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A New Start at City Hall

San Francisco gave my immigrant family and me a new start in our beloved city. Now, as your District 1 supervisor, I am ready to give San Francisco a New Start to protect the working people in our city. 

As I promised on the campaign trail, my New Start Plan will prioritize the needs of small businesses and working people by pushing for robust and equitable public health services, building more affordable housing and keeping people housed, and uplifting those who are too often left behind by many of our City’s policies.

COVID-19 has demonstrated that our frontline and essential workers are not only our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, but also our transit workers, grocery clerks, janitors, food service and public service employees. They continue to risk their health and safety to ensure our families have food on their tables, a clean neighborhood and a ride to the grocery store.

As we continue to face this unprecedented public health crisis, we must do a complete analysis of our public health system with an eye to addressing the gaps in care and coverage in the current HealthySF system to ensure San Franciscans stay safe and healthy. 

I will push for robust mobile testing sites in the Richmond District, a safe and efficient reopening plan for our public schools and after-school programming. I will prioritize vaccination for our frontline workers, including first responders, teachers and other essential workers. 

For the long term, we need to improve general public health care services, expand access to dental coverage and mental health services and create a language access hotline for non-emergency health care for the City’s immigrant communities.

I will also work to prioritize our small businesses for any business assistance programs by providing them the technical and legal assistance to apply for state and federal relief funds. Our small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, and I will work to help streamline the small business permitting process. 

Thanks to San Francisco voters, we have reformed our business tax structure so that large corporations pay their fair share while we provide tax relief to small businesses. I will also be working to expand the Legacy Business program to recognize more longtime anchors of our neighborhoods and to establish free legal aid for small businesses so they can fight against commercial evictions in the months to come.

This public health crisis stay-at-home order further manifested that San Francisco must keep people housed. The City should continue to invest in our small sites acquisition program to preserve rent-controlled apartment buildings and prevent tenant evictions. I will advocate to increase opportunity for first-time home buyer programs for working-class families and develop a supportive system for homeowners and renters on fixed incomes. 

To prevent further tragedy on our streets, I will work with my colleagues to pave a pathway to bringing our homeless population off the streets and into Single Room-Occupancy (SRO) units and long-term supportive housing, improving the conditions of shelters and SROs, and providing workforce opportunities for the housing-insecure population.

I will work to expand wage-worker protections, including unionizing workers. This will ensure our workers are paid a living wage and have a voice to fight for safer working conditions. As supervisor, I will increase efficiency for the local wage worker protection system to help workers who are impacted through job losses or reduction in income – especially during disasters – to apply for benefits provided by our state and federal programs. 

Our City can also directly help all workers impacted by business shutdowns through increased investment in Free City College. I will work with City College to provide job training and professional certifications in order to help laid-off workers retool their skills for jobs and industries that will be in demand.

In order for San Francisco to stay strong and thrive, we must invest in working people first. That has been my promise and my priority. 

Thank you to the District 1 voters for electing me to represent you. I am ready to get to work!

This article was published in the Richmond Review in January 2021.

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