1) The current proposal for the U.C. Berkeley Extension property, a 6-acre site located between Laguna, Haight, Buchanan and Hermann streets, calls for the development of 500 housing units, with 80-88% market-rate rentals and the remainder income-restricted rentals. Market-rate rentals that are not subject to rent control often have a high rate of turnover, attracting transient renters who are looking for a “temporary” home. On the other hand, “affordable” housing tenants tend to remain in their apartments for many years. Do you believe the proposed amount of affordable housing is appropriate? Further, do you believe that housing on this site should be entirely rental? If not, what will you do to negotiate housing opportunities for a wider mix of income levels or home ownership on the U.C. Extension property?
I will support increasing the amount of affordable housing in this project, making some of the units available for purchase, and including a park and community center in the project.
I believe that individuals who live in a community for a long time, as renters or as property owners, are more likely to participate in civic activities that improve quality of life. My family has lived in a rent-controlled apartment for nine years, and we have become very active in our community. I have served on the Board of the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association for the past five years, and took a lead role in improving Alamo Square Park and in building the new Alamo Square Park playground. My wife participates in a mentoring program that helps local youth. I believe that long-term residency tends to foster civic involvement.
The U.C. project should offer more affordable housing units and “for purchase” units to encourage long-term residency and by extension, community activism and civic participation.
I would push for more affordable housing, housing for purchase, green spaces, community space, and better quality of life by engaging in discussions with the developer, and by making it very clear that neighborhood support of, (or energized opposition to), their development plan depends on their willingness to consider, accommodate, and incorporate the best interests of the existing community.
2) The Park and Rec Department seems particularly hard hit with layoffs and cutbacks. There will be a new director for Parks and Rec who will have to deal with these challenges. Explain how you will select and support this new director with these specific issues in mind:
A - voters repeatedly approve capital improvements funding for parks showing their support, but then the city cuts maintenance resulting in rapid deterioration of parks (in our community, the focal Koshland Park is one such example). What is your commitment to adequate maintenance budgets? What is your target level of financial support for parks (vs. current actual levels)?
B - another mission of Parks and Rec is children's programs. These have also seen severe cutbacks resulting in kids with little outlet for productive expression. The result is detrimental to the children and the community. The Western Addition, including Hayes Valley, is especially hard hit with its high concentration of at-risk children. How are you going to support Park and Rec restoring these programs?
I will support increased funding of the Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) under the following specific conditions:
- RPD must submit to an immediate audit regarding the expenditure of all bond monies raised and disbursed in the last five years.
- RPD must submit to an annual independent audit of expenditures.
- The results of both audits will be made available to the public.
- RPD must be subjected to an independent post-audit efficiency review and must accept and implement this reports’ recommendations regarding operational and financial procedures.
- Commencing immediately, adequate maintenance dollars must be allocated to RPD’s existing facilities before non-essential capital programs can be authorized to proceed.
- RPD must work with SFUSD, community groups, and community members to provide and/or accommodate after-school programs in existing recreation centers. These programs should operate during extended hours during school holidays and during the entire day during the summer months.
- The next Director of RPD should be a highly ethical, results oriented individual with a background in finance and a history of community service regarding economically disadvantaged youth.
3) Part of the purpose of the recent chain store legislation spearheaded by Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association is that it will help to preserve San Francisco's cultural and architectural heritage from being replaced by the "formula" architecture and interiors of large national chain stores. There is also sentiment in Hayes Valley in favor of designating certain parts of the neighborhood as historic districts as a way of preserving neighborhood character. What is your position on Historic and Architectural preservation?
People from all over the country, and all over the world, want to live in, or visit, San Francisco. One of the primary reasons that people feel this way is because we live in an architecturally beautiful, unique, and historic city. These factors make us special and, therefore, need vigorous protection. I will support all measures designed to protect these legacies. Opposition to chain stores and formula architecture is essential to keeping San Francisco special and beautiful.
4) The replacement of the elevated Central Freeway with the Octavia Boulevard presents an opportunity for Hayes Valley to balance automobile traffic with other modes of travel, including public transit, walking and bicycling. What measures do you recommend implementing that would limit auto congestion and encourage the creation of a pedestrian-oriented community where residents can shop within walking distance of their homes?
