Section 8 for millionaires…

Everyone knows that despite talk of a bubble, housing in the San Francisco Bay area is among the most expensive in the country. Yet, there’s still plenty of people, including a friend of mine who works as a wine critic at the Chronicle, who manage to keep up with their rent, despite making relatively modest salaries.

Too bad the same can’t be said for some of the top executives at McKesson (MCK), which disclosed in this proxy earlier today that three of its top five executives received "housing assistance payments" last year. Ironically enough, all three executives received over $1 million in salary and bonus in fiscal 2006 — significantly higher than the median income in San Francisco. Indeed, the largest housing assistance payment — $85K — went to executive vice president Paul Julian, whose salary and bonus was over $2.3 million last year. In fiscal 2005, Julian received another $160K in housing assistance.

Oddly enough, the proxy doesn’t explain why Julian received half as much for his housing needs in fiscal 2006 as he did in fiscal 2005. Granted, his salary and bonus were lower in fiscal 2005 — about $1.4 million. But given that the average Section 8 recipient in San Francisco reported annual income of $15K, it seems as if Julian and the other top McKesson execs should have been able to cover their own rent or mortgage payments without asking McKesson investors to pick up the tab.