tv UCTV Presents SFGTV October 22, 2020 2:00am-6:01am PDT
>> the san francisco playground's hitsvery dates back to 1927 when the area where the present playground and center is today was purchased by the city for $27,000. in the 1950s, the sen consider was expanded by then mayor robinson and the old gym was built. thanks to the passage of the 2008 clean and safe neighborhood parks bond, the sunset playground has undergone extensive renovation to its four acres of fields, courts, play grounds, community rooms, and historic gymnasium. >> here we are. 60 years and $14 million later, and we have got this beautiful, brand-new rec center completely accessible to the entire neighborhood. >> the new rec center houses multi-purpose rooms for all kinds of activities including basketball, line dancing, playing ping-pong and arts can crafts.
>> you can use it for whatever you want to do, you can do it here. >> on friday, november 16, the dedication and ribbon cutting took place at the sunset playground and recreation center, celebrating its renovation. it was raining, but the rain clearly did not dampen the spirits of the dignitaries, community members and children in attendance. [cheering and applauding] ♪ ♪ democracy, and our
leader of ruth bader ginsburg. the league of women voters is a san francisco nonpartisan political nonprofit. the league never endorses candidates, however, we do take stands on issues. we are committed to providing the resources that voters need to exercise this most fund amountal right of our democracy and be assured that our votes will be counted. please remember that you must be registered to vote by october 19. all registered voters will receive a mail ballot in early october, and options for in-person voting will be available, as well, both early and also on election day, november 3. please visit our website at
lwvsf.org/vote where you will find all of the resources that we offer. the league of women voters is a nonprofit organization. if you would like to get involved, please contact us or go to our website. i would like to introduce our moderator tonight, [inaudible] she was appointed by governor newsom as the chief of staff to the california public utilities commission in 2019. well come, luong. >> thank you, and welcome,
candidat candidates, to the forum for district 11 board of supervisors candidates forum. first, i'd like to remind you of our ground rules. responses should be on the issues and policy-related. candidates are expected to be respectful of other candidates and asked to not make personal attacks on other individuals. here are the procedures for this evening's forum. the candidates will have the opportunity to make 90-second opening and closing statements. opening statements will be in alphabetical order by first name. closing statements will be in reverse alphabetical order by first name. each candidate will have 90
seconds to answer questions. each candidate will have the opportunity to answer the same number of questions. any rebuttals may be included in the candidate's closing statement, which will be 90 seconds. a count downtimer will be displayed with a visual indication. the aspect of the forum will be equally fair to all candidates. thank you to our attendees tonight. you are in listen-only mode. the q&a and chat features are not active. this forum will be ordered and made -- recorded and made available on our website, lwvsf.org, our youtube channel, and sfgovtv channel.
tonight's forum will give you an opportunity to learn before you vote on november 3. now, let's begin. you will start off with 90-second statements in alphabetical order. [inaudible], and thank you for participating in this forum. please introduce yourself, tell us which neighborhood you live in, and why you are running for district 11 supervisor. we'll start with ahsha safai. you're on mute. >> okay. sorry. my name is supervisor ahsha safai. thank you to the san francisco league of women voters for having me tonight. i've proudly represented this district for the last four years. when i first ran for office, i had just been working with organized labor for almost a decade and cared deeply about
being a strong voice for working families. distri district 11 has one of the highest concentration of children and people under 19. we are the backbone of this city, the people that get up and make san francisco work fore every single day, and for the last four years, i've been a strong voice for those families every day. whether it was our green jobs legislation, whether it was ensuring we chad accessible affordable child care or a woman chief of staff when i was elected board of supervisors. this week honoring justice ginsburg, i'm very proud to say that the san francisco political women's committee, along with planned parenthood of northern california has given me their sole endorsements. i've been a fighter and working hard for my district. i'm very proud, and i look
forward to another four years. >> thank you. john avalos. >> good evening. it's really great to be here. i'm john avalos, and i'm a 22-year resident of district 11. i live in the excelsior neighborhood of district 11. i'm a father of two, fiance to raquel redondiez, and living with her. have a senior at balboa high, and a balboa graduate living with us in this neighborhood. i'm very honored to have this opportunity to experience representing people in district 11, minorities, people of color, working class, people who are teachers restaurant workers, a lot of people who are dealing with unemployment
at this time. we are in a real difficult situation with the pandemic and the economic crisis that we're in, and looking to bring back all of my work i did at the board of supervisors, working citywide to make sure we could have the resources for the entire city, but also working with residents here in district 11 so make sure we can build our parks and commercial corridors, making sure we have child care for our families, that we have families, support for our schoolworkers. thank you. >> marcella -- marcello colusi. >> thank you. my name is marcello colusi, and
i am running for district 11 supervisor. i am running because i was a worker in people's homes at one time, and they were shocked about what's going on in our city. i think we need to not do politics in between and do what is the most efficient for our residents. that's actually why i'm running for supervisor district 11 san francisco. >> thank you. now we'll move onto our questions for tonight. we'll start with ahsha. how do you define affordable housing, and what specific steps will you take to increase affordable housing in district 11? >> thank you. when i first got on the board
of supervisors, we were able to engage on the inclusionary housing program on the city. it's where we asked project sponsors to set aside a certain amount of housing as affordable. but the question was affordable for who? affordable for so long has been defined as extremely low-income. and what that meant was teachers, janitor's, nonprofit workers could afford to live in district 11, working class neighborhood, could no longer afford to live in san francisco. so i'm very proud to say we were able to expand the definition slightly, and prior to me coming into office, probably about 17 upts nits of affordable housing.
we have built 600 units, with 2,000 in the pipeline. we have worked with the mayor to purchase the city's largest acquisition in history, making 25 units affordable in perpetuity. >> thank you. marcello, same question. you're on mute. >> thank you. affordable housing for me is the people that work in our neighborhoods for minimum wage can afford here. i don't think that's going to end until the city of san francisco does what [inaudible] when you think about it, they have 40,000 employees, they
have $12 billion budget. the only reason that the housing is so expensive, the only reason the housing is so expensive is the builders are trying to make a profit. the moment you cut profits in between, it will be stop. the city needs to -- it will not stop. the city needs to open their own nonprofit. they have the opportunity, and they have everything to do it. >> john? >> thank you. affordable housing, to me, is where our housing costs no more than what a household of 120% area median income can afford, where they're paying no more than 30% of their income for housing. i also believe that we need to be building housing no more
than that, that rate, but also a large -- the largest amount of housing that is deeply affordable. here in district 11, we have a lot of households that are bundled up into single homes and need relief. a lot of them are very low-income and would benefit from having deeply affordable housing. for me, i've been working for years to expand finances for housing, affordable housing in san francisco, looking at various sources from our general fund to housing bond. i actually wrote the housing bond on 2015, and i wrote with the mayor of san francisco the housing trust fund in 2012. i'm excited about propositions i and propositions k that are on the ballot that are going to tax real estate transfers to bring in money for creation of municipal housing.
pr prop k would allow the city to create public housing, and i want to create a public bank that would shape how we create public housing to benefit all of san francisco. >> thank you. for the next question, we'll start with marcello. how about you ensure that the current residents of district 11 will be able to remain in their homes given the increased cost of living in san francisco and the economic downturn due to the covid-19 pandemic? >> it's going to have to involve everyone: the landlords, the tenants, the city. you have landlords that are making money on the properties, you have landlords that are barely making it or going on the rent, and because of that, you have to go case by case to
figure out who can do it and who is in deep trouble so that the moment that those landlords are going to lose their homes to [inaudible] and the same issue. the banking industry, as soon as they get a foreclosure they're going to start kicking people out. we're going to have a huge crisis, and we cannot have that. we have to work [inaudible] political issues trying to work for our residents and actually give our people, keep our residents at home. >> thank you. john? >> it's really tough to see what's happening right now for a lot of people living in the city and, of course, in district 11 households who are
unemployed or getting less unemployment money are now making difficult choices, whether to pay rent or mortgage or the food on the table. these are real-life issues and have a lot to do with what we've been experiencing for years but are now heightened during the pandemic and this economic crisis. as supervisor, i created and worked on various methods to allow people to stay in their homes. advancing tenant protections, we need to expand in that. as supervisor, i made it illegal to destroy rental housing, and that has protected thousands of units here in san francisco and district 11. i've also made it easier to set up a.d.u.s and accessory dwelling units are able to stay up and running. we have funding available through the city and d.b.i. for
people who want to modify those. i've worked to create principle reduction programs in san francisco so that we can actually ensure that a wide variety of people, homeowners and renters can stay in san francisco and not be threatened by the crisis that we're in and actually have faith that we can keep our residents here in the city. thank you. ahsha? >> thank you. i think there's a -- this is a very good question. it's about the immediate. it's about what we are going to do right now, today, because people are being he ievicted. they're getting sick and losing their jobs? one of the things we were able to do as supervisors were creating an eviction moratorium, so no one will be evicted during this health
crisis. myself and dean preston and others put that forward. but we also need to have rental assistance. if people have rental assistance, they will be able to pay their rent and the help they need to pay their mortgages. district 11, 94112, has the highest number of requests for rental assistance, and we've helped to facilitate that working with the q foundation. on a daily basis, people are calling us for assistance paying their rent. the other thing we need to do is open up our economy back in a safe manner. we've moved to orange. myself and supervisor peskin worked on legislation that's called our healthy and hotel ordinance. that will allow people to go back to work. when people go back to work, they have to go that they will be safe in their job, so we
created 80 hours of sick leave to help them. >> thank you. so the next question will start with john. what are your plans to bring equity and jobs, education, and economic development to the black communities in district 11, especially in the lakeview and sunnydale neighborhoods? >> thank you. i'm proud to have worked on the local hiring ordinance. back in 2010, i was the sponsor of it and worked closely with the african american community, with mike brown, who is the director of inner city youth at that time, to make sure that we were creating jobs with our public funds when we actuality built -- actually built municipal buildings. that's resulted in people being able to find jobs in the building trades here in san francisco.
and as supervisor are, i've actually worked over the years to develop the lakeview community collaborative, the lakeview community collaborative that is a number of organizations working together for a budget that serves them, that keeps programs running and going. it's been great to see that the work is ongoing, and based on that organization that we initiated back in 2010, that it's a workforce center now on broad street. and as supervisor, i want to do much more to actually look at the private sector and how we can do local hiring in the private sector, and anyone that wants to be doing -- setting up shop here at the office of economic and workforce development, to be able to provide small business support to hire local residents. >> thank you. ahsha? >> thank you.
it's a great question. if the folks in district 11 have felt ignored and not given the help they need, the blake families in lakeview felt even more like that. we looked at where the incarceration rate, drop out rate, homeless rate was, and based on those statistics from day one, we asked for and advocated for resources to go into black lakeview. we opened up the first jobs center in the district in that regard, right there on broad and capital. the mayor and i cut the ribbon on that last year. we are building a brand-new library in that area of town. we have invested in black-led organizations. i.t. book man, inner city youth, and i.t. first, all of which are invested in, promoting, and assisting the
black community and youth. i think that's what equity looks like. we didn't wait until the recent movement of black lives matter, we've been doing that from day one. another thing is empowering and uplifting folks from the black community to lead and advocate for themselves. that's what happened in a movement we called invest black. many folks in the community led that. they put their stamp on broad street, and we're very, very proud of that work. >> thank you. marcelo? >> i personally think that [inaudible] and what we have to do is train people to actually [inaudible] and to train them to work with their own businesses, even if it [inaudible] when somebody can have a small business in their house, they will not have to
commute. they will be producing money on a daily basis, and part of my idea is yujust to have small businesses over the place who can support each other. when you have small businesses working for corporations, and those corporations close down shop, and they leave, and those peoples are out of work. when you have a small business that's owned by the residents of the neighborhood, those small businesses survive, and they -- they thrive, and that's when the economy comes back. the idea is to push it, as much as we can, to train and to actually work with the residents to be able to open their own businesses. >> thank you. for the next question, we'll start with marcelo.