The success of the Octavia Boulevard Project depends on fostering vibrant small businesses supported by ample foot traffic. Adequate foot traffic should be encouraged by providing adequate public transportation, by providing shuttle buses for shoppers, and by making the Boulevard safe and inviting for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The current plan for Octavia Boulevard promises to produce an aesthetically pleasant environment. I will support traffic calming and dedicated bicycle lanes to encourage pedestrian activity. I will also support low cost improved regional, and local, mass transit to reduce automobile congestion.
I will support projects like the Transbay terminal that encourage visitors to come to San Francisco via mass transit, I will support dependable, inexpensive, mass transit systems within the City will make it easy for visitors and residents to use public transportation to travel to Hayes Valley and Octavia Boulevard.
5) Define “Community Policing” in three sentences or less. How many times in the last year have you attended the Northern District Police/Community Relations Forum?
Community policing seeks to reduce crime through cooperation with the community and through a holistic approach to the problems that lead to crime. When properly executed community policing is extremely effective way to improve neighborhood safety and quality of life.
I have attended community meetings at the Park Station. I have not attended any meetings at the Northern Station.
6) The Market/Octavia Plan creates a blueprint for a high-density, pedestrian-oriented, urban neighborhood where owning a car is a choice rather than a necessity. Please describe the elements of this Plan that you consider most important in determining the success of the Hayes Valley neighborhood. Please also identify any elements you think should be changed, and explain why.
I like the plan and its objectives. I was particularly impressed with the degree of community input that was sought, and incorporated into the plan. I am a supporter of affordable housing, mass transit, and parks. I believe that these are critical to the building of healthy communities. The Market/Octavia plan includes affordable housing, mass transit, and parks.
I am concerned by the fact that the Plan does not include enough green space and community space and that no funds were allocated for maintenance of Octavia Boulevard Park and insufficient funds were allocated for “ancillary projects” in and around Octavia Boulevard and its alleys.
I will make sure that the U.C. development will include a substantial park, and a community/recreation center. I will also make sure that adequate funds are allocated for maintenance of OctaviaBoulevardParkand for completion of “ancillary projects” in and around Octavia Boulevard.
7) Name the key crime areas in the Hayes Valley area. Name some individuals, groups, and community based organizations located in the Hayes Valley area that are currently working on reducing crime and improving the quality of life in our neighborhood.
The key crime areas in Hayes Valley are on Haight Street from Pierce to Laguna, on Grove Street from Fillmore to Buchanan and other associated areas. There is crime wherever there is poverty and hopelessness that has not been adequately redressed.
There are numerous groups working on reducing crime in our neighborhoods. The Northern Station Police Community Group, individuals from the Marcus Garvey Housing Project, including Carmen Johnson, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, Richard Johnson and Mattie Scott. There are many other fine people and organizations currently working on reducing crime in our neighborhoods.
8) Please comment in detail on the recently passed chain store legislation.
I supported this measure. It specifically banned new formula retail stores in a four-block area of Hayes Valley and forced chains to comply with notice requirements and to undergo stricter scrutiny whenever they attempt to set up shop in San Francisco. This measure empowers communities and protects the small businesses that employ many San Franciscans, and that add individuality and character to our city.
9) The Octavia Boulevard Project includes the creation of a new neighborhood park on Octavia Street, between Fell and Hayes. We expect this park to be an important gathering spot for the neighborhood and the performing arts community. The Octavia Boulevard Project does not include any funding for the maintenance of this park. The Recreation and Parks Department has no funding to maintain this park. How do you propose obtaining funding for the maintenance and upkeep of this very important park?
I will work with the Mayor’s Office and/or propose a measure requiring RPD to provide maintenance for this park. I will push very hard to get this done. This park is very important; it is the aesthetic and community centerpiece of the Octavia Boulevard Project. It is absolutely imperative that the park be well maintained, and it is clearly RPD’s responsibility to maintain it.
10) What is your position on green space as a requirement for any UC Extension development plan? Please provide as much detail as you can on what you feel adequate green space would be in this major site.
I will listen to the current community members to define what is acceptable. The U.C. Extension Project proposes adding many units of housing to a pre-existing community. They have an obligation to take the community’s interests into account as they proceed in this regard. I will push UC to provide the maximum amount of green space possible. My preliminary feeling is that a one-acre park would be appropriate. U.C. should also be obligated to provide community space for neighborhood meetings, recreational activities, daycare programs, and after-school programs.
