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Supervisor's Report

A once-in-a-lifetime election: June 5 special

Some brief thoughts about this election, for those tired of the status quo at City Hall and who believe San Francisco is still a city worth fighting for. One thing we can all agree on: This will be a historic election, no matter what.

THE MAYOR’S RACE

I served on the Board of Supervisors with Mark Leno and have always been impressed with his diplomacy, experience, and knowledge of the issues. In 2016, when Governor Brown tried to ram through the horrible one-size-fits-all “Development By Right” bill, Mark calmly helped us to negotiate a process to vet and ultimately defeat the bill. As a fiscal conservative, I also welcome Mark’s budget prowess in reigning in our $10 billion spending budget. Finally, Mark is a dear friend I have always admired for his integrity and decency. Mark would not only be our first openly gay mayor, but he would be the first independent voice we’ve had in Room 200 in a quarter of a century.

I have truly enjoyed working with Jane Kim since being back on the board. She is an intelligent and analytical legislator, who has made a name for herself as the board’s de-facto affordable housing negotiator and “big idea” pusher. We have tag-teamed on a number of progressive issues, including 2016’s Inclusionary Affordable Housing for All legislation, as well as legislation to stop fraudulent owner move-in evictions and reform campaign finance laws. Jane shares many of my general policy positions, including voting against regressive taxation and for corporate accountability. She would not only be the first Asian-American woman to be elected mayor, but she would be a pragmatic progressive voice in Room 200.

I have dual-endorsed them but encourage you to rank these two fine individuals as your heart compels you.

PROPOSITIONS A & B: COMMON SENSE CHARTER AMENDMENTS

I have two charter amendments on the ballot I hope you will support. I introduced Proposition A (the “Clean and Affordable Energy” measure) with fellow environmentalist Supervisor Katy Tang. It would expand the S.F. Public Utilities Commission’s (SFPUC) existing bonding authority to raise money for clean energy infrastructure, like they already do for water and sewer projects. SFPUC has an excellent track record on both safety and project delivery, and this measure will not impact taxpayers.
I introduced Proposition B (the “Commissioners Without Conflicts” good-government measure) to create a bright line between our electoral and local governance processes. This charter amendment would require candidates for local elected office to step down from boards and commissions established by the city charter and to which members are appointed versus elected. Public servants appointed to these high-profile bodies should not be in a position to compromise their public duty by raising money or attempting to earn endorsements from the individuals and entities that appear before them for major approvals and contracts. That’s why it’s been the unspoken rule for decades for appointed public servants to relinquish their positions of power when they decide to run for office — let’s codify that rule.

PROPOSITION C: CHILDCARE VS. PROPOSITION D: HOUSING, HOMELESS

My office co-chaired the Transportation Task Force 2045 with the mayor’s office for six months last year, which culminated in my December introduction of a thoroughly vetted proposal for a commercial rent tax that would generate $100 million annually for transportation operations and infrastructure.

Subsequently, I had two groups of colleagues who decided to use the same revenue source for their own expenditure ideas. In the interest of letting this policy debate play out and not having a passel of competing measures on the ballot, I withdrew my measure. Two competing tax measures remain.

Proposition C’s commercial tax raises $140 million annually for quality affordable childcare for all families in San Francisco, with a little extra money intended to fund a minimum compensation wage increase for nonprofit workers. Proposition C was put onto the ballot via a voter signature drive led by early childcare advocates.

Proposition D’s commercial tax raises $64 million annually, with some funds going to the Department of Homelessness and some going to the Mayor’s Office of Housing. Proposition D was put directly onto the ballot with no community or legislative process via four supervisors.

As a general rule, I believe if you’re going to levy a special tax to address two fairly intractable policy issues, you should go through a real vetting process. “Inclusionary Affordable Housing For All” measure in 2016 was informed by months of input from city and community experts, ultimately enabling us to pass the highest affordable housing requirements in the country. Unfortunately, Proposition D skipped this critical collaborative step. I’m also frankly disturbed that Proposition D employs a “poison pill” to try to kill off Proposition C’s childcare.

Ultimately, San Francisco still needs to figure out how we’re going to pay for the transportation infrastructure we so desperately need, and I reserve the right to try my commercial tax again in November should both Proposition C and Proposition D fail. That said, as the son of a social worker, I’m more inclined to support Proposition C’s big idea to provide affordable childcare to low- and middle-income families and pay our childcare workers a living wage, but vote as you will.

PROPOSITION H: POA ABUSE OF POWER

The Police Officers Association put Proposition H on the ballot to make a scene and provide a distraction from their horrible behavior over the last two years of federal investigations, racist scandals, and top brass turnover. The Police Commission voted to arm the SFPD with tasers last year, with the caveat that the commission would craft a taser oversight and use policy using Justice Department reforms. Proposition H strips the ability of the community, Police Commission, and chief of police to set common-sense taser policy and is an abuse of power, which is why several supervisors and the chief of police have opposed it.

 

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