what do you consider to be the most important infrastructure improvements and projects needed for district 11? how did ywill you advocate fore projects? >> i think safe streets, to be able to walk to the store. [inaudible] i think that part is huge for our community basically because, like, the other candidates say, we have the most children -- most children will be able to say in their houses. they will be able to go to public schools, and the public schools [inaudible] we'll actually give that allocation to our kids, and those kids
will be able to [inaudible] coming from all over the place in two or three years. we owe it to those families. we have to be able to work on those projects to be able to uplift our communities. >> thank you. john? >> thank you. actually, i loved the question about community development. i think it's one of my greatest focuses when i was supervisor was working with the community from the grassroots up to define what we need for our districts so we can thrive and live and remain in the districts. so now, we're in real tough times, and we need to figure out how we can make real tough action, and the best thing we can do is have a whole new
economy centered around our whole future. and for me, that's a green new deal, and that includes all of the infrastructure that we're going to need for sustainable. number one is the housing investment. i mentioned some of the resources that we have on the ballot this year, prop i, and prop k. we also have other resources that have recently been approved with the prop c that has now been -- the funds have been released so we can use housing needs for a lot of people that are homeless in our district. we also need to put money into transit and build jobs around the creation of transit based on renewable energy. our parks are really a vital resource, and especially during the pandemic, we need to find a place to access nature and release ourselves. i want to be part of creating an urban ag system that will be mutual aid in our investment
efforts. we need slow streets, and that's why i'm petitioning to change d.b.i. with prop w. >> thank you. ahsha? >> one of the biggest things that we're working on right now is prop a, our mental health and recovery bond also for your parks. i advocated to ensure that crocker-amazon were included in that. the san francisco giants are going to supplement that. that would be more than a $30 million investment by the giants. another one is excelsior playground, definitely needs to be revitalized and redone, and then, another park. and then, continuing the
housing. we're in the process of building more housing than has ever been built in district 11. we have to see those projects through, and we have to find more funding to build more workplace housing and more affordable housing. the final one that i'm very proud of is the library. we're going to create the largest neighborhood library in the city. it's on the corner of orizaba and brotherhood. we're going to go from the smallest neighborhood library to the largest neighbor library. and then finally, we have a $20 million improvement to our neighborhood corridors. we have some of the highest fatality corridors, and that will begin in the spring. >> thank you. for this question, i'll start with ahsha. what funding for the police would you support going to
other specific services. what specific changes would you require to be in place before the change is implemented? >> it's a great question. some of the largest number of calls we get are people that are unhoused, people with mental health issues, and the police are often the first one to respond. in this ballot, as i said, prop a will have dollars for mental health. very pleased to see we were going to have additional dollars for mental health sf. was pleased to work with my colleagues supervisor hillary ronen and matt haney, along with the mayor. with the prop c being unlocked, winning that in the courts, that will mean additional dollars for mental health services. the police, one of the highest volume calls they get, have to
do with our mental health individuals, and it will allow the freeing up of police to go on other calls. and then, when we were able to have the resources, which we do now, and will come more, we need to have mental health professionals responding to those that are unhoused and have mental health crisis, and we have the ability to do that and transition nicely. >> thank you. john? >> thank you. we have, across the country, calls for defending the police. i've been looking at that issue, and what we need to
implement. for me, what we need to be doing is transforming completely how we do public safety work in san francisco and across the country. our policing has been based on racist institutions going back, you know, 150, 200 years, and we need to remake actually entirely how we do it. we need to narrow the intervention scope to what the police department does, but also putting a lot of resources into presvention, making sure that people have access to mental health care and addiction care and life sources that are out there. we need to make sure that we're putting in the resources like case managers and mental health
clinicians and have those in place before we start making cuts to the police department. i was really alarmed that we didn't do that now when the budget was wide open before us. we have a lot of people in district 11 who could benefit from mental health services, addiction services, a navigation center, and there's no place to do that. >> thank you. marcelo? >> thank you. what is -- this is the main question. we definitely need more resources, personally, i think, on mental health which has become an epidemic in san francisco on drug issues, which is also an issue. i was an e.m.t., and i consider
it bad at that time. the question is now do we have enough police on the streets to take care of the issues of the people who are out on the streets going to work? we have to look at this on a much different way than just cutting the funding of the police department. i do believe we need a lot more help on mental health and addiction. this is the main issue because the city is having a tough time, and this is not [inaudible] people are dying. i mean, people tell us every day, and [inaudible] and people are dying. it's unbelievable. san francisco has [inaudible] and at this time, you know,
like i said before -- >> thank you. >> thank you. >> for the next question, we'll start with john. how will you advocate for the current and future educational needs of children living in district 11? >> thank you. i'm really proud to have come out of coleman advocates for children and youth, an organization that's based in district 11 that is on the forefront of looking at education for children, youth, in san francisco. i was a community organizer with coleman advocates, and as supervisor in 2014, i had the first draft of the children's fund that expanded money for children, youth, and family services, early childhood education services, as well as transitional age youth as well
as expand the ed fund for our schools. we also have a ballot measure that's vitally important that we pass for our teachers. it's a tax -- i can't remember the number or the letter of it now, and we need to pass our schools and community first initiative, prop 15, on the california ballot, that will bring greater resources for education programs. it was night and day, the difference between 1978 and 1979, when prop 13 passed. now we can fix that. i look forward to working with community and labor to make sure that we are supporting households who are in our public schools. i also want to set up our hubs in our neighborhood schools so that our hubs can be places where families can access social workers, nutrition, and other services they need to continue to stay in their homes and continue to have good education experiences. >> thank you. marcelo? >> thank you.
so [inaudible] how much i fought the school district of school for [inaudible] for my kids and also equal needs for every student. we have a crisis in [inaudible] and san francisco does not have the resources that they deserve. and before the pandemic, and [inaudible] my idea was to get permission to dump funding into the school district -- the san francisco school district, to pool the resources on our kids because they're going to stay local, they're going to retire local after they come back from college. just dump as much as we can on
our kids in districtthe school district. thank you. >> thank you. ahsha? >> thank you. one of the things that's often left out of the conversation when we're talking about children and educational needs, are children from 0 to 5. it's one of the things that i've learned from president norman yee. he's been a lifelong advocate of children in preschools. actually, my headquarters for my campaign is in the largest nonprofit child care provider in the entire he city. very proud to have worked to ensure that they could buy their building and stabilize that. almost every project that we've worked on in this district, we've made sure there will be accessible, affordable child care. we don't have direct involvement in the schools. it's usually through the afterschool and summer programs.
we were very fortunate the first two years i was in office, we were able to use the educational enrichment fund, eraf, first year, $45 million, and after that, additional dollars into supporting our teachers and paras and educators in the school system. right now, i'm one of the sponsors of and supporters of prop j, which will open up, in year 1, 50 $50 to $60 million our school system. i'm a parent of two public school kids and have the most public school kids on the board of supervisors, so we have to continue to support that. >> thank you. for the next question, we'll start with john. how will you ensure that residents of district 11 have access to services and resources that will help them meet their basic needs as they struggle with the challenges of the covid-19 pandemic?
>> thank you. well, for ensuring that our residents have access to the services that we need, it's really about the budget, the city budget and making sure that the city budget works for working people. one of the biggest issues that i've spent most of my time working on was the city budget when i was in office, and before that, i was an advocate on the city budget, making sure we were providing more resources for seniors and children, youth, and families in particular. in 2009 and 2010, i got to chair the budget committee, overcoming two $500 million budget deficits each year. so i know a little bit how to move money around and to protect services, and we need to have this type of experience, especially now that chair fewer is leaving the
board of supervisors to actually craft our budget, so we are preserving the best of san francisco, our working people, to make sure that we can provide these fs iseservic. i've moved movie into -- money into different programs. thank you. >> thank you. marcelo. >> so this is a case where we have to start auditing where the money is going because in a 12 billion budget, there's a lot of money that's being wasted, and we need to figure out where that money is going
and put it in our communities that need it the most. this is the part, also [inaudible] have asked, the main issue, the lack of resources for decades into the poor communities. and we have to start noticing these communities and dumping it into those communities that really need, it desperately need it with the main issue of covid trying to come back from this [inaudible] thank you. >> thank you. ahsha? >> so during this crisis, this was -- this was not about theory anymore, this was about action. and we had to go with basically over the last eight months, my entire job has been about leading do you remember this crisis and ensuring that district 11 and the entire city had the resources, support, and safety net that we need. we've opened up and help to
support three meal distribution sites in district 11. we've distributed over 10,000 masks to individuals and 25,000 gloves and gallons of disinfectants supporting our small businesses. we worked with the board and the mayor to ensure that there was at least $10 million for undocumented families who have been completely left out of the recovery funds that have been created. we've fought for, advocated, and ensured that all workers in the city, all city workers would have access to 80 hours of sick leave, 80 hours of potential inquiry sick leave, and ensuring sick leave for businesses with 100 employees or more. we're working aggressively to
open up the economy safely to make sure that people can go back to work. we also worked with our child care providers to create a $100 million fund so they would have access grants to continue providing early childhood care. >> thank you. we'll start with marcelo. what is your plan to revitalize district 11. >> it comes down to [inaudible] somebody who's coming down to city hall to open a small business [inaudible] but if you don't help them open, those
small businesses [inaudible] we have to help them stay open for as long as they want. >> thank you. ahsha? >> thank you. when i first was elected, we initiated the excelsior outer mission district, and one of the goals was to create a business corridor. i was presented with a plan by individuals that talked about trying to rezone the entire randolph corridor. i was against that plan. it was not community driven, and it was really about
creating investment opportunities that would have essentially led to gentrification and displacement. so we need to ensure that whatever plans we put in order will be community driven and ensure that we're protecting existing businesses but also attracting new businesses that will complement. i'm very proud to say over the last four years that i've been in office, we've gotten dozens of businesses to open up along the corridor. there's still a very high number of vacancies along broad-randolph, as well as mission and geneva. but we're continuing -- every day, one of the first things i did in the planning process was change the law to allow arrested programming, and -- art programming, and that allowed a few businesses to get in there, and we're going to continue to do that. >> thank you. john? >> one of the biggest questions
we're facing is how do we revitalize our business corridor? we have the huge issue of amazon creating a zombie of our commercial corridors and our businesses around the world. one of the things that i want to do is looking at passing prop b. the votership process prop b so we can have a process of making sure our corridors are clean, and we're picking up garbage. i want to look at our empty spaces and use them effectively, doing mutual aid work, but also shared space that a lot of our immigrant businesses can operate in. our city nickels and dimes our small businesses, and i want to waive that when we are in this economic crisis. i also want to make sure that we create a grant program that
supports businesses not just on mission and geneva, but also on broad and randolph streets. we want to make sure that we're building from the grassroots up and making sure that our metrics are being defined by the residents and not by the city. the city has a one-size-fits-all to support our businesses, and what works on divisadero doesn't work for us. >> thank you. and now we'll be going to the final question, and we'll start with ahsha. proposition 15 is the california state ballot measure that would change the method for assessing property taxes on commercial properties with the goal of creating additional funding for schools and local communities. if this proposition passes, and additional community funding
becomes available, how would you propose that san francisco use the increased revenue? >> thank you. well, as a proud supporter of the san francisco labor council, i fully support prop 15 to change the split role tax. this will infuse millions of dollars into our schools and community. i think the first priority has to be the educational system, public education system. we would go to a process of working hand in hand with our school boards and community organizations. i also think there would have to be a conversation from our human rights commission, director sheryl davis, and looking at things through an equity lens. i think that's one of the things that i've been proud of during my time on the board of supervisors, as well, is
ensuring that the office of racial equity is looking at things through that lens. one of the saddest things of covid right now has been expanding and enhancing the learning experiences for brala and brown communities. those schools that are underperforming, those schools that need the additional resources, and our educators would have the financial support that they need. >> thank you. john? >> yes, really important question. we're hoping that prop 15 passes, so vote for prop 15 all
across the state of california. i'm proud to say that i'm endorsed by the united educators of san francisco who are teaching our students, they are our teachers and paras in san francisco. i agree, we need to be putting our greatest investments in our public education system and city college. city college will be a lynch pin for making sure that people are prepared for the recovery and we're building toward a sustainable future. how we're building industries with qualified trained workers who can help rebuild san francisco, our housing, our transit, to make sure that everything is working well. this is the housing of the future, and prop 15 can provide vital funding for that, as well. we also need to make sure that our department of public health
has resources to protect people during the pandemic, and making sure that p.p.e. can be distributed well throughout our neighborhoods so that we can be protected against the spread, as well. those are areas that i would want to make sure that are funded with revenue from prop 15. >> thank you. marcelo? >> first of all, i think it needs to be used to support education during the pandemic, but people who love their jobs, they are about to go off unemployment and if we don't support those people [inaudible] in particular, they will be homeless. they will create a much wider [inaudible] we need to dump funding into people that need
it the most. [inaudible] for the workers that are behind the desks, checking out who needs the help. it's a monumental task. we need to work together, we need to work with common sense, and we need to work hard to be able to approach this main issue. the money [inaudible] the money isn't there, so we need to use it wisely. thank you. >> thank you. now we come to the candidates' closing statements. we will do the closing statements in reverse alphabetical order, and remember that you have 90 seconds. the order will be marce
marcelo colusi, john avalos, and ahsha safai. marcelo? >> thank you. [inaudible] almovote your hear vote who you believe in. [inaudible] but i am trying to change things for the better. [inaudible] if we don't do that, we're going to see the situation worse than what we have created today [inaudible] thank you very much for the opportunity. >> thank you. >> thank you for -- >> john? >> -- for this evening. it's been really great to share
my experience and aspirations for elected office. you know, when i ran for reelection in 2012, i didn't have an opponent, and i really missed the opportunity to reconnect with people in my district, and i'm doing that now, and it's the most incredible experience in my life, most humbling experience i've ever had. i want to be a supervisor who can work with everyone, regardless of people's political point of view. i want to be a supervisor who can actually share the city's resources and the pulpit that we have together so that city hall can look after us and take care of our needs. i want to say i have the number one endorsement of the democratic party. i also have the sole
endorsement of the district 11 democratic club. i'm supported by the nurses union number 1, health care workers number 1 and educators in our city college, and s.f. unified school district. these are voices that i want to -- organizations that i want to bring together to make sure that we have voices speaking that can represent us. i've served this district before, and i can do it again with your support. >> thank you. ahsha? >> thank you. as the current supervisor of district 11, this has been a wonderful four years. i'm very proud to say that we have made progress. when i ran office, i heard over and over again that people were tired of being treated like the
forgeten peop forgotten people of san francisco. we've build homes, built a brand-new pool. we're building a brand-new housing. we're peop we've planted over 2,000 trees. no other part of san francisco comes close to that, and we're doing it on a daily basis. we've worked in collaboration with first mayor lee, and now mayor breed, and they have made district 11 a priority, and i feel it, and i hear it on a daily basis. when i first ran for office, i knocked on 7,000 doors. i'm not able to do that because of the pandemic, but i've spoken to many people over the past few months. i'm the sole endorsed candidate of san francisco labor council. i have speaker pelosi's sole support.
i have congress woman dianne feinstein, along with the san francisco building trades, and i'm going to continue to fight for working people in the next four years if i' have i am -- f i'm reelected. thank you. >> thank you. on behalf of the league of women voters of san francisco, our thanks to our candidates for participating. and thanks for taking the time to inform yourself of the choices you need to make by november 3. please remember to register to vote if you aren't already registered and urge others to registered. if you've changed your name or you've moved, you need to register again at your new address. and if you'll be voting by mail this year, please be sure that your ballot will be counted by ensuring that your ballot is dropped off at your polling
>> i am the supervisor of district one. i am sandra lee fewer. [♪] >> i moved to the richmond district in 1950 mine. i was two years old. i moved from chinatown and we were one of the first asian families to move out here. [♪] >> when my mother decided to buy that house, nobody knew where it was. it seems so far away. for a long time, we were the only chinese family there but we started to see the areas of growth to serve a larger chinese population. the stress was storage of the birthplace of that. my father would have to go to chinatown for dim sum and i
remember one day he came home and said, there is one here now. it just started to grow very organically. it is the same thing with the russian population, which is another very large ethnic group in the richmond district. as russia started to move in, we saw more russian stores. so parts of the richmond is very concentrated with the russian community and immigrant russian community, and also a chinese immigrant community. [♪] >> i think as living here in the richmond, we really appreciate the fact that we are surrounded three natural barriers. they are beautiful barriers. the presidio which gives us so many trails to walk through, ocean beach, for families to just go to the beach and be in the pacific ocean. we also also have a national park service.
