamerica, PG&E, and the University of California to develop plans for converting the old military base into a national park.

May 22, 1991 The front page of the Examiner pronounces that the high-rise boom is dead.

Oct. 9, 1991 A Bay Guardian editorial notes, "What the opponents of Manhattanization predicted has come to pass.... The city is now in trouble not because it has opposed business, but because a series of mayors from Joe Alioto through Diane Feinstein and Art Agnos have given business leaders what they wanted. The downtown dream is turning into a nightmare. All those workers in their downtown high-rises are clogging the freeways and city streets. Well-paid workers, opportunistic real estate investors, and government policies drove up the price of housing."

Two of the four major mayoral candidates Tom Hsieh and Frank Jordan say Prop. M should be repealed, claiming that it stifles job growth.

December 1991 Jordan is elected mayor on a conservative, pro-business platform. Observers see it as not so much a change in city politics but a repudiation of the arrogance and lack of accountability that was widespread under the Agnos administration.

1992 The amount of office space leased downtown falls by 350,000 square feet, according to the real estate firm of Cushman and Wakefield. Large private projects disappear or are put on hold. Eight big projects with the potential to add 2.1 million square feet of office space have now been approved, but none are under construction.

1993 The much-celebrated Yerba Buena Center for the Arts opens with fanfare but very few of the thousands who were evicted are there to witness the occasion.

March 2, 1993 The Chronicle declares, "U.S. Office-Building Boom Is Over. Plenty of Skyline but No Demand." San Francisco's vacancy rate is 12.8 percent. Corporations have moved to the suburbs, and downtown firms are laying people off. Union membership in the Building and Construction Trades Council has fallen from 12,000 to 8,000 in the last two years; 30 percent of its members can't find work.

The Canadian developer Olympia and York, which had rights to build three office towers at YBC near Moscone Center, goes bankrupt; the city is forced to search for new developers.

Spring 1993 The Gap announces plans to build a new waterfront headquarters in San Francisco.

September 1993 As live-work proposals begin to creep their way into Potrero Hill, residents begin to get nervous. The northeast Mission is already seeing new live-work units that are attracting more wealthy residents and not necessarily artists. In a sentiment that will be repeated throughout the coming decade, community organizer Welch tells the Bay Guardian, "The problem with the artists' live-work ordinance is that developers are using it to shoehorn in fundamentally inappropriate, unaffordable housing."

October 1993 San Francisco adds the Center for the Arts and the adjacent 5.5-acre Esplanade to YBC for $82 million.

October 1993 Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) introduces legislation to establish a "public benefits corporation with certain essential authorities needed for the cost-effective management of the Presidio." The Presidio corporation would make its own rules and operate without any public oversight.

1994 Tides Foundation president Drummond Pike and private developer Tom Sargent propose to build 75,000 square feet of office space in the Presidio's Letterman Complex.

1994 HUD awards a $7.6 million grant to a collaborative of community groups to develop a 15-story residential structure, to be named the International Hotel Senior Housing Center, at the site of the original I-Hotel. Six years later, in October 2000, the site remains a gaping hole in the ground.

Jan. 12, 1994 Bay Guardian reporter Martín Espinoza exposes "The Presidio Power Grab": how a group of powerful businesses has quietly taken control of the Presidio planning process and is violating federal competitive-bidding laws by offering PG&E a $12 million deal to take over and refurbish the Presidio's electrical system.

As the Bay Guardian will continue to report over the next few years, the plan, including Pelosi's bill, amounts to the privatization of the Presidio and will allow developers to build anything they want without city oversight.

September 1994 With funding from the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, Netscape Corp. launches its Navigator software, kicking off the Internet revolution.

September 1994 With the economic slump officially over, Mission Bay developer Catellus unveils a whole new plan for the area, which includes a basketball arena, an entertainment complex, and a baseball stadium for the Giants.

April 1995 Catellus tries to jump-start the $2 billion Mission Bay project without complying with the 1991 development agreement it signed with the city. Catellus wants to build a huge Home Depot store on the site.

Sept. 6, 1995 The Bay Guardian reports that the northeast Mission is now home to several new trendy restaurants, dozens of live-work lofts, and a fast-growing community of artists' studios. Activists and residents worry about the displacement of the neighborhood's original dwellers.

Sept. 19, 1995 The House of Representatives votes in support of Pelosi's plan to privatize the Presidio.

Fall 1995 Venture capital flowing into the 415 area code totals $155 million.

December 1995 Willie Brown is elected mayor, with the support of quite a few environmental activists who see him as a progressive alternative to Jordan although other activists warn that Brown's historic ties to big developers are a dangerous sign.

April 16, 1996 Brown hosts an economic summit that highlights his commitment to downtown development. At the summit, Gap Inc. founder and chair Don Fisher presents the findings of an Arthur Andersen study arguing that the city should reduce development hurdles for the multimedia industry. The study was a joint effort of Arthur Andersen and the San Francisco Partnership, a pro-business group formed by Fisher.