11) A payroll tax exemption has been proposed for biotech companies while existing small businesses have recently been saddled with a new gross receipts tax. Do you support an exemption for biotech companies? Why? Do you support the new gross receipts tax? Why? How do you propose to help independent, locally owned and operated businesses thrive in San Francisco?
I support tax breaks for small businesses that employ San Franciscans, and enhanced rewards for small businesses that pay San Franciscans a good living wage. I am reluctantly supporting the new gross receipts tax because of the financial exigencies caused by reductions in State funds sent to San Francisco. I would prefer to limit the gross receipts tax to companies with an annual revenue of over $1,000,000. It is also important to note that the gross receipts tax self-terminates in 2008.
12) In order for our commercial districts to thrive we need to encourage many more customers to visit our shopping areas than can arrive by personal automobile. What creative ideas do you have for encouraging shoppers to travel to shopping districts by walking, biking, public transit or taxi?
I think we should build safe dedicated bicycle paths, reduce Muni fares on weekends during shopping hours, and provide shuttle bus services to surrounding neighborhoods so that shoppers would have an easy way to carry purchases home. Participating shopkeepers could also offer incentives to customers who produce dated transfers or taxi receipts.
13) When you become supervisor how do you propose to reduce crime and improve the quality of life for residents who live within the H.V.N.A. boundaries? Please give specific examples.
I consider the following issues to be critical to improving the quality of life in Hayes Valley and in District 5. They are interrelated, and they must be addressed in a comprehensive manner:
- Neighborhood Concerns I will listen to the concerns of neighborhood groups and the community, and work with them to solve problems that effect daily life in the neighborhoods. I care about street crime, park maintenance, stop signs, dangerous intersections, cracked sidewalks, abatement of nuisances, and maintenance of public facilities. These are all critical quality of life concerns.
- Housing: I will encourage construction of affordable housing (Both rental, and for purchase) and supportive housing for the homeless.
- Education: I will work to increase funding of San Francisco public schools, and support pre-school and after-school programs that improve young peoples’ chances of staying out of trouble and succeeding in life.
- Reducing Crime/Violence I will work to reduce crime (especially youth crime) in troubled neighborhoods through use of police foot patrols, enforcement of misdemeanor offenses, enforcement of truancy laws, amplified community policing, after-school programs, and community participation in crime prevention.
- Encouraging Small Businesses Small businesses are critical to our communities. They provide us with essential goods and services, and with places to meet, shop, eat and drink…in essence, they are the places where we form the bonds of community. They also provide jobs for San Franciscans. I will help small businesses by supporting programs that offer low-interest loans to existing small businesses, and to new small businesses in troubled neighborhoods. I will work with small businesses to address their concerns and to encourage their growth.
- Elimination of Graft, Corruption & Inefficiency San Francisco has a disease on the body politic...the disease’s name is “corruption.” Corruption, graft, and inefficiency have become a way of life in San Francisco City government. This affliction increases the cost, and decreases the effectiveness, of every government dollar that is raised and spent. This problem must be dealt with, and dealt with harshly, before we can meaningfully address the serious social problems discussed in points a-e, above.
14) Our performing arts center often has performances that draw many more patrons than can be accommodated by personal automobile. What creative ideas do you have that would encourage patrons to use public transit? What other suggestions do you have for effectively transporting patrons to and from the performing arts center? Do you support the construction of additional parking garages, or the expansion of existing garages in the Civic Center vicinity?
I think that dated performing arts tickets should entitle the user to free public transportation before and after the event. We could also provide shuttle bus services (like Super Shuttle) that would charge individuals a flat rate for transportation. I am not in favor of construction of additional garage space in the Civic Center area.
15) Funding for the traffic calming/pedestrian safety portions of the Octavia Boulevard Project's "ancillary projects" has been budgeted at $5 million. A large portion of this money will likely be spent on enhancing the livability of the South of Market neighborhood located near the touchdown ramp. This South of Market area will require a great number of amenities to maintain any reasonable quailty of life.
Spending the majority of the "ancillary" project money on South of Market, leaves very little money to spend north of Market on traffic calming or on developing "living streets" on the alleyways crossing the Boulevard. Pedestrian safety and the enhancement of the livability of our alleyways are key elements to the success of the overall Octavia Boulevard Project. How do you propose funding these improvements?
I will work with the Mayor’s Office and/or propose a measure allocating general fund monies for livability enhancements in and around the Octavia Boulevard Project. It is critically important that this aspect of the Project be adequately funded.