we boarded the golden gate national recreation area so there is a lot of activity to do in the summer time you see people with bonfires. but really families enjoying the beach and the pacific ocean during the rest of the time of year. [♪] >> and golden gate park where we have so many of our treasures here. we have the tea garden, the museum and the academy of sciences. not to mention the wonderful playgrounds that we have here in richmond. this is why i say the richmond is a great place for families. the theatre is a treasure in our neighborhood. it has been around for a very long time. is one of our two neighborhood theatres that we have here. i moved here when i was 1959 when i was two years old. we would always go here. i love these neighborhood theatres. it is one of the places that has not only a landmark in the
richmond district, but also in san francisco. small theatres showing one or two films. a unique -- they are unique also to the neighborhood and san francisco. >> where we are today is the heart of the richmond district. with what is unique is that it is also small businesses. there is a different retail here it is mom and pop opening up businesses. and providing for the neighborhood. this is what we love about the streets. the cora door starts on clement street and goes all the way down to the end of clement where you will see small businesses even towards 32nd. at the core of it is right here between here and 20 -- tenth avenue. when we see this variety of stores offered here, it is very unique then of the -- any other part of san francisco.
there is traditional irish music which you don't get hardly anywhere in san francisco. some places have this long legacy of serving ice cream and being a hangout for families to have a sunday afternoon ice cream. and then also, we see grocery stores. and also these restaurants that are just new here, but also thriving. [♪] >> we are seeing restaurants being switched over by hand, new owners, but what we are seeing is a vibrancy of clement street still being recaptured within new businesses that are coming in. that is a really great thing to see. i don't know when i started to shop here, but it was probably a very, very long time ago. i like to cook a lot but i like to cook chinese food. the market is the place i like to come to once a year. once i like about the market as it is very affordable. it has fresh produce and fresh
meat. also, seafood. but they also offer a large selection of condiments and sauces and noodles. a variety of rice that they have is tremendous. i don't thank you can find a variety like that anywhere else. >> hi. i am kevin wong. i am the manager. in 1989 we move from chinatown to richmond district. we have opened for a bit, over 29 years. we carry products from thailand, japan, indonesia, vietnam, singapore and india. we try to keep everything fresh daily. so a customer can get the best out a bit. >> normally during crab season in november, this is the first place i hit. because they have really just really fresh crab. this is something my family really likes for me to make.
also, from my traditional chinese food, i love to make a kale soup. they cut it to the size they really want. i am probably here once a week. i'm very familiar with the aisles and they know everyone who is a cashier -- cashier here i know when people come into a market such as this, it looks like an asian supermarkets, which it is and sometimes it can be intimidating. we don't speak the language and many of the labels are in chinese, you may not know what to buy or if it is the proper ingredients for the recipe are trying to make. i do see a lot of people here with a recipe card or sometimes with a magazine and they are looking for specific items. the staff here is very helpful. i speak very little chinese here myself. thinks that i'm not sure about, i asked the clerk his and i say is this what i need? is this what i should be making? and they actually really helped me. they will bring me to the aisle and say this is battery.
they are very knowledgeable. very friendly. i think they are here to serve not only the asian community but to serve all communities in the richmond district and in san francisco. [♪] >> what is wonderful about living here is that even though our july is a very foggy and overcast, best neighborhood, the sleepy part outside on the west side is so rich with history, but also with all the amenities that are offered. >> as a woman of color who grew up in san francisco i understand how institutions can have an impact on communities of color. i think having my voice was important. that is where my passion lies
when the opportunity to lead an office in such a new space came up. i couldn't turn it down. i was with the district attorney's office for a little over nine years, if you include the time as an intern as well as volunteer da, all most 13 years. during the time with the da's office i had an opportunity to serve the community not only as the assistant district attorney but as director of community relations. that afforded the opportunity to have impact on the community in an immediate way. it is one thing to work to serve the rights of those without rights, victims. it is really rewarding to work
to to further the goals of our office and the commitment we have as city employees and advocates for people who don't have a voice. i don't know of anyone surprised to see me in this role. maybe people have an impression what the director of the office of cannabis should be like, what their beliefs should be. i smash all of that. you grew up in the inner city of san francisco. my career path is not traditional. i don't think a person should limit themselves to reach full potential. i say that to young women and girls. that is important. you want to see leadership that looks diverse because your path is not predetermined. i didn't wake up thinking i was going to be a prosecutor in my life. the city administrator reached out and wanted to have a conversation and gave me interest in the new role. i thought you must not know what i do for a living.
it was the opposite. she had foresight in realizing it would be helpful for somebody not only a former prosecutor but interested in shaping criminal justice reform for the city would be the right person for the space. i appreciate the foresight of the mayor to be open how we can be leaders in san francisco. i was able to transition to the policy space. here i was able to work on legislation, community relations, communication and start to shape the ways our office was going to reform the criminal justice system. it is fulfilling for me. i could create programs and see those impact people's lives. i am the change. it took truants youth to meet with civil rights movement leaders who fought to have access to education.
being a young person to understand that helped the young people realize this was an important thing to give up. what we find is that young people who are truanted have a really high homicide rate in our city, which is a sad statistic. we want to change that. >> coming from a community we are black and brown. i don't reach out to other people. i don't think they feel the same way. >> i had the great opportunity to work on prison reform issues and criminal justice reform issues. we created a program at san quentin where we brought district opportunities t to lifs and talk about how we are all impacted by the criminal justice system. we brought over 40 elected das to san quentin for the situation. now we are inviting the police department. our formerly incarcerated group
born out of this programming asked for the opportunity to work on a project where we could bring the men in blue on the outside to come speak to the men on blue inside to start the healing dialogue around how the criminal justice system specifically in san francisco impacts the community. i was attracted to the role. there was a component of equity that was part of this process. the equity community here in san francisco is a community that i had already worked with. before i took steps to visit cannabis businesses i thought it was important my team have a chance to go inside and speak to men who ha had been impacted. that conversation needed to happen so we know how we are making an impact with the work that we are doing. the da's office as we were leading up to the legalization of marijuana in the state we started having conversations on the policy team what that could
look like. the district attorney was really focused on the right side of history for this. we realized it would be quite a heavy lift for individuals who have been negatively impacted by the war on drugs to expunge the record. it was important to figure out the framework to make it seamless and easy. they put their minds to it after some time and many conversations the data analysts and other policy walk throughs on the team came up with the idea to engage the tech community in this process. code for america helped us developed the rhythm to be used for any jurisdiction across the state that was important to create a solution to be used to assist all jurisdictions dealing with this matter. the office of cannabis is the first office to have a completely digital application
process. we worked with the digital team to develop the online application. there are going to be hiccups. we are first to do it. it is one of the most rewarding parts to offer a seamless -- to offer a seamless approach. that is how they can find solutions to solve many of the community challenges. the best way to respond to prop 64 was to retroactively expunge 9,000 cannabis related records for san francisco. it feels like justice full circle for my personal experience. in the past i was furthering the war on drugs just as my directive. really coming from a place of public safety. that was the mandate and understanding. it is nice to see that pass a society we are able to look at some of our laws and say, you
know what? we got it wrong. let's get this right. i had the privilege of being in the existing framework. my predecessor nicole elliott did an incredible job bringing together the individuals super-passionate about cannabis. >> the office was created in july of 2017. i came in early 2018. i have been able to see the office's development over time which is nice. it is exciting to be in the space, stickily in thinking about her leadership. >> looking for the office it is always we might be before my time when i was working for the board oforboard of supervisors. i learn new things every day it is challenging and rewarding for me. >> we get the privilege to work in an office tha that is innova.
we get to spearhead the robust exprogram. >> i am excited she came on board to leverage experience as a prosecutor 10 years as we contemplate enforcements but approaching it without replicating the war on drugs. >> i was hired by cam laharris. i haven't seen a district attorney that looked kind of like me. that could be a path in my life. i might not have considered it. it is important that women and certainly women of color and spaces of leadership really do their part to bring on and mentor as many young people as they can. it is superimportant to take advantage of as many opportunities a as they can when they can intern because the doors are wide open. plans change and that is okay. the way this was shaped because i took a risk to try something
new and explore something and show that i was capable. you are capable, right? it was about leaning in and being at the table to say my voice matters. you find your passion, the sky >> we're here to raise he sky awareness and money and fork for a good accuse. we have this incredible gift probably the widest range of restaurant and count ii destines in any district in the city right here in the mission intricate why don't we capture that to support the mission youths going to college that's for the food for thought.
we didn't have a signature font for our orientation that's a 40-year-old organization. mission graduates have helped me to develop special as an individual they've helped me figure out and provide the tools for me that i need i feel successful in life >> their core above emission and goal is in line with our values. the ferraris yes, we made 48 thousand >> they were on top of that it's a no-brainer for us. >> we're in and fifth year and be able to expand out and tonight is your ungrammatical truck food for thought. food truck for thought is an
opportunity to eat from a variety of different vendor that are supporting the mission graduates by coming and representing at the parks >> we're giving a prude of our to give people the opportunity to get an education. people come back and can you tell me and enjoy our food. all the vendor are xooment a portion of their precedes the money is going back in >> what's the best thing to do in terms of moving the needle for the folks we thought higher education is the tool to move young people. >> i'm also a college student i go to berkley and 90 percent of
>> all right, welcome, everyone. [applause] today is the day, dr. colfax. today is the day. it's the day that our kids get back to the serious business of play, and so i'm thrilled to be here with our mayor, supervisor safai and our director of public health, and many community leaders and wonderful people to celebrate the re-opening of playgrounds all across the city starting right now. we are here at mersed heights, so we're not just opening up the gates to playgrounds but we're also cutting ribbons on five amazing playgrounds that have just been waiting for children that have been renovated through the let's play s.f. initiative,
which is is an incredible partnership between the recreation and the park department and the parks alliance, san francisco voters who support park bonds, and through let's play s.f. we're actually transforming 13 playgrounds that have been loved to death across our city and to creative places that spark imagination, connection, and healthy bodies and minds. so without further adieu it is my great pleasure to introduce our parks champion-in-chief who has been a great nudge to make this happen. thank you, mayor. >> thank you. and thank you, phil, and thank you to all of the families in san francisco for your understanding and your patience as we deal with a very, very challenging time, one that none of us could have ever predicted. and i'm so excited to be here at mersed heights because i know
how hard this community worked to get this park to be a priority. for so many years -- i see mary harris over there shaking her head hard. for so many years, and a lot of the people in this community, they have been fighting to make sure that this part of town receives the support and the attention that it deserves. there are families here and there are generations of kids growing up in this neighborhood and in this community. and they deserved the opportunity to make sure that we rebuild the library, which your supervisor is pushing for. that we rebuild the parks and all of the other amenities that make life so great in san francisco. and here we are, because i'll tell you, supervisor, not too long ago i know that we came here, and we cut the ribbon -- or we broke the ground -- and this happened really fast. this is pretty amazing.
and, you know, to make a park like this to happen, and it is absolutely beautiful! it is so amazing. and i am so happy that today finally kids will be able to play in playgrounds all over san francisco. this is amazing. and i'll tell you that the reason why i'm so happy, because it is hard for children right now. you know, our private schools have opened and our public schools haven't. kids are not in school and they're in front of a screen on a regular basis. and that is not good for them. we know that it's not good for them. it's why i have been putting, of course, as much pressure as i can on the public to do our part to wear our masks and to wash our hands and to socially distance ourselves, and as much as we want to be around each other we have to make sacrifices for our children.
