In June 2008, San Francisco voters were presented with dueling ballot measures concerning the former U.S. Navy property at Hunter's Point, the largest potential development in the city since World War II.
Local community groups and housing advocates wanted to make sure the current residents of the area, San Francisco's last Black enclave, got some of the planned units, so they backed a low income housing set-aside measure. Mayor Gavin Newsom, the Labor Council (led by the Building Trades unions), and many of the more malleable local non-profits lined up behind a plan to give the $1.2 billion project to the Lennar Corporation to remake the area. Lennar invested in a slick PR campaign. Not too surprisingly, the little guys got run over by big money and power.
All this came to mind as I read 13 Bankers -- Simon Johnson and James Kwak's dissection of the "The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown." Here is their metaphorical description of the frenzied phase of the housing bubble.
With the housing (and mortgage) market going bust, I guess San Franciscans looked like another flock to pluck...
More on 13 Bankers soon; it is intelligible and scary. Full disclosure here: I do some work with one of the local groups that got run over by Lennar's proposition.