July 26, 1996 Fifty-four activists, organized by Religious Witness with Homeless People, are arrested for barricading themselves in Presidio housing units. They demand that the park service preserve Wherry Housing for the homeless.

Nov. 5, 1996 Eighteen years after the Moscone and Milk killings spurred citizens to repeal the district election of supervisors, San Franciscans vote to give district elections another try by approving a ballot measure by 57 to 43 percent. This sets in motion the process of redrawing district lines in time to reelect all 11 supervisors by district in the fall of 2000.

April 18, 1997 President Bill Clinton names seven members of the private Presidio Trust (which will oversee development of the park), including Fisher, real estate lawyer Mary Murphy, and former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (under Bush) William Reilly.

The trust, created by Pelosi's privatization bill, makes it clear that housing for the homeless (or any low-income housing) is not a priority for the site; instead, the trust is looking for major developers who want to build office space in the park.

Spring 1997 Joe O'Donoghue, the powerful head of the Residential Builders Association, begins organizing a campaign to recall Supervisor Bierman, who pushes for the enforcement of live-work rules.

Jan. 22, 1998 The Planning Commission votes 4-2 to allow the construction of 10 "live-work" housing units on 17th Street in Potrero Hill, despite artists' protesting the abuse of the live-work ordinance for the development of pricey condominiums.

March 1998 The Planning Commission institutes interim guidelines on live-work development. The new rules require that the commission hold hearings on projects that would displace existing tenants. In the coming year the commission will approve 800 units and deny only 20.

April 11, 1998 SoMa club owners host a party at Transmission Theater to launch a campaign against live-work loft developments that are pushing clubs out of the neighborhood and threatening San Francisco's nightlife hub.

Oct. 19, 1998 The Board of Supervisors unanimously votes to implement a $4 billion Mission Bay Project that will create a new University of California life sciences campus. The project will include 6,009 housing units, 1,700 affordable. Catellus gets $140 million in tax increment bonds and development rites. Catellus refuses to open its books and reveal profit projections. Environmentalists and Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood groups object that the development will strain the city's sewage system and that untreated waste may overflow into the bay and creeks on rainy days. Catellus agrees to separate storm water from sewage.

Feb. 3, 1999 Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises Inc. plans to develop the historic Emporium building and neighboring structures into a $400 million, 1.5-million-square-foot complex including a Bloomingdale's, a hotel, and a 25-screen cinema. A Bay Guardian investigation reveals that the developer's plans for the site are not in compliance with several city laws, including height and density restrictions and rules protecting historic buildings. Forest City urges the Redevelopment Agency to expand the Yerba Buena Center Redevelopment Project Area to include the Emporium project, thereby allowing Forest City to ignore the city's laws.

March 23, 1999 Four companies bidding for development rights in the Presidio lay out their plans at a public meeting. Each calls for almost all of the land to be turned into an office park or a combination of offices, hotels, and housing.

Spring 1999 At the urging of activists, Supervisor Bierman proposes a moratorium on live-work developments.

April 22, 1999 At a Planning Commission meeting, consultants hired by the Planning Department report that the live-work construction boom threatens tens of thousands of industrial jobs.

Aug. 4, 1999 The Examiner reports that the city is losing more than $8 million because live-works aren't being subjected to normal residential development fees.

Aug. 4, 1999 A Bay Guardian investigation shows that George Lucas, who has won the rights to develop a huge office complex on 15 acres of land at the Presidio, will save more than $60 million in property taxes and development fees over the next 12 years for moving his headquarters from Marin County to the park.

Aug. 23, 1999 The Board of Supervisors votes to let builders continue to construct more than 1,000 live-work lofts in the city's industrial areas, shooting down Bierman's proposal for a six-month hiatus on live-work development. Board of Supervisors president Tom Ammiano offers a resolution that would eliminate the live-work loophole in the planning code and designate lofts as regular residential housing, which would prevent live-works from evading height and density restrictions, but that plan is defeated.

Fall 1999 Venture capital is pouring into the city at a rate of more than $20 million a day.

November 1999 A broad-based coalition of neighborhood activists and others left behind by the economic boom gather enough signatures to place Ammiano in the running as a write-in candidate for mayor. The Ammiano campaign galvanizes the city's progressive movement, but Brown with a campaign war chest of an unprecedented $6 million, most of it from developers is reelected mayor.

Dec. 22, 1999 Zoning administrator Mary Gallagher, whom activists say was taking a reasonable, measured approach to approving multimedia office construction in the Mission, Potrero Hill, and SoMa, is "removed" from her position by planning director Gerald Green (see "Sutro Sleaze," 5/31/00).