so that they can go back to school, so they can play in playgrounds, so they can have a well-rounded life, because just imagine -- this is hard on us as adults. just imagine how much harder it is on kids. how tough it is, and how we are seeing even now -- even though we're providing devices and internet and other resources to kids, the achievement gap is still growing wide. so we have a lot of work to do. and that's why today is so amazing. and it's so exciting. because it's not just that we're opening up all of these playgrounds, we have renovated a number of playgrounds in san francisco, and so kids are going to have an opportunity to just enjoy something new and exciting in the city. i am excited and i'm grateful to you, phil, and i'm grateful to the parks alliance and the let's
play initiative and all of the friends of mersed heights, you will hear from some community members here today, because this work happened because of this community. this work happened because you had an incredible leader in supervisor safai. so with strong leadership, with strong community support, with collaboration and with years -- wait -- decades of advocacy, you have made something incredible happen for the kids of this community, for the kids who are part of this learning hub, who are hoping that this press conference is over as quick as possible so they can come and play in this playground. in fact, it won't bother me if they play on the playground during this conference, just let them have a good time. because that's where we are now. and what this also does is that it gives us hope. it gives us hope that the time that we've spent in isolation, the time that we have spent, you
know, doing what we needed to do during this pandemic, we know that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. we know that good things can happen if we all do our part. and so i really, really, really want to thank all of you so much for being here, so much for continuing to support our parks and the bonds that the voters have always voted to support because that's how this happens. and it is amazing, and it's a beautiful day, and, supervisor, you should be so proud of what you have been able to accomplish for this community, unlike never before, and we are so grateful for your strong advocacy and leadership. and, ladies and gentlemen, i want to introduce the district 11 supervisor, supervisor safai. [applause] >> thank you, madam mayor. this day is super special. i'll just say that. when i first started working in
this community, the mantra was, why are we always treated like the forgotten part of san francisco? why are we not getting our fair share? why are the working people -- why are the hard-working people that get up and make this city run every day treated like this? and if you saw this playground, if you saw this fence, right, phil, it looked like a prison yard fence. it looked like something that you would never want to bring your family to. the same at mersed -- excuse me, allis-chalmers that is open today. and they used to ride by that to say look at how awful this park is, will you please give us money, because down the street was daily city and it was shining. but i can say with full confidence that this community fought hard, this community advocated and never gave up. i want to give a special shoutout to renard menro,
working here tirelessly on a little island by himself, using every little resource he has, going into his own pockets often, to make sure that this community had something. i want to thank miss wilma gardner, she couldn't join us today and she lives right across the street there and said i want to see this park rebuilt before i die. that's what she told me when i met her years ago. and i'm sorry that she couldn't be here today. there's a lot of people that couldn't actually physically be here, but all of their blood, sweat and tears went into this. i want to thank phil ginsburg and his staff. they have made a commitment to ensuring that the neighborhoods that have the most children, like ours, under the age of 18 get their fair share. and all of their hard-working staff. and i want to especially thank miss mayor, madam, london breed, because every single thing -- now don't get jealous of the
supervisors -- every single thing that i have brought to her to talk about this community she has said, yes. when we asked her for a new library, she said, yes. when we asked her for a new job center, she funded that and we opened that up a year ago to this day. when we said three years ago -- not recently -- but three years ago when we said that the african american community is hurting she said, asha, you don't need to tell me, i know. and i said we're investing in this, and she said, yes. so this is one big step forward and i want to thank all of the people that have been involved in this, and all of the people that have dedicated themselves to this, and to all of the children and families that will enjoy this for many, many years to come. this is a new day in district 11, thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, supervisor safai. the mayor and the supervisor, you know, eloquently articulated
the importance of this moment. playgrounds are happy, they're joyous, but for children and their development and their social and emotional development and their ability to problem solve and the ability to take risks and the ability to share and to collaborate, this is really serious stuff to get kids back on our playgrounds again. i think that the mayor said it, that kids have taken it on the chin a little bit during this pandemic, let's be honest. and i'm grateful to the mayor and to supervisor safai and the community for screaming out on behalf of our children. we have to now do the right thing. playgrounds are open. we need to keep our kids safe and our families safe. so, please -- yes, there are rules and there are capacity limits. there are -- we are supposed to continue to social distance and continue to wear a mask, right? do not eat and drink in these spaces. let's all do the right things so that our children and san francisco families can be
healthy. so the last point they want to make before bringing up our next speaker -- yes, thank you, mayor. okay, do not -- if you are a parent, when you bring your kid to a playground, do not do this -- pay attention. no cellphone. pay attention to where your kids are and how they're engaging on these spaces. again, the goal here is only to allow our kids to have the freedom to play and to do it in a healthy way. one last point which is that this should be a reminder as both the mayor and supervisor safai mentioned about the importance of investing in our parks. san francisco has the best park system in the united states of america. it is 150 years old. but we have to continue to invest in it, continue to nurture in it so we no longer have fences that look like jails and playgrounds that aren't deserving of the children who use them. so i want to thank all san francisco voters for supporting
the 2012 clean and safe neighborhoods park fund, without which we would not be here today. our most important partner in all of this are our friends at the department of public health who have as a tough a job as anybody right now in trying to figure out how to allow us to safely resume some sense of normalcy. and i am incredibly grateful to dr. colfax and dr. aragon and their team for working with us and truly understanding the importance and the urgency of opening up playgrounds. so dr. colfax, the mic is yours. >> well, thank you, director ginsburg, and really to acknowledge our gratitude to mayor breed, supervisors safai, director su, and mr. robert ellis for their leadership in this work. you know that there's been so many challenging days during this pandemic.
and so many sad days. and this is such a day of gratitude and beauty. look out it here, and look at the kids playing. this is a pivotal moment as we work together to slow the spread of covid and realize that our children must go back to doing the things that we know that are important for their health and their family's health and the communities' health. the reopening of the playgrounds is an opportunity to get our kids back something that we haven't done since march, march. incredible. we at the health department are so happy to be here as we have worked to get san francisco to this place. to back to where kids can get in an environment where they can thrive, starting with school programs, community hubs, and elementary schools, step-by-step, and now playgrounds. we have made tremendous progress as a city. and we know that the sacrifice
and the dedications of our families and our communities have made the contributions that have succeeded in slowing the spread of covid-19 virus. and i thank you. we thank you. and we want all of our children -- all of our children -- to continue to enjoy the reopening of activities. and so parents, we need your help in ensuring that we open playgrounds as safely as possible. when visiting playgrounds, please be sure that your family follows the health and safety rules for playground visitors. prepare your family for less children and for socially distanced fun. and i wouldn't be doing my job, you know what comes next, if i wouldn't remind people to, please, wear a face covering. they are required for all playground visitors, aged 2 and
over. please limit your stay to 30 minutes when other households are present, so that other people can also enjoy the playground. and, please, practice that good hygiene. and although playgrounds are outdoors, we still want to be cautious. we need everyone's help in sustaining our gain and the progress that we have made. so let's have fun today. let's take advantage of these beautiful seasonal days that we have in san francisco, and, again, thank you mayor breed, supervisor safai and director ginsburg for your partnership and work. and everyone, let's continue to play it safe. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, dr. colfax. so we're now going to hear from two important community members that have fought for children and for families in this neighborhood. our first speaker, renard monroe, the executive director of youth first. you've been amazing. thank you for your partnership in our community hub program.
i want to acknowledge executive director, dr. mariea su, my partner in crime and all things kids and families. but, ménard, you are running a model program and you're doing it for kids who really need the support. and we're so grateful to you for your help in keeping these spaces safe and clean. please come up and say a few words. [applause] >> good afternoon. this is a bittersweet moment for us as a community, because there are some people before ménard who really put in some hard work to make sure that we have this space for the children and our community. and i need to acknowledge a few people who didn't make it to see this day. our neighbor, she lived right there, her name was karen mccoy. [applause]
she fought and she fought and she had phil's number on speed dial trying to get this place renovated. she didn't make it to see it, she passed away and i'm thankful for her and her daughter, they both passed away. they fought for this park and i'm appreciative of that. and delores, who is also a resident fought for this park. and mary harris and al harris, okay, a lot of people put in -- wilma gardner, a lot of people have been fighting to make sure that this community gets what it needs. i'm just happy to be part of the process and i'm thankful for today and i'm thankful for our mayor to allocate the funds and phil ginsburg, he's been awesome. it's been awesome. and i appreciate you. he comes out the first day they put this together and went down the slide with the kids and impressed the kids. it's just one of those things where san francisco is supposed to be about community.
and these type of events are so important, especially in a times that we're living in and the covid-19. i definitely want to thank our supervisor safai. [applause] for all of his hard work and pushing for our district to make sure that we can have spaces like this. also i want to thank our community as a whole, first and foremost. our residents right here, up and down the street. using this park every day, and we're so happy to have it back open, to have our kids back playing safely and in an environment, and something to be proud of. i'm proud of our district. i'm proud of where we're going. okay, we have organizations and c.b.o.s who are really making a push for this district to get the resources allocated here. and all of the things that we are doing just to make sure that the community gets what it needs and to make sure that children have a future. so, thank you.
[applause] >> thank you, renard. so another community leader that had my phone number on speed dial, my phone number, my email and my twitter and my telegraph handle was edna james. and edna couldn't be here today, but she has asked one of her closest community partners to come up and to say a few words. robert ellis. robert is the vice president of the o.m.i. community action organization and a member of the friends of mersed heights playground, and to say a few words about the power of community when it comes to getting things done. robert, the microphone is yours. >> hi, i wish i had been first. all of these accolades have been handed out and it's well deserved. and i want to thank our mayor breed for all of her dedication,
all of her dedication to the city. and not only she is smart, but she's pretty. so that's a good thing. like i say, i want to thank phil definitely -- if you stand here and you look around you can see the transformation of this park and the future is still bright. i have been on di dixie street r the last 50 years and i have seen the park deteriorate and now it's like a phoenix rising from the sun. so you see that it's bringing a whole new atmosphere to the community. not only for the children, but also for the adults and for everybody in the community and the city. and i'm certainly glad to be a part of it and i want to apologize -- not apologize, but i want to give my regrets to
miss james, the well documented partner was unable to be here today. so i want to thank everyone that invited me and phil and just say, phil, you're doing a wonderful job. keep up the good work. and god bless you. thank you. >> just a few quick acknowledgements and then we're going to wrap up and if there are any questions you have a few people here who might be able to answer them. just a couple of questions. but i i want to recognize through the san francisco park alliance that without the san francisco park alliance, make no mistake that we would not be renovating or ribbon cutting five new playgrounds. their partnership is invaluable and they lead with their heart and they care about the parks. thank you, san francisco park alliance. [applause] and then last to my own team,
lisa brampton, lisa, thank you for all that you have done to bring private resources to help to supplement what the voters have done to allow us to renovate these playgrounds. to our park supervisor, brandon young bright and early here, mayor, making sure that this place looked super clean. so, thank you, brandon, for being here. and to dan mauer, our project manager for this particular project, and to all of the rec and park staff who really had to hustle to make sure that you can see these markings on the ground and you can see all of the signs in the last 36 hours we have put out maybe 750 signs and have marked playgrounds and, yeah, my staff always rises to the occasion. so a big shout out to the rec and park staff. let's let them play. thanks, everyone.
we have four neighborhoods that i represent. st. mary's park has a completely unique architecture. very distinct feel, and it is a very close to holly park which is another beautiful park in san francisco. the bernal heights district is unique in that we have the hell which has one of the best views in all of san francisco. there is a swinging hanging from a tree at the top. it is as if you are swinging over the entire city. there are two unique aspects. it is considered the fourth chinatown in san francisco. sixty% of the residents are of chinese ancestry. the second unique, and fun aspect about this area is it is the garden district. there is a lot of urban agriculture and it was where the city grew the majority of the flowers. not only for san francisco but for the region. and of course, it is the location in mclaren park which is the city's second biggest park after golden gate.
many people don't know the neighborhood in the first place if they haven't been there. we call it the best neighborhood nobody has ever heard our. every neighborhood in district nine has a very special aspect. where we are right now is the mission district. the mission district is a very special part of our city. you smell the tacos at the [speaking spanish] and they have the best latin pastries. they have these shortbread cookies with caramel in the middle. and then you walk further down and you have sunrise café. it is a place that you come for the incredible food, but also to learn about what is happening in the neighborhood and how you can help and support your community. >> twenty-fourth street is the birthplace of the movement. we have over 620 murals. it is the largest outdoor public gallery in the country and possibly the world. >> you can find so much
political engagement park next to so much incredible art. it's another reason why we think this is a cultural district that we must preserve. [♪] >> it was formed in 2014. we had been an organization that had been around for over 20 years. we worked a lot in the neighborhood around life issues. most recently, in 2012, there were issues around gentrification in the neighborhood. so the idea of forming the cultural district was to help preserve the history and the culture that is in this neighborhood for the future of families and generations. >> in the past decade, 8,000 latino residents in the mission district have been displaced from their community. we all know that the rising cost of living in san francisco has led to many people being displaced. lower and middle income all over
the city. because it there is richness in this neighborhood that i also mentioned the fact it is flat and so accessible by trip public transportation, has, has made it very popular. >> it's a struggle for us right now, you know, when you get a lot of development coming to an area, a lot of new people coming to the area with different sets of values and different culture. there is a lot of struggle between the existing community and the newness coming in. there are some things that we do to try to slow it down so it doesn't completely erase the communities. we try to have developments that is more in tune with the community and more equitable development in the area. >> you need to meet with and gain the support and find out the needs of the neighborhoods. the people on the businesses that came before you. you need to dialogue and show respect. and then figure out how to bring in the new, without displacing the old. [♪]
>> i hope we can reset a lot of the mission that we have lost in the last 20 years. so we will be bringing in a lot of folks into the neighborhoods pick when we do that, there is a demand or, you know, certain types of services that pertain more to the local community and working-class. >> back in the day, we looked at mission street, and now it does not look and feel anything like mission street. this is the last stand of the latino concentrated arts, culture and cuisine and people. we created a cultural district to do our best to conserve that feeling. that is what makes our city so cosmopolitan and diverse and makes us the envy of the world. we have these unique neighborhoods with so much cultural presence and learnings, that we want to preserve. [♪] authoring the
same --oring the >> good evening. welcome to the candidate forum for the 2020 district 7 san francisco board of supervisors election. i'm alison go, the president of the league of women voters of san francisco. tonight, before we begin, i'd like to take a moment to remember the late justice ruth bader ginsburg. she was a powerful advocate for women's rights and civil rights, arguing for equality regardless of age, race, sexual orientation or gender, and she was a fierce defender of voter rights, offering the dissenting opinion in shelby v. voter.
justice ginsburg's wisdom, ded indication, and determination to equal rights embodied the league of women voters empowered us to create a more perfect democracy. we would not be where we are today without ruth bader ginsburg. the league of women voters is a bipartisan political nonprofit that encourages voter participation. this year's election presents new and unprecedented challenges for voters, and we are committed to providing resources that voters need in order to access this fundamental right of democracy
of voting. please visit our website at lwvsv.org/vote where you will find all of the voting resources that we offer. the league of women voters is a nonprofit organization, and if you'd like to support our events such as this one, please visit our website at lvwsf.org. i'd like to thank our relations department to promote voter education through their support of league initiatives, including tonight's candidate forum. i am now pleased to introduce dee moore, our moderator for tonight. she's retired from the start-up industry, where she held numerous positions in sales and marketing for 15 years. she left the industry to raise her children, and she has worked in the community for
several volunteer organizations, including sf casa over nine years, supporting foster care for children. >> good evening and welcome to the san francisco league of women voters board of supervisors candidate forum. first, i'd like to remind you of the ground rules. responses to questions should be on issues and policy related. candidated are expected to be respectful of other candidates anded to not make personal attack on other individuals. that's the ground rules. here are the procedures for the forum. the candidates will have the opportunity to make one-minute opening and closing statements. opening statements will be in
alphabetical order by first name. closing statements will be in reversal if a bet cal order by first name. each candidate will be an opportunity to make rebuttal and may be addressed in the candidate's closing remarks lasting one minute. a count downtimer will be displayed with visual indication of the remaining time for a response, so please watch it carefully, and if you go over, i'll politely remind you. every aspect of the forum will be equally fair to all candidated. thank you to our attendees tonight. you are in listen-only mode. the q&a and chat features are not activated.
we collected your questions earlier, so they will be available tonight. this will be available on youtube, our website, and sfgovtv cable channel. you have many decisions to make on november 3. tonight's opportunity will give you an opportunity to learn before you vote, so now, let's begin. we'll start off with one-minute opening statements in alphabetical order. thank you, candidates, for participating in this forum. please introduce yourself, tell us which neighborhood you live in, and why you are running for district 7 supervisor. we'll start alphabetically with ben. >> hello. good evening, and thank you very much to the league for hosting us tonight. hello. my name is ben matranga, and i'm running for district 7 supervisor. i want to fight for working families and ensure that our city emerges from this health
crisis stronger than before. as a new father and first-time homeowner, i know the stakes are high in this election. i know the city is calling out for genuine leadership, for common sense, and frankly, for people that will deliver on their promises. let me tell you a little bit about my background. i was born and raised in district 7. i live in west portal seven blocks from where i grew up. i met my wife in high school at st. ignatius, and we're raising our young daughter in that district. professionally, i've spent 15 years building large-scale -- >> thank you, ben. >> thank you. >> and now, we'll move to emily. you're muted, emily.
