Whether it was helping shape the local ballot in the two 2018 elections or passing every conceivable manner of legislation, 2018 was a busy time for the District 3 office.
ETHICS AND CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
After back-to-back elections fueled with nasty political attacks ads, I passed the Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance to help expose the coordination between independent expenditure committees and campaigns. Residents deserve to know who is trying to buy their votes, and this legislation went a long way toward ensuring transparency in elections.
My “Commissioners Without Conflicts” ballot measure also passed, eliminating the potential conflict when appointed commissioners run for elected office and use their influential position to raise money from the very people with business before their commission or board. With the passage of June’s Proposition B charter amendment, these commissioners now must resign their posts when they run for elected office.
After I co-chaired the Transportation Task Force 2045 through a six-month process with Mayor Lee, the task force released its final recommendations on revenue strategies to address the city’s $22 billion funding gap through 2045 for public transportation infrastructure and operations. One recommendation was an increased transportation sustainability fee (TSF). My subsequent legislation to increase the TSF for large commercial high-rises to address the citywide transit impacts of a booming downtown finally passed, and is expected to bring in $12 million annually.
Another recommendation was to pass a ride-share tax to help mitigate the congestion caused by the thousands of Uber and Lyft vehicles. Working with Assemblyman Phil Ting, we passed AB 1184, which reinforces the city’s authority to adopt a per-ride surcharge. San Franciscans will vote on this measure (which is expected to raise $30 million a year for public transit operations, street paving, and pedestrian and cyclist safety improvements) in November 2019.
TENANT PROTECTIONS AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING
After being approached by many tenants struggling with onerous, costly pass-throughs on top of their legal rent increases, I partnered with Supervisor Sandra Fewer to eliminate certain types of pass-throughs to protect tenants from debilitating rent increases that undermine the spirit of rent control and potentially lead to displacement.
After passing my Affordable Housing Preservation and Acquisition Bond in 2016, the city is finally ready to start issuing a quarter of a billion dollars in low-interest loan money for city agencies, nonprofits and for-profits to rehabilitate and/or acquire affordable housing stock. This past month, we provided the first of the funding to acquire a large low-income apartment building in Chinatown that was at risk of being purchased by speculators. Thankfully, it is now permanently affordable housing for seniors and families.
Last month I introduced the Housing Preservation and Expansion Reform Act. The time of illegally gutting and demolishing rent-controlled and historic housing to build mega-mansions is at last drawing to a close.
Finally, I am pushing to make my Accessory Dwelling Unit program as accessible and easy as possible. One of the top concerns of small property owners was access to financing and technical support. In a new relationship with the San Francisco Federal Credit Union, affordable loan products for mom-and-pop applicants are now available.
CALIFORNIA COASTAL COMMISSION
It is my honor to continue to serve on the oversight body of this critical statewide agency that has protected our coast since 1972. The commission accomplished some remarkable things in the past year, including finally taking on public access to the 8.5-mile stretch of coastline at Hollister Ranch in Santa Barbara County, fighting for public access to Martin’s Beach in San Mateo County, and adopting new regulations for adapting to sea-level rise along Ocean Beach in San Francisco.
On this past November’s ballot, I also sponsored a bond measure to reinforce our aging seawall in the face of sea-level rise and seismic vulnerability.
DISTRICT 3 AND BEYOND
My incredible team and I want to thank everyone who has made the past year of work meaningful and worth celebrating. In the Middle Polk neighborhood, we finally pushed through the Discover Polk Community Benefit District, which will ensure increased services to the entire neighborhood. Congratulations to Suzanne Markel-Fox and her amazing team. In North Beach, we finally secured Big Belly trash cans by working with the Telegraph Hill Dwellers, North Beach Citizens, North Beach Business Association, and North Beach Neighbors. It was your persistence that paid off — in Lower Polk, we funded a tenant landlord clinic to address housing instability and help navigate new laws, as well as fund alleyway improvements that are thriving. I want to thank my District 3 Youth Commissioner Maggie Dong; my SFCTA CAC representative, Rachel Zack; my SFMTA CAC rep, Queena Chen; and all of you who truly give so much of yourselves to serving this community. A grateful thank you and farewell to our Central Station captain, Paul Yep — and a heartfelt welcome to Bobby Yick, who will be taking his place. Last but not least, congratulations to District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani for being elected in her own right. I’ve known and respected her for more than a decade and look forward to working together as friends and colleagues in 2019.