Feb. 25, 2000 At the urging of housing activist Welch, the mayor convenes a meeting of developers, city officials, and neighborhood activists in an effort to address the question of multimedia office development and whether Prop. M should be amended to accommodate it further. According to Welch, participants argue over a "hair ball" of issues involved in repealing the limit on annual office development in Prop. M.

Late April to early May, 2000 The Chamber of Commerce conducts polls aimed at sniffing out how voters feel about office development in San Francisco. The polls show that voters think there's too much development; support annual limits on development; have no confidence that the mayor is managing the city's growth appropriately; and might accept more office development, but only for a brief amount of time.

May 3, 2000 The Planning Commission considers developer SKS-Simon's plan for a five-story, 166,815-square-foot multimedia office building on Bryant Street between 19th and 20th Streets. It's one of the first commercial office projects of its size to be proposed for a neighborhood that is primarily residential and light industrial, and it's a dramatic sign of how the dot-com office boom is moving out of downtown and into the neighborhoods.

The proposed building is far too big for the lot, doesn't have enough parking, and would displace three existing businesses and studios for more than 50 artists. The Bay Guardian reveals that the developers contributed $100,000 to Brown's reelection campaign just a few weeks before the commission held its first hearings on the environmental impact report for the project. The Planning Commission will approve the project, with only commissioner Dennis Antenore dissenting.

May 31, 2000 Chamber of Commerce kicks off discussions aimed at coming up with a compromise between activists and developers over the city's annual office growth limits.

Spring 2000 Zoning administrator Larry Badiner is signing off on roughly three multimedia development projects every week. A Chamber of Commerce poll shows growing public support for new limits on office development in the neighborhoods.

June 2000 In the past year, landlords have filed 2,761 eviction notices with the Rent Board. Tenant activists say that another 3,000 were probably evicted for nonpayment of high rent.

June 26, 2000 Participants in the Chamber of Commerce talks present their compromise proposal to the mayor. It calls for letting developers blow the city's annual limit on office development each year for several years and then cutting back on commercial development in the years after that to compensate. The mayor dismisses the proposal.

June 26, 2000 The Board of Supervisors signs off on Bryant Square, a massive multimedia office complex in the Mission that becomes a flash point in the neighborhood's grassroots movement.

June 28, 2000 The supervisors vote 8-3 to uphold the Planning Commission's approval of the Bryant Square development, with only Ammiano, Bierman, and Mark Leno dissenting.

June 28, 2000 At the request of lobbyist Andrew Junius of Reuben and Alter, new zoning administrator Larry Badiner issues a ruling highly favorable to Junius's client. That client is Sup. Barbara Kaufman and her developer husband, Ronald. Badiner agrees that the Kaufmans' proposal to turn a Potrero Hill Ford maintenance center into an office building for Macromedia does not warrant an "office use" designation and is therefore not subject to the city's annual limit on office development.

June 28, 2000 More than 500 enraged Mission residents, organized by the Mission Anti-displacement Coalition, pack Horace Mann Middle School to express outrage at the city's approval of the Bryant Street Square project.

July 1-2, 2000 Neighborhood and housing activists meet and draft the "daughter of Prop. M," which becomes Proposition L on the ballot. The measure would prevent further intrusion of multimedia offices into residential areas.

July 13, 2000 Hundreds of activists rally on the steps of City Hall specifically to protest the mayor and his Planning Commission's policies allowing runaway office development in neighborhoods.

July 31, 2000 Supporters of Prop. L collect enough signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot.

Aug. 7, 2000 Participants in the Chamber of Commerce talks meet in the Mayor's Office to hear the mayor's alternative to the activists' Prop. L. There's not much discussion. The mayor demands the group's support of his plan, which will become Proposition K. The developers agree. Welch refuses.

Aug. 8, 2000 Lobbyists for developers reveal their hand in drafting Prop. K when they request approvals for a variety of office projects. Even though the contents of Prop. K are not yet public, they know that any requests made before Aug. 9 at 5 p.m. will be grandfathered in.

Aug. 9, 2000 The mayor puts Prop. K on the ballot much as Mayor Feinstein did to fight the growth-control movement in the 1980s to convince the voters that he has the situation under control.

Sept. 7, 2000 Hundreds of residents, angry about the disruption of their communities from unchecked office development, rally again on the steps of City Hall. The group proceeds to the Planning Commission meeting, and one activist gets body-slammed by a sheriff's deputy after refusing to obey the time limit on public comment.

Sept. 18, 2000 The mayor fires commissioner Antenore from the Planning Commission. Hardly a muckraker, Antenore was still the only member who ever questioned or raised points about inappropriate office development.

Sept. 27, 2000 The San Francisco Partnership, a group that boosts office development in the city, hosts a cocktail party and workshop on Prop. K.

Oct. 1, 2000 Bands that regularly practiced at Downtown Rehearsal, a Hunters Point facility, pack up their equipment and leave permanently. The owner evicted them in search of higher rent. Thousands of musicians are affected.

Savannah Blackwell contributed to this time line.