>> all right. good evening, everyone. i'm emily murase, and i want to be your supervisor. 2020 marks the millennial of women's right to vote, and yet, after the departure of supervisor yee from the board of supervisors, we will have two women on the board of supervisors. i'm the only candidate who's been elected to office, serving two terms on the school board, including as president. my spouse and i have lived in the lake shore neighborhood of district 7 for over 15 years, where we raised our two now
adult daughters. my priorities are bolstering public health, enabling voters, and accelerating public health. >> we'll go to joel. >> hi, everyone. i'm joel engardio. i live in the district 7 neighborhood. families care about the basics: housing, schools, quality of life. the budget has doubled the last decade, and nothing is twice as good, and now, we're facing massive deficits. we need to audit every program and only pay for what works. i grew up in the gm town of sag saginaw, michigan. i've lived in san francisco for 22 years, lived in district 7 for a decade. as a journalist, i held city
hall accountable and gave people a voice. i'll do the same as your supervisor. it's time to get it right. clean streets, smaller deficits, and better services, and i'd be glad to be your candidate. >> thanks, joel. ken? >> my name is ken [inaudible] we lived off of every muni met metro line, and for the last 14 years, i've lived just a couple of blocks up in district 7 on ocean avenue. i've been successful here. both my wife and i were able to build careers. one is at u.c. davis and another one's at roll, and
buena vista horace mann. i feel with my experience, i understand district 7 well. families are important. doct from cradle to grave, everyone should be able to live in district 7. >> thanks, kenneth. next will be myrna. >> hi, everyone. my name is myrna melgar. two years ago, i live in district 7 with my husband and family. i've worked in the community for 15 years in housing and economic development and worker's rights. i'm running because our city is experiencing changes. changes to our global environment, inequality -- and
income inequality. i'm running because i want to use my skills and experience to plan for those changes. the policy changes that we make today will have a profound effect how we get out of this pandemic, and whether we continue to be that city of opportunity and that shining example that we have always been to the world. i would appreciate your support, and i am the candidate with the most experience. thank you. >> thank you, myrna. next will be stephen. you're muted. >> steven martin pinto. i live in district 7. i just want to ask one question. are you better off than you were five years ago? ladies and gentlemen, i'm running on a campaign of
straight talk. when i began my campaign, it was just me, myself, and i, and one promise. tell it like it is and don't hold back. i've been one of the most successful non-democratic candidates in the last decade. the reason why is because i tell it like it is, i speak the truth, and i have a lot of credibility. i'm a firefighter, a fifth generation san franciscan, a veteran of iraq and afghanistan and the war, and i've seen a lot of the effects of homelessness. vote for me in november. >> thank you, steven. last one will be polasca. >> hi. my name is polasca.
i loved growing up in a union household. my mother worked the post office, the graveyard shift, her entire career, so they really instilled a deep value for public service and hard work. i came here to san francisco, u.s.f. school of law, where i met my wife. we currently live in parkmerced, and my kids go to school -- or they did before covid -- right across. i'm proud to have the endorsement of the nurses and people in the sierra club. i ask that you allow me to be your champion at city hall and standup for working class families. >> thank you, velasca, and thank you all, candidates. we'll now move onto the questions for tonight's forum. question one.
what type of forum will you support to increase housing availability in district 7. do you agree with the approaches that promote more housing density? just yes, which approaches. if no, what other approaches do you favor? and we will begin with joel, and joel, you have one win. >> hi. so there's three areas of district 7 where more housing is coming. par merced, balboa reservoir, and stonestown mall, and those are all appropriate areas for housing. i do not support anything that would restrict single-family zoning. we have 40 communities, and they're all gems. west portal has a five story
art deco that's been there 90 years. we can match the height of that without harming any single neighborhoods. we have a plan for seniors to age in place so they don't have to leave the home they love. we have a plan to keep single-families in san francisco, and the housing along train corridors can support those needs. >> thank you, joel. >> thanks. >> next, we'll have kenneth. >> hi. joel said a lot, and i agree with what he said. the transit corridors and the housing around should grow. i don't agree with scott wiener's bill. i think we need to be smart about it. i think we just gave away the deal of the century.
less than $600,000 an acre for balboa terrace, so i'm ready to put a stop for future development. i want to see hwhat's going to come out of that and how that's going to affect district 7. that's a district 7 deal. i want to be smart when we have housing, but i want to remind people this is district 7. we are built on single-family homes in small neighborhoods, and i do not want to lose that character, so it has to be an equal balance. thank you. >> thank you, kenneth. next is stephen. >> okay. so kind of what a lot of people have been saying. i'm -- i'm for increasing density along transit corridors. i feel like there's plenty of space to add a story to one-story buildings along west portal. it wouldn't change -- minimal
impacts to the neighborhood. it wouldn't change much to the neighborhood if we do it right, but there's also one thing that i think we also need to reduce the [inaudible] we've found out that telecommuting is possible. recent survey said that two thirds of all tech workers would leave san francisco if they could. there's a latent demand to get out of san francisco. if they had a chance to get out of san francisco and still work here, they would do so. that would make it easier for those who want to live here to be able to afford houses. >> thank you, stephen. now we'll move to question number two. how would you address providing more affordable housing in district 7? do you support programs that encourage the building of more accessory dwelling units, commonly known as granny flats or in-law units? and we'll start with myrna.
>> thank you for the question. yes, i absolutely support building more accessory dwelling units. i will point out that just because we think it's a good idea and put together the legislation rights the state has doesn't mean it will actually happen. we have to do more that. we have to support homeowners to adapt their housing spaces and age in space. to do that, the city can help by making the process easier, friendlier, more expeditious, and more affordable. it's not just about development, it's also about money because access to wealth is not equal in our society. if you're on a fixed income or you're a women, you tend to have -- woman, you tend to have
less abhe is sccess to the mari support all of those things. thank you. >> thank you, myrna. next will be emily. >> can you please repeat the question? >> yes. how would you address providing more affordable housing in district 7? do you support programs that encourage the building of more accessory dwelling units, commonly known as granny flats or in-law units? >> yes. i do want to start out by saying d-7 is primarily single-family homes, and that keeps families here, not retreating to the suburbs, so it's a very important part of our contribution to the city. we have over 40 neighborhoods that are very distinct from each other. lakewood is different from forest knolls which is different from westwood park. and within that, there is a state law that allows for two
accessory dwelling units within a single property. i do think there is an opportunity to be creative. not only a.d.u.s, but cohousing units and other ways to live together. primarily, i'm looking at the new development for housing density. balboa reservoir appropriates 1500 units, of which 50% will be affordable. parkmerced and stonestown also promote ideas for more housing density. >> thank you, emily. next will be polanco. >> i'm in favor of supporting housing. my concern is in terms of providing the housing units we need. i think there are sites here in district 7 where we can begin from day one after the election
to really dedicate affordable housing to the working class families like educators. back in 2018, the leadership of uesf, our educators and teachers actually identified a space that is owned by the school district at somerton and lawton. this is the per expect area where we don't have to treat these like they're mutually exclusive, meeting the character of district 7 while still providing housing that will make a real impact and still provide the time -- >> thank you, polanca. we'll move onto question three. will the planned guidance of the guidance center, also called the juvenile justice center, provide an increased
housing in district 7. if so, what type of housing would you favor? and we'll start with ben. >> so the closing of y.g.yc., think it's the perfect example of the sugar high we see at city hall. i've walked the facility several times. over half of the board of supervisors voted to close it, but they've never been there. folks voted to close the facility but didn't know all the great programming, all the rehabilitation that was happening there. if you talk to the folks in capital planning, they say you can't use that site, so i think it's fiscally responsible to do that. it would cost too much. the taxpayers are still paying off the rebuilding of the participation of y.g.c. from a
decade ago. we need to figure out how to keep young kids in san francisco that need that rehabilitation. >> thank you, ben. next will be joel? >> yeah, i don't think we should have closed it in the first place. juvenile haul, you know, you know, is a place that has good programs that's, like, helping kids get back on their feet and be more productive members of society, and we shouldn't give up on that. i don't want to put housing there. i don't think we should have closed it in the first place because obviously, you risk shipping kids out of county. that's not going to be helpful for them, and there's good programs there already. i think we need to be mindful of the use of the land all-around that area, laguna honda. we want to make sure that we're not using up land that the hospital might need. >> thank you, joel.
next will be kenneth. >> hi, thank you very much. i think ben hit it on the nose. that is a sugar high. the idea that juvenile crime is down forever and we are in some magic wonderland. the reality is that we're heading into a recession that's already showing its teeth. california is now flattening at 11% unemployment. we know that during times of recession and high unemployment that crime does go up, particularly with youth. we likely have pressed it with the lows in violent crime that existed. so the magic that we're going to be able to deal with our juvenile problems without juvenile hall is a sugar high. when we have a problem that manifests, we should look at fixing and solving that problem, not necessarily shutting it down.
thank you very much. >> thank you, kenneth. we'll move onto question number 4. what are the primary issues regarding homelessness in district 7. what programs or services would you bring to the community to address these issues, and we'll start with stephen. >> in my experience as a first responder, every day i go to work, i'm right there in the trenches, dealing with homelessness. i worked at some of san francisco's busiest fire stations, where i ran up to 20 or 30 calls a day, most of which were homeless calls, and in my experience, the homeless crisis in san francisco is very much closely tied to a drug and mental health crisis. we had nearly 300 fentanyl deaths in 2018, nearly 400 last year, and the number is on pace
to be even higher this year. so one of the biggest things we can do to solve the homeless problem not only in district 7 but citywide is really crack down on these drug dealers who are imprisoning people in a cycle of poverty, misery, and drug addiction. that's one of the biggest things we can do to start. the other thing is lobby for those increased conservatorship laws, and i'm willing to go to sacramento to do that. >> thank you, stephen. next will be myrna. >> thank you, dee. your question was about district 7, and i just want to point out that district 7 is very different than district 6 or district 5 in terms of our homeless epidemic. the majority of folks who are experiencing drug problems are not drug addicts, they're working people, living in homeless encampments and vans.
the other day, my friend who owns a coffee shop called me and said there was a young woman on the street with no place to go. he's, like, myrna, what do i do? we don't have the wraparound services that exist in other districts, and we need them. we need to have shower sites where people can dispose of our waste so that it doesn't go into our sewer drains and people can be treated with dignity. that's what we need. thank you. >> thank you, myrna. next will be emily. >> yes, i believe strongly that it's a human rights violation to let people sleep on the streets. we're one of the wealthiest cities in the world. we cannot tolerate this situation anymore. unfortunately, homelessness is not just a d-7 issue. it's a citywide issue.
i've been on the record opposing a navigation center in d-7 because it's too costly. the embarcadero navigation center is $12.5 community funds for 200 beds. families and women are not well served by tents or cots. i advocate for the flexible subsidy pool that aims to provide 200 apartments with a door and a key and an address. and i want to make sure that women don't get lost in this. domestic violence is the number one cause of homelessness on the streets. we need to fund domestic violence services. >> thank you, emily. we'll move onto question five. what programs do you support that address homeless and mental health problems in san
francisco? we'll start with polasco. >> mental health access, if it's fully funded, i think we can make a visible impact on our streets. this goes hand in hand with the reform that we want at the criminal justice level. if police officers can be focused on just reporting to crime, we can actually have social workers and folks that are really trained and know the nuances of deescalation and mental health intervention, and that really stems from mental health sf, and i think it is a much needed program citywide. i think here in district 7, i think we can all echo the same underlying issues that, you know, the unhoused issue is very different from the other districts, but that is one program and policy that i'm fully in support of.
>> thank you, velasquez. next will be ben. >> thank you. i had a young kid that worked for me four years ago that died of a drug overdose. was born and raised in san francisco and died of a drug overdose on our streets in san francisco just two months ago. we have an epidemic on our streets. we need to make sure we have treatment on demand and the services that actually deliver for folks like that. this is an issue that hits folks of all backgrounds, of all neighborhoods, of all parts of the city, and i think the city has been slow to respond. you see it in the numbers, you see it in the raise in fentanyl deaths. mental health sf is a good program, but in a way, it's a repaneli repackaging of the services
that already existed. it really is just the first step forward, but we need new services, and that's what i'll do as supervisor. >> thank you, ben. the next is joel. >> we will be solve our homeless crisis until we deal with our mental health crisis. in san francisco, there's something called the mental health court. this is if someone attacks someone while having a mental health attack on the street, they don't get jail time. and this is a good thing because we don't want jail to be the de facto services. i think we should be supporting conservatorship laws. this doesn't mean going back to the awful days of nurse ratchet and the mental asylum.
i know that's a reference to netflix and a show in the 70s, but it's a new idea that will give people the treatment they need. >> thank you, joel. we'll move to question 6. the increase in crime, including burglaries and break-ins have become a concern to the residents of district 7. what actions would you propose to the police and the city administration to handle the increase in property crimes? we'll start with kenneth. >> hi. thank you very much. our current district 7 supervisor and president of the board held a meeting for our neighborhood. he lives here in westwood park, and i was surprised at the feedback. it was specific to crime, exactly what you're asking about, and it was predominantly
property crime, and the conversation moved onto home invasion. what i could tell in that meeting was people were scared. they were scared about the change that's occurring now. you ask what we should be doing. first of all, we need to be much tougher on car break-ins and home invasions. i agree that we need to help these people, but as soon as we have those property damage that actually scare people from wanting to go out to their car as night, from locking their door at night, triple locking, triple checking, we need to make sure we have a beat cop on the street -- and my time is up. >> thank you, kenneth. and next is stephen. >> one of the things i think we can do right now as a community to help make our neighborhoods more safe is form neighborhood
watch programs, and they've actually shown great success. there is a particular block in diamond heights where the neighborhood watch program is wired very tight, and it's actually an anomaly of no crime in the middle of a neighborhood which has signature criificanto that's one thing we can do. the other thing we can do is join programs like sf safe, which teaches residents how to be safer and look out for each other. i'm always a big proponent of hiring more cops. i'm one of the few candidates that have gone on record saying defunding the police is the wrong way to go. we need more training, more police, and the crime that's happening -- time's up. >> thank you, stephen. next, we'll hear from myrna.
>> thank you. there have been other communities who have come up with really innovative community-based approaches to keep better eyes on the streets. folk who are embedded in the community know their neighbors, who know the patterns, know the businesses. one that i'm fond of in chinatown is the peace collaborative. it's young folks and retired folks who have been trained to do that. when things are kind of off, they have a person to call, and then, there's a person that's already been building trust in that community. i am a big proponent of programs like that. they are actually quite cost effective and less violent than, you know, having folks with arms on the street, but it also builds trust and a knowledge of the community and they're remarkably effective.
>> thank you, myrna. now we'll move to question number 7. how would you approach potential proposals to reallocate funds from policing -- excuse me -- to mental health and social services while still prioritizing public safety? and we'll start with emily. >> so i've been on record opposed to defending police, disbanding police. we have had an uptick in property crime, home invasion. there was a suspected arson of one of our local businesses, dragon printing. there was a robbery at miracle cleaning on ocean. we can't expect an immediate response if we're going to cut the police budget. now within the police budget, i do believe -- i'm very data
driven and evidence based, and u.c. berkeley did a study of foot patrols in sfpd. in 2017, when chief scott reassigned more officers to foot patrols, there was a 20% decline in assaults. that's evidence-based interventions. we need more foot patrols, community policing, crime spotting, and antibias training in the police department. >> thank you, emily. and next is polasca. >> yeah, i agree with emily. i think when we're being smarter about our police budget, we don't need police officers responding to noncriminal mental health crises. there is a world where we can be smarter about our police budget while reallocating that saved money to folks and social
workers at the department of public health that can actually do that outreach for those folks going through a mental health crisis. it's unfortunate that we've gotten into slogans into defunding the police, abolishing the police, but i think if we're truly committed to police accountability, we'll see our police budget getting smaller, and we can use that money for much needed services here in san francisco. >> thank you, velasca. next is ben. >> we can certainly all agree, if you would have watched this same debate when i was growing up 20-plus years ago, it was the same concepts that came out. we want more beat officers. over the years, the same promises get made, and nothing changes. right now, four out of ten
positions at one precinct is vacant. there's some very basic times around response times and now that correlates to staffing in the police department. i think chief scott when talking about the budget this year was accurate. we want a police department that's more diverse, speaks multiple languages. we have young kids coming through the department that's coming through with advanced degrees in criminalology, and we only do that by funding by the police department. >> thank you, ben. now we move to the next question. what specific changes would you support in defunding the police, and what changes would
you like to see? we'll start with ben. >> i agree with joe biden and governor newsom. calls for mentally ill people can better be handled by social workers. i'm vice presidents of a victim's rights group called stop police sf. i see that home burglaries are up 60% this year. homicides and firearm shootings are both up 30%, so we still need police to do the detective work. we need police to protect the public, and we can't forget about the victims of crime. i do not believe in defunding or disbanding the police department. the new york times recently featured our police department as a model of reform, so we should continue that process, and takes more funding, not less, but we should recruit
more officers from diverse communities and those who only serve at the highest standards. >> thank you, joel. next will be kenneth. >> so lots of smart people, and i think if you vote for any of us, you're going to get a good supervisor. so velasco said it well. defunding the police is a bad term. it's a horrible term. it sounds like you want to get rid of them, but in reality, it's a reallocation. i'm with our current chief. he has some really good ideas about how to use funding for mental health and domestic violence in particular, and i think those are two areas absolutely that we could have specialists that don't need to be police. that being said, i am a metric-driven individual. i come from the business side, and i believe firmly if we are going to allocate funds into just about anything, you track what occurs, and then, you make decisions about how successful it is, and if it doesn't meet the metrics you put in place
and the goals you put in place, you take that money back, and you put it to better use. thank you. >> thank you, kenneth. and next will be stephen. >> i want to be very, very cautious about replacing police officers by mental health workers to deal with people with mental health crisis because human nature is very, very unpredictable. when you're high on drugs, even more so, and i have personal experience with this. i've been on multiple calls where people have overdosed, and they're sedated or passed out. you give them narcan, and even the smallest personal temporarily displaced can have super human strength. it happened to me, but this is the thing. people can act very violently very quickly, and a mental
health worker alone by himself is not trained to deal with that. so while i'm not opposed to having mental health workers and homeless team outreach people to accompany police, i don't believe at any time they should be a total replacement for the police. >> thank you, stephen. now we'll move onto question number 9. how will you ensure that residents of district 7 have access to services and resources that will help them meet their basic needs as they struggle with the challenges of covid-19, and we'll start with myrna. >> thanks for the question. i think that district 7 has, for many, many years, been short changed in the services that we receive. there's a perception that we're all right. we're wealthy, and there's nothing that we need when, in fact, we have a very large
population of folks that are elderly, immigrants, people who don't speak english. we're a quite diverse district that has a lot of needs. i think in terms of my priorities that you asked about are food security. when the pandemic started, we started working at the food bank thattum emily has started and my daughter, as well. we thought we were going to see 200, and we saw 700. foot security, transportation, housing, all of those services are needed in district 7, and i will prioritize them. thank you. >> thank you, myrna. next is emily. >> yeah. so among the 40 different neighborhoods in district 7, there are varying degrees of organization. so, for example, i know ben has worked very hard to help the west portal neighborhood be
organized. lake shore was not very well organized, so actually, joel, who's a neighbor, and i helped standup resilient lake shore, and we put out hundreds of door hangers with resources for covid for our neighbors. i'd like to make sure there's seed funding for every neighborhood to band together, whether it's crime or covid, and really create community within the neighborhood. we have the strongest along access ordinance in the country, and we are obligated to provide services to english language learners at the same level as native speakers, so i will make sure that services -- for example, briefings by the police -- are in multiple languages. >> thank you, emily. and next is velasco. >> i'm extremely proud of my criminal justice experience, being a public defender going
on my 16th year now. every day, walking into court, that is a phenomenal responsibility to provide a voice to those who are forgotten and marginalized. i think as an extension of my advocacy as a public defender, we need a leader at city hall who is going to speak up and advocate and really ensure that district 7 has all the resources that our community needs. myrna and emily touched upon some of our most vulnerable, particularly the elderly. and with the population and communities being comprised of 17% chinese, particularly a lot of elderly folks who don't have a lot of family support, we need a mixture and every resource available to make sure that they're not isolated, and to make sure their health and well-being is taken care of during this pandemic. >> thank you, velasca. now we'll move onto question
number 10. what is your plan to bring back business and encourage new businesses in the west portal and 9th and irving shop districts? we'll start with ben. >> thank you. and i would expand that question to include both ocean avenue, lakeside, taraval, and 19th. our neighborhood commercial corridors are amazing. they are the envy of so many areas of san francisco, and they're a gathering place for so many in our community. and frankly, they're not getting enough attention, and, you know, what we -- early on in covid, i helped set up the largest covid-19 response effort in district 7, and one of the things that we did right at the beginning was we brought in the merchants. we knew how difficult it was going to be. that type of small business advocacy doesn't take place right now. the city loves to tout being in
partnership with small business. i'm a small business owner. i don't think that anybody in the city feels genuinely that the city is in partnership with them. there's a lot of fees that you just don't know about. there's an opportunity to have clarity, and i will certainly champion small business. >> thank you, ben. next, we'll hear from joel. >> even when the economy was booming, our small businesses were in trouble. we have to remember that last year, 500 restaurants closed in san francisco, and why did that happen? it's because city hall was killing small businesses with all of its permits and fees and regulations. so we need to acknowledge that small businesses were dieing before the pandemic because we cannot go back to the way things were. the chronicle reported that san francisco is one of the most difficult cities to open a food truck. we should be the easiest city to open a food truck, especially during a pandemic. some regulation is necessary to keep people safe, but beyond that, we should let an
entrepreneur with a good idea try anything they want. give them a long runway to see if it works, and we need to foster that creativity because we don't know what the great new idea is that's going to save our economy, but we want to make sure that we create the economy where that can happen, and we're not stifling it. >> thank you, joel. next, we'll hear from kenneth. >> hi, thank you. so excellent points already from joel and ben. very consistent. i will tell you this, that the san francisco does not city a small business as a help to the city, they see it as a tax base. the burden to open up a business is ridiculous in this city. it is easier, less regulation to put a satellite in space than it is to open up a basis in san francisco. that's a bit of a joke. if prop 13, this new amendment, passes on commercial development with commercial debt lessening that burden,
some of that is going to be passed onto small businesses. the reality of the day is we've got a lot to change. we've got a lot of regulation to get rid of. the last thing is this city may have changed. look at what's happening downtown. and if the office workers don't even come back to 80 to 90%, the small businesses there are going to get hurt, and it's going to permeate itself through the city. >> thank you, kenneth. and next, we'll move onto question number 11. there is concern that the california environmental act, ceqa, regulations are being used to create significant delays in the revenue of city projects. how will you approach this issue? and we'll start with stephen. >> okay. so i think that the ceqa may have become a little bit
convoluted. it was meant to be protecting the environment and ensuring the well-being of people, but i think it's kind of become a little bit weaponized at times. people use it to stop other businesses and really burden new start-ups from ever happening. so one thing i'd like to see is if there's a way to simplify the processes, if the community has the ability to speak on behalf of their community if there's a new business coming in. i feel like we can do a lot to simplify the process, reduce the time that a business spends in approval, and really, i think that would go a long way to improving the economy, at least more small business start-ups. >> thank you, stephen. next will be myrna.
>> ceqa is a good tool, it's an important tool. not only does it help us protect the environment, it also helps protect our historic resources. it can be cumbersome and lengthens the time that a project takes to completion, but i am a firm believer in democracy, and this is the way our communities have had a say in whether we preserve something or we clean something up before something gets built. it is very important, and i think we need to not shortcut it or cut people out of the process or only let the loudest voices or the people who have the most resources weigh-in. i think we need to keep using it as a way it was intended, as a democratic tool for people to weigh-in on development. thank you. >> thank you, myrna. next is emily.
>> yes. so my approach is generally to listen and lead for our neighborhoods. community stakeholder input is essential in things like the ceqa. we're seeing sort of the negative impacts of environmental unsustainable behaviors with the fires and with the pollution, so ceqa is very important. neighbors must have a say in things that go up in the neighborhood. on the other hand, it shouldn't be the case that a single person can halt a project. so there was a big article in the chronicle. a project should be halted by at least 50 people. i agree with that, and it shouldn't be at least one person. >> thank you, emily. okay. we'll move onto question number 12. san francisco has a significant deficit in the upcoming budget,
which, due to covid-19, will likely persist in the future. what specific policies will you champion to address the likely current and future issues related to budget decisions? and we'll start with vela asca >> but in 2008, i remember being calling into my office's conference room, and i remember my boss asking if anyone wanted to take an unpaid voluntary leave. and i remember being shocked, angry, and pretty scared for about a year as a relatively new lawyer practicing. and i'm not comparing what we went through over a decade ago to this unprecedented pandemic, but it did serve us in terms of the rainy day funds that we prepared for this particular scenario. i'm looking out the window, and
it is absolutely pouring. if this is not a scenario to rely to those rainy day funds, i don't know what is. but we don't have to rely only on those rainy day funds. there are measures on the ballot in november that will enable us during this pandemic to survive. >> thank you, velasco. now we'll hear from ben. >> we're in an economic crisis, certainly in the state of california, and certainly in san francisco. the challenge is the district 7 supervisor has historically been a leader on the budget and really been a long-term thinker. i think fundamentally in this race, voters are going to make trade offs. because in a city that has a
$13.6 billion budget, there are $8.6 billion of asks. i come from a 15-year experience asking for money and getting results for causes. whether that's large scale housing, whether that's building in ports, whether that's access to the internet. i think those skills are absolutely needed. there's a misconception somehow that we're one audit short from better outcomes of homelessness. it is a workman's journey -- >> thank you, ben. next is joel. >> we have to acknowledge that the budget was too big the past decade. it doubled, and nothing got better. city hall just spends whatever it wants, and it uses residents like it's a nonstop a.t.m.
that needs to stop. the hard truth? we need to cut salaries and cut jobs, just like mayor newsom did during the great recession. back then, we had 26,000 employees, which was too many. today, we have 40,000, which is not sustainable. there's never going to be enough revenue for what we need. we talk about rainy day funds. it was irresponsible yesterday or today to use our rainy day funds to give city employees raises. we should be saving so we don't have to lay people off. >> thank you, joel. we'll move onto question number 13. many residents take advantage of open space and nature for recreation and health benefits. how would you ensure that these resources are maintained not only for district 7 but for all of san franciscans, and we'll start with kenneth.
>> at this, thank yhi, thank y. i really wish i could have answered that last question because i've got a lot to say here. certainly, the open space in this city is fantastic. actually, in district 7, it's reasonably limited, so i am a huge fan of the parks. i think the parks are one of the most wonderful things that we have here in the city. golden gate park running from the middle of the city to the ocean, mclaren park being the biggest park in the city over here not too far from the district. what i think we need to do is maintain them. there's been calls to open up some of the nonused areas for development, and i am completely against that. what i want to say is the twablt to actually access them and for people to feel safe. i think it's one of the biggest issues for mclaren. you can look at it
statistically as the biggest park in the city. there are safety concerns in the city that we really don't need to anymore. we need to use those parks and fund them. thank you. >> thank you, kenneth. next, we'll hear from stephen. >> i'm a huge proponent of open space. as a kid, i grew up within walking distance of mount davidson. glen canyon park, one of the few creeks left running through the city. whatever we can do to preserve those treasures, i'm all about it. one of the things that i want to say is some of our open spaces are looking a little bit rough. mount davidson in particular, it's overgrown with eucalyptus, thornberrys, ivy. i think from a safety toppstan
approximate point, you need to open it up and let people access it to enjoy. there's been talk of using our park open space for development. i'm totally against it. there's so little of it left. >> thank you, steven. thank you, myrna. >> i'm a little surprised, steven, that you don't have a lot of open space in district 7. we have a lot of really great space. for the past four years, i've been on the planning commission. i was the president for the last year, and in conjunction with the recreation and parks department, we approved a plan for the maintenance of the wilderness areas, some areas that are open space in the city. as steven pointed out, we are experiencing some nonnative species that have taken over our parks. like everything else in san
francisco, it is contentious, whether we get rid of the eukal eucalyptus, whether we keep it, but it's one of the things that makes san francisco a great place to live. >> thank you, myrna. what would you do to cut down on the amount of emissions caused by fossil fuels? we'll hear from emily. >> thank you. we need to promote public transit. we need to get mouny back where it once was precovid. since the pandemic, i've become an expert avid cyclist. we need to encourage walking,
but i also want to acknowledge that there are some folks in the community would have to rely on -- who have to rely on cars. perhaps there's people with disabilities, seniors, young children. so i don't envision a 100% car free environment, but i would like to see more options. for example, for rental bikes, if there are families that can't afford to rent those bikes, we should subsidize those, really, and encourage bike traffic. we also need to address our eating habits. i'm a big proponent of meatless mondays perhaps in the schools and the city, and to buy local. >> thank you, emily. next. we'll hear from velasca. >> i like the idea of meatless mondays. i think i'm going to adopt that. we need to get to a point in our city where taking public transportation is the preference in terms of
efficiency and the first choice. i mean, i drive my minivan and my two kids around out of necessity, and i don't like this dichotomy where people are blamed for depending on their cars here in district 7. i think we have a long way to go in terms of improving our public infrastructure and transit system. i think there's a world where we can get there. it's going to take a lot of work, but i think in terms of starting with meatless mondays and then taking this as a top priority in terms of improving our infrastructure will be a long way, but we can get there. >> thank you, velasca. now we'll hear from ben. >> i'm a father, and i have a
young daughter that's 15 months old. when i think about our city, i think about our planet, it rightfully causes alarms for people across the planet. if you look at the fires raging across california, people are concerned about that. san francisco has consistently taken a leadership approach on this. i think one of the key elements is actually pushing towards a transit first city, and how that becomes possible is when muni is clean, safe, and reliable. it's very simple. you know, for 15 years, when everyone looked at the ridership surveys, it says clean, safe, and reliable. right now, even before the pandemic hit, people did not feel that way on muni. we have an opportunity right now to be able to change a lot of the things that were thank about the transportation system and move toward that. it starts with replacing some of the basics, and that's what
i'll champion. >> thank you, ben. final question for all candidates. what would be your top three priorities for your term as supervisor, and what is the boldest idea that you think that you will bring to the table? and so this is for all candidates, and we'll start with kenneth. >> great. i really like this question. thank you very much. so -- so -- so accountability. we can talk -- how much time do i have? it's just one minute. so i've got a lot to say. so accountability on the budget. the budget was a joke that we just passed. it's based on data that income is not going to come in if we don't pass all these measures come november. i think we need to hold these supervisors accountable, but of course they won't be held accountable. the one plan that i would like to see done is every public official in san francisco take mass transit, public transit,
for 80% of their work and be fined if they do not. if these public officials do not back public transit, they don't have a willingness to ride that public transit, then they should vote that way when they're in office. i'm all for every elected official taking public transportation for 80% of their work and fined if not. thank you. >> thank you, kenneth. now we'll hear from myrna. >> thank you, dee. actually, the boldest idea that i have is we are going to have a woman as supervisor for district 7. that's pretty he had bold. it would be the first time that that's happened. i also have lots of ideas about housing production. i think that we are remarkably uncreative with how we do this. the biggest area where i think that we could make progress is in workforce housing. we have a lot of major employers in san francisco that don't have this as part of their business plan.
i think folks could, you know, put some of their money into a fund that would be more flexib flexible and more patient than what we could get from wells fargo bank. i think it's an idea that needs infrastructure and capacity, and i intend to push it forward. thank you. >> thank you, myrna. next, we'll hear from velasca. >> it's supremeextremely scary think what our environment's going to look like in the next ten years, and we need to focus on environmental justice if we're going to take care of our city and our environment. i believe that working class families really make this city go, so ensuring that working class families can afford to live here and earn a living wage is going to be a top priority. but being a public defender, i
am proud of my work in terms of criminal justice reform. i think on day one, one of my boldest plans would actually be to write policy that would essentially outline police officers not responding to noncriminal offenses, and i think that would be a first step in terms of really improving our police department but ensuring the safety of our community. >> thank you, velasca. next, we'll hear from emily. >> yes. so modelled after president obama's american recovery and reinvestment act. i would call for a san francisco recovery and reinvestment ordinance. the bold part of this is i would ask my colleagues, the mayor to set aside political differences and work towards a single goal of getting san
francisco back on track, to get businesses reopened, get people back to work. i would call for expanding child care resources, investing in neighborhoods, more foot patrols. but another big idea would be universal free wifi, to have it be government owned but bid out to operations. i wouldn't want the government to run the wifi system, but this universal free wifi could be an engine for new businesses, new connections, new economic activity. >> thank you, emily. and next, we'll hear from ben. >> you know, the boldest thing that i would do is actually deliver. i think all of the things that we care about in san francisco, the fundamental challenge is the announcement, and then, the day after, nothing seems to go forward at the same pace. and i think what we see in a lot of these debates in city
hall is what i like to call policy popcorn, and idea, idea, idea. all the big challenges that we have in san francisco, whether it's homelessness, whether it's tackling corruption in contracting, whether it's pushing back against affordable, it takes experience, and it takes showing up every day. one of the things that i tell everyone is i work for you. i think a lot of times, we have supervisors that are chasing the next announcement, not chasing the end result that's g going to make your life better, so i'm running, and i'm fighting to deliver on that. >> thank you, ben. next, we'll hear from stephen. >> okay. so i've got a couple of, i think, pretty good ideas. well, first of all, i think the three biggest issues that we're facing right now is san francisco is corruption, homelessness, and crime. so for the corruption part of it, one thing that i want to do which i think is pretty bold is call for term limits.
two terms, and you're done forever. we have john avalos and aaron peskin that have served before, and now they're running again. i feel like they've had their time in the sun, sand now it's time to step down and let somebody else run for a little bit. as far as crime goes, i'm going to call out our d.a. i think he's failing as our d.a. it's time we get somebody in there that knows what they're doing and is not afraid to do it. i think we need to have stronger conservators. i'm willing to go to sacramento and lobby and enforce to get it. >> thank you, stephen. and finally, we'll hear from joel. >> we're facing a lot of challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, but this is an opportunity, and i think we need to get city hall to focus, focus, focus on the basics.
less crime, better services. until we get those right, everything else is distraction. i want fiber for all. i'm not talking about the fiber you eat, i'm talking about internet for all. work has changed forever because of the pandemic. we need fiber infrastructure, and it's something basic. i think fiber is the 21st century version of filling potholes. i think the city should lease it out to private enterprise and make money on it, and then make sure that everyone has access to subsidies because this is what's going to save our economy and allow us to be plugged in and open for business. so that's the bold idea. >> thank you, joel. that concludes our questions for this evening. and now we kpcome to the
candidates' closing statements. we'll do the statements in reverse alphabetical order, and we'll start with velasquez. >> i think when it comes down to district 7, it comes down to who do you trust to represent the voices here in district 7, and also, who is going to be strong enough and unafraid to push against the status quo? i am proud to be the only candidate that is supportive of having a navigation center in district 7. i was equally as proud to be a candidate to support supervisor mar's public advocate. i think this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we're going to see as the corruption unfolds, and more individuals are indicted. and i also am extremely proud that when i started my campaign, i was the only candidate that objected to the mayor's nominee of the police
commission, a prosecutor who wasn't dedicated to criminal justice reform. i am the leader because i am unafraid to take bold action and represent the folks out here in district 7. >> thank you, velasca. >> thank you. >> now we'll hear from steven. >> as long as we're talking status quo, i don't think there's anybody less status quo or business as usual than i am. i'm not afraid to speak truth to power. when i began my campaign, i made one promise to myself. that is always tell the truth and don't hold back, and the response has been tremendous. i started my campaign with myself and my accountant, and people have come out from all over the city to say, thank you, stephen, for speaking the truth. someone that's not afraid to
speak their mind and identify the problems in our city and talk about them honestly and frankly, and that's me. i'm offering a different approach. i'm offering common sense politics. i'm no b.s. i don't have time for political correctness. i've only got time to make good decisions and speak truth to power. thank you for voting for me. >> thank you, stephen. and next we'll hear from myrna. >> four years ago, we had a national election where a guy that convinced millions of american that policy experience and lemgs lay tiff experience were unnecessary in gorcvernin and that has not worked out so well for us. i will tell you that i have decades of experience in public policy, and i have more than just opinions about the things that really are affecting san franciscans. i can show you programs that
i've developed and legislation that i have written, organizations that i have worked on that have produced results for thousands of families, housing projects that have been built and financed, and i think that's what we need. we need someone who has experience, who has relationships, who will be able to do the things that we need for district 7, to drieliver services for our community. i hope you pick me as your number one choice. >> thank you, myrna. next, we'll hear from kenneth. >> hi, thank you very much for having me today. you've heard a lot from all of us, and think any of us would be fine. i've also heard a lot of
platitudes. and it didn't take long to bring up trump. the idea of having business in government is incredibly important. take a look at what people are expecting. rather than solving a business crisis, you want to chase reality. you want someone with a good solid business background that can solve problems. what you have is people who have been receiving government checks for a very long time who want to keep doing so. i hope i get your vote for district 7 supervisor. thank you. >> thank you, kenneth. and next, we'll hear from joel. >> hi. i'm joel engardio. i've lived in san francisco for 22 years. i was a journalist, and my role was to hold the city accountable, and i'll do the
same as supervisor. i think city hall should be treating residents like customers because without them, we don't have a city. kids should be able to attend their neighborhood schools, and entrepreneurs should be able to open a business without facing road blocks. city hall should be focused on the basics and getting the basics right. i have 24 years left on minority gage, so -- mortgage, so i wonder what san francisco is going to look like by the time it's paid off. we need a combination of innovation and common sense. i'm joel engardio, and i would love to have your number one vote. thank you. >> thank you, joel, and next, we'll hear from emily. >> thank you so much for the opportunity to share my ideas and platform.
i served 28 years under five mayors. i was held accountable for every public dollar i spent. i already have relationships with police chief scott, health director colfax. i've been twice elected to will school board. i served as president when the school district put together its long range strategic plan, and i'm so pleased to say that plan is paying off. san francisco had a graduation rate of 89%, exceeding the state rate of 86%, and black graduates exceeded 90% for the first time. i'm supported by assembby nume officials, and i respectfully ask for your vote. >> thank you, and last, we'll
hear from ben. >> my name is ben matranga, and i respectfully ask for your vote. i'm endorsed by public safety leaders like sheriff vickie hennessy, former district 7 supervisor susie loftus. these are going to be a series of difficult decisions over the next four years, and some people aren't going to be happy. you can't fund everything, and what i come to the table with is a life that's been grounded in district 7. i come to the availabtable wite of delivering products for people that i think creates the best scenario where we can actually move our city forward and recover from covid. thank you. >> thank you, ben.
