As 2014 comes to an end, there is much to celebrate, from our World Champion San Francisco Giants to our thriving local economy and historic low unemployment numbers. There are also many challenges that need to be addressed in the coming year, from the increasing cost of living and housing to ensuring that our local economic success is shared by everyone. As the holidays swing into full gear, I wanted to provide a year in review of the major projects our office saw through in 2014, as well as a look ahead to what is in store for 2015.
Homelessness and mental health
Our office spent the beginning and middle of this year refocusing our city’s attention on individuals and families experiencing homelessness, and those suffering from severe mental health issues. We started off the year by hosting a hearing on our city’s expiring 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness, to start to dig deeper into the issue. We followed that up with eight hearings over five weeks during the peak of city budget season to continue to push for cost-effective and humane solutions, which include housing opportunities and support services. Last, we successfully expanded our city’s Homeless Outreach Team, so more skillfully trained public health workers are in our neighborhoods outreaching to more homeless individuals than ever before to connect them to housing and support services.
There is undoubtedly a mental health crisis across our country, and the same is true here in San Francisco. Unfortunately, some of the most severely mentally ill in our city are falling through the cracks of our mental health services system. Earlier this year, I passed Laura’s Law at the Board of Supervisors, which is a state law that allows for court-ordered mental health treatment services for those suffering from severe mental illness, so that they can be put on a path toward successful recovery. After previous failed attempts to pass Laura’s Law, I worked closely with my colleagues to secure support for the passage of the law, and we’re now seeing a cascading effect throughout the state as more and more counties continue to opt-in to Laura’s Law.
For many years, neighbors and open space advocates have been working together to turn the Francisco Reservoir on Russian Hill into a brand-new city park. Since first coming into office in 2011, I have been working closely with the surrounding neighborhood groups and open-space and environmental advocates to turn their idea into a reality; I am a firm believer that access to open space in our dense city is essential to enhancing and maintaining our quality of life here.
After multiple hearings and approvals at various boards and commissions, the Board of Supervisors unanimously supported the final approval that will turn the Francisco Reservoir into a brand new, 4.5-acre city park. In early 2015, our office will engage in a community-driven visioning process for the final design of the new park and help make sure that the project continues to move along smoothly.
Free WiFi in parks project
In May 2013, after two years of negotiations, I announced a generous gift from Google that would provide free Wi-Fi to 32 parks, plazas, and open spaces across San Francisco. After a year of installation at the various sites across the city, the service under #SFWiFi is now live after the official launch in October. Free Wi-Fi across many San Francisco parks, plazas, and open spaces will have numerous positive benefits and implications for our residents and visitors.
Our city should be a leader in bringing technological solutions to some of the civic issues and problems that we face. The free Wi-Fi in parks project is the first step toward a broader movement to increase Internet connectivity across our entire city. For a full list of the Wi-Fi in parks locations, you can visit the link here: sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=15191.
Re-election and looking ahead
I also spent much time this entire year out in the neighborhoods of District 2 speaking directly with residents about their top issues and concerns in my campaign to be re-elected as District 2 supervisor. I held many community events, and many residents graciously opened up their homes and invited their neighbors over to hear my vision for our district and San Francisco over the next four years. It is an absolute honor to have been re-elected with approximately 80 percent of the vote to continue to serve the district I grew up in and now raise my family in – it is something I will never take for granted.
With re-election comes much work ahead to continue to make our city a vibrant place to work and live for everyone, and I can’t wait to get started. As I look forward to next year, our office will be intensely focused on neighborhood issues within District 2 and across our city, working on legislation and projects to foster more low- and middle-income housing production to address concerns around affordability, continue our focus on reducing homelessness in San Francisco, and working to expand Internet connectivity across all of San Francisco, so that our residents can stay competitive in a accelerating digital age.
We’re proud of the work we were able to accomplish this year and look forward to making 2015 another successful year. Happy holidays to you and your family, and as always, please do not hesitate to reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 415-554-7752.