As Budget Chair, Supervisor Connie Chan knows we need to tackle the City’s deficit and deliver equitable economic recovery to all San Franciscans. To address this, Supervisor Chan has a six-point plan, the Equitable Recovery Plan, which aims to build a future where everyday working San Franciscans – all workers, wage and salary earners – and all business sectors, particularly small businesses that have been the backbone of our recovery; can continue to live in San Francisco and thrive.
Since April 2020, like the rest of the world, San Francisco has suffered economic set-backs due to the global pandemic. Many were and continue to be priced out of San Francisco. Many who are able to stay struggle to earn a living wage, stay housed comfortably, and stay healthy and safe. The Equitable Recover Plan will make sure all San Franciscans have a place in the recovery from the financial impacts of the pandemic.
The Equitable Recovery Plan
Boost Local Economy Equitably with Workforce and Business Diversity
The pandemic, shift to remote working, and expansion of online shopping has resulted in an estimated 147,303 fewer office workers Downtown each weekday, leading to a potential loss of $1 Billion to the local economy. The City should utilize temporary legislative solutions such as permit and conditional waivers that encourage diverse businesses to occupy vacant spaces, bringing a more diverse workforce and opportunities for innovative entrepreneurship.
Deliver Efficient City Services Through Accountability
The City has just under 100 departments that conduct government business and deliver essential services to San Franciscians without sufficient oversight. The City should examine each city department’s budget and hold department heads accountable to deliver quality city services in a timely fashion, allocating funding to these departments based on their performance audits and programming results, and mandating public dashboards to allow transparent access to this data.
Regional Approach to Address Homelessness as Public Health Crisis
According to a Point in Time count done in 2022, San Francisco has over 7,500 people experiencing homelessness on our streets. This is an urgent public health crisis. The City should apply lessons learned from responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through the regional strategic response across the nine Bay Area counties to coordinate and facilitate regional strategies with county public health officers to tackle the health crisis involving the homeless population. This would require a network of shared county resources, shared county data, and coordination with local health care systems, including but not limited to providing shelter and health care facilities beyond city boundaries.
A Future of Right to Transit Access for San Francisco Residents
Muni’s operations rely on ridership revenue, but there has been a significant drop in ridership over the pandemic. With reduced ridership, SFMTA’s future continues to face uncertainty. It is time to reexamine Muni and actually deliver on the City Charter mandated “transit first policy”. The City should identify dedicated state and regional funding for our transit system to prioritize restoration of service to all 51 Muni lines shut down during the pandemic and expand our transit services and coverage areas to serve San Franciscans equitably, generate ridership, and support a robust economic recovery. Additionally, the City should implement a Right to Access plan, beginning with low-income residents and expanding to all San Francisco residents to grant the right to access our public transit system no matter their economic status.
Build A Village for Working Families to Care for Children and Youth
Many businesses have challenges bringing back their workforce to meet the growing demand, and many workers have challenges to find work that can pay them a living wage in San Francisco when the cost of living is one of the highest in the nation. For many working families, especially wage workers, the cost of childcare is a heavy financial burden, at times outpacing their earned wages. The City should replicate and expand upon the successful Free Summer Camp program established by Supervisor Chan and Mayor London Breed in 2021 by leveraging existing public funding with philanthropic support, allowing working families to live and thrive in the City.
Invest in Green Infrastructure to Lay Foundation for A