okay. on behalf of myself and the league of women voters of san francisco, our thanks to the candidates for participating. and thanks to each of our attendees for taking the time to inform yourself about your choices on november 3. it's coming right up. please remember to register to vote if you haven't already registered, and please urge others to registered. i just heard today, one in four is still not registered, so we have work to do. if you've changed your name or you've moved, you will need to reregister, so please check that. and if you will be voting by mail this year, please ensure your ballot is dropped off at a polling place or voting center early. early is the keyword there. if you have any questions about voting, go to our website,
lwvsf.org. thank you so much, all of you, for attending and participating. good evening, and vote. as latinos we are unified in some ways and incredibly diverse in others and this exhibit really is an exploration of nuance in how we present those ideas. ♪ our debts are not for sale. >> a piece about sanctuary and
how his whole family served in the army and it's a long family tradition and these people that look at us as foreigners, we have been here and we are part of america, you know, and we had to reinforce that. i have been cure rating here for about 18 year. we started with a table top, candle, flower es, and a picture and people reacted to that like it was the monna lisa. >> the most important tradition as it relates to the show is idea of making offering. in traditional mexican alters, you see food, candy, drinks, cigarettes, the things that the person that the offerings where being made to can take with them
into the next word, the next life. >> keeps u.s us connects to the people who have passed and because family is so important to us, that community dynamic makes it stick and makes it visible and it humanizes it and makes it present again. ♪ >> when i first started doing it back in '71, i wanted to do something with ritual, ceremony and history and you know i talked to my partner ross about the research and we opened and it hit a cord and people loved it. >> i think the line between engaging everyone with our culture and appropriating it. i think it goes back to asking people to bring their visions of what it means to honor the dead, and so for us it's not asking us
to make mexican altars if they are not mexican, it's really to share and expand our vision of what it means to honor the dead. >> people are very respectful. i can show you this year alone of people who call tol ask is it okay if we come, we are hawaii or asian or we are this. what should we wear? what do you recommend that we do? >> they say oh, you know, we want a four day of the dead and it's all hybrid in this country. what has happened are paper cuts, it's so hybrid. it has spread to mexico from the bay area. we have influence on a lot of people, and i'm proud of it. >> a lot of tim times they don't
represent we represent a lot of cultures with a lot of different perspectives and beliefs. >> i can see the city changes and it's scary. >> when we first started a lot of people freaked out thinking we were a cult and things like that, but we went out of our way to also make it educational through outreach and that is why we started doing the prosession in 1979. >> as someone who grew up attending the yearly processions and who has seen them change incrementally every year into kind of what they are now, i feel in many ways that the cat is out of the bag and there is no putting the genie back into the bottle in how the wider public accesses the day of the
dead. >> i have been through three different generations of children who were brought to the procession when they were very young that are now bringing their children or grandchildren. >> in the '80s, the processions were just kind of electric. families with their homemade visuals walking down the street in san francisco. service so much more intimate and personal and so much more rooted in kind of a family practice of a very strong cultural practice. it kind of is what it is now and it has gone off in many different directions but i will always love the early days in the '80s where it was so intimate and son sofa millial. >> our goal is to rescue a part of the culture that was a part
that we could invite others to join in there there by where we invite the person to come help us rescue rescue it also. that's what makes it unique. >> you have to know how to approach this changing situation, it's exhausting and i have seen how it has affected everybody. >> what's happening in mission and the relationship with the police, well it's relevant and it's relevant that people think about it that day of the dead is not just sugar skulls and paper flowers and candles, but it's become a nondenominational tradition that people celebrate. >> our culture is about color and family and if that is not present in your life, there is
just no meaning to it you know? >> we have artists as black and brown people that are in direct danger of the direct policies of the trump a administration and i think how each of the artists has responsibilitie responded ss interesting. the common >> hell oh everyone. thank you so much for joining us today. well, covid has changed our lives. the fact it is has changed how we go to work, how we go to restaurants, how we interact with each other but this year will change how we vote. we want to make sure here in san francisco, we make it as simple as possible. i'm excited to be here to announce that although we can't
do what we've done in the past, and provide early voting in city hall, we are going to be doing early voting right outside on grove street in what looks like a beautiful party at the present time. i want to thank the department of elections, and he will talk about more about exactly the steps that his team has taken to ensure that we not only make voting accessible, we make it safe. we want to make sure that people feel comfortable if they need to vote early. they can come to this voting center and it will be opening on monday. if they want to vote on election day or drop off their ballots on election day, we'll have 588 locations all over the city. and, what is -- don't be alarmed
if you don't receive your ballot you won't be able to vote. this department of elections has received everything. if you didn't receive it in the mail can you provide replacement ballots. if you are going out of town and you need a ballot mailed to a different location, there's a system in place to do just that. for whatever reason, you are not certain or uncomfortable accessing a paper ballot, there's just a lot of options. they've been sending things in the mail, sending things online to say our goal is to make this as easy as possible. in the last presidential election, sa san franciscans tud out in record number. it was a '80 turnout.
in 2008, it was 81%. this is a city that prides ourselves on making sure our voices are heard. we're not going to covid stop us from making sure that you have access to vote in san francisco at your convenience. i'm excited and i know that there's a lot of confusion out there but this department of election has done everything it can to make sure that it's easy to call the department of elections, call 311, go online if you need information for where to pick up a ballot or a replacement ballot. we thought of everything. so, there's no excuse for anyone in this city who is a registered voter not to vote. and in addition to that, if you
are not registered to vote, and you would like to register to vote, you have until october 19th. so, make sure that you take the opportunity to go online and this center is open and you can come here and register to vote and you can vote on the same day. in addition to the dress up locations on election day, and this voting center right across the street from city hall, we will have a number of of drop off ballot locations the weekend before election day. linda brooks burton library and the branch library. because again, we're trying to make it easy as possible and it's ballots in-person or on
election day. if you need more information, please visit the department of elections website at spelections.org. call 311 or call (415)554-4375. so with that, i just want to again thank everyone for their cooperation, the work they do. i really want to express a special thank you so john arts and the department of elections staff because they have been working very hard to make sure that no question is unanswered. anything or any scenario that could occur, they wanted to make sure they were prepared to support and address the public. and they work with the number great community organizations and to get out the vote and some of those organizations are with
us today, including george chance from the chinese newcomer service center, jackie flynn, the ex you director of and these are organizations who make sure that communities all over san francisco have accessed to vote. and we appreciate the work that they've done for many, many years. i also want to thank martha cohen, the director of special events, for taking such time and care with creating a warm and inviting space. thank you, martha for your work. and with that, i want to turn it over to our special guest, joining us here today, you probably recognize him because the tallest person here. our state senator, scott wiener. >> thank you, madam mayor. and i also want to thank martha
and also our department of elections and john arts for once again really stepping up to make sure that san franciscans can vote and vote easily. that's one of our core values in san francisco that we want people to vote and we want to make it easier for people to vote so i have complete confidence in our department of elections that we will run a beautiful election here and that we will -- it will just be a really strong showing and a really difficult period of time. this is a partnership between the state and our counties including san francisco we took action at the state level to people being able to vote during a pandemic and we authorized global vote by mail o so everyone gets a ballot even if you are not signed up as a permanent absentee and not put barriers in order to get an
absentee ballot and normally, it has to be post marked byelection day and i do want to ask people please, try not to rely on post marking on election day and sometimes you can mail it after whatever the pick up is at that particular box and there are unfortunately thousands of ballots each time where people just mail it too late in the day. it doesn't get post marked. make sure you are going to mail it, please, troy t try to mail tractor-trailer dait theday bef. even if there's a problem with the post office, which i don't think there will be. you have plenty of time if you mail it right up to election day. it has 17 days to a arrive instead of three and that is a huge change in stay law that we've made to just make sure that every ballot can be counted. what this is really about is
auctions. we want people to make choices that work for them and people can drop it off in different locations and of course, we have absolutely amazing voting facility here which will respond to our health needs in terms of allowing people to show up and vote safely. and to be able to do it efficiently. the capacity here, as you can see, is huge. it's going to start on monday and also be opening two weekends before the election. we're making it so easy for people to vote in a way that works for them and their family
and their own health situation. i have a digital town hall last week with our secretary of state, alex padilla and with con on cause and a representative of the american postal workers union and she was very, very clear that she has confidence that the mail is going to work well for this election. despite some of the turbulence we were saying, they've been able to move through that and she assured us our postal workers, who are some of our front line essential workers, who are putting themselves out there during this pandemic so we can do what we need to do as eye society they're going to work incredibly hard and they will deliver the mail and people can have confidence in the mail. so, again, thank you, madam mayor, thank you to our department of elections and let's just run a great election as always. thank you. and now, i want to invite up our
director of elections, john arts. >> thank you, senator weren't. thank you mayor breed and also for organizing this event. this is a great timing for an event like this, just before early voting begins. early voting will begin october 5th here at the voting center located outside bill graham auditorium. this is an example of the mayor and the senator wiener have indicated and the department and city have take ep steps to make sure that voting is safe and healthy experience for all voters in san francisco. the ballots we mailed actually tomorrow and voters will start receiving ballots on saturday and then they'll most will receive ballots on monday going through the election week. we have a full compliment of polling polic police station ple want to drop off or they don't want to mail their ballot back, just before elections day, is
they are outside the voting area so voters don't have to go mud the voting area. they decrease the amount of traffic that voters would experience at election day. and everything that we've done since really the end of the march election going through the cycle for november, has been to plan in relation to conduct an election, while trying to respond to a pandemic. so everything that is happening here at bill graham auditorium, is organized so that people can maintain social distancing and there's ppes that our personnel are wearing and useing and the public has provided ppe and hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes, face shields and things like that and the same for the polling places. the voters and co-workers can maintain social distancing as they go through the election process on election day. we've had p.p.e.s available for the voters and the poll workers on election day.
and the in-person voting here at the bill graham auditorium and the polling places there's a cleansing of the areas and materials and the commonly used items throughout the day so voters will go into a clean voting environment when they go to cast their ballot on election day. also, i want to echo the comments about the post office. we've had conversations and meetings with the post office before this election and to make sure there was no issues and with the processing and to support the conduct of this election for november. the post office of senator wiener noted, has put tremendous men does attention and focus on their abilities and their requirements to give ballots up to vote and he is get ballots to voters to elections here in san francisco. i want to share the city and the
departments of elections has put much time and thought into this and so they're safe and secure and everyone has a good experience on election date i'll turn it over to george chan. >> and even we call chinese and we're helping everyone. so this year we're happy to be receiving support from the city to continue the registered people. so, this year, we see the ballot we mailed to you and we help people register. we follow that many times they don't know if you change your address, make sure you update it, ok. so also, if you do know your status, we can help you to check it as well. thank you.
>> good afternoon, everyone. my name is jaclyn flynn. i'm the executive director of the a phyllis randolf of san francisco and we're working with the department of the elections in the city to really get out of vote this year. so i ask you, how important is your vote? 2020 is a challenging year as a nation. we have lost over 200,000 american lives from covid-19 and these fires, as you can see, continue to raise and scorch our state and homes and businesses and and the california economy and our air quality and and they leap gap in time with racial tension zoos tie that they spilled into our streets. so i asked again. how important is your vote?
this year and you can help redefine our jail system you can help reform our law enforcement system. you can help fund our parks, you can vote for housing and healthcare and your vote is a vote for change. i ask you, what can you do to effect change and if you can, do it early. send it in my mail. drop it directly into a ballot box and thank you to the city for creating an accessible space for folks to do that safely. and if you must safely head to your poll, please wear your mask and vote. i encourage awful us to ask our families, our friends, our work
colleagues, our neighbors to do something important, vote. this year has been hard on all of us. and as i think about why it's so important, i think about my own kids. and i realize that i have the power to set a clear example that i'm not satisfied where we're at in this nation today and i'm not going to sit back. i will be an element of change. the a phyllis randolf institute will be on the frontlines reaching out to our seniors and over 5,000 units of low income family housing across is this city. we'll be facing this year of covid, hitting the streets to ensure education and access to voting. you can help us in that fight. i'm inspired by san francisco. a city that votes for change. i'm inspired by inspired by a t looks like me. when i vote i celebrate my skin,
my lips and my determination to be represented by someone that understanding my perspective. to all my asian brothers and sisters and to all my latino brothers and sisters, we need you. we need bilingual folks and to my caucasian allies, we are all in this together. i challenge everyone to get education and make a plan and vote. thank you. >> thank you to the press and the immediate why for getting the word out and most importantly, we want to make sure that voting is easy. if you have any questions or concerns, what is interesting this past weekend, i heard from a lot of folks that said i didn't get my ballot yet, what is going on? what is happening. so people seem to be very
excited about voting. we also want to make sure that folks are able to get their ballots and they're able to get their questions answered and we make it as simple as possible and we also keep everybody safe. when we're showing up to our polling places, or our drop-off center or this particular center here across the street from city hall, we're all using the wash center to wash our hands and we're wearing our masks and complying with our health orders because that's how we're going to be able to continue to not only get through this but adapt to the needs to make sure that we are able to not only vote but vote safely. that's what this is all about and so thank you all so much for joining us here to the today. [applause]
>> i love teaching. it is such an exhilarating experience when people began to feel their own creativity. >> this really is a place where all people can come and take a class and fill part of the community. this is very enriching as an artist. a lot of folks take these classes and take their digital imagery and turn it into negatives. >> there are not many black and white darkrooms available
anymore. that is a really big draw. >> this is a signature piece. this is the bill largest darkroom in the u.s.. >> there are a lot of people that want to get into that dark room. >> i think it is the heart of this place. you feel it when you come in. >> the people who just started taking pictures, so this is really an intersection for many generations of photographers and this is a great place to learn because if you need people from different areas and also everyone who works here is working in photography.
>> we get to build the community here. this is different. first of all, this is a great location. it is in a less-populated area. >> of lot of people come here just so that they can participate in this program. it is a great opportunity for people who have a little bit of photographic experience. the people have a lot, they can really come together and share a love and a passion. >> we offer everything from traditional black and white
darkrooms to learning how to process your first roll of film. we offer classes and workshops in digital camera, digital printing. we offer classes basically in the shooting, ton the town at night, treasure island. there is a way for the programs exploring everyone who would like to spend the day on this program. >> hello, my name is jennifer. >> my name is simone. we are going on a field trip to take pictures up the hill. >> c'mon, c'mon, c'mon.
>> actually, i have been here a lot. i have never looked closely enough to see everything. now, i get to take pictures. >> we want to try to get them to be more creative with it. we let them to be free with them but at the same time, we give them a little bit of direction. >> you can focus in here. >> that was cool. >> if you see that? >> behind the city, behind the houses, behind those hills. the see any more hills? >> these kids are wonderful. they get to explore, they get to see different things. >> we let them explore a little
bit. they get their best. if their parents ever ask, we can learn -- they can say that they learned about the depth of field or the rule of thirds or that the shadows can give a good contrast. some of the things they come up with are fantastic. that is what we're trying to encourage. these kids can bring up the creativity and also the love for photography. >> a lot of people come into my classes and they don't feel like they really are creative and through the process of working and showing them and giving them some tips and ideas. >> this is kind of the best kept secret. you should come on and take a
class. we have orientations on most saturdays. this is a really wonderful location and is the real jewel to the community. >> ready to develop your photography skills? the harvey milk photo center focuses on adult classes. and saturday workshops expose youth and adults to photography classes. >> i am vivian coe. carman chu co-founded the challenge along in 2018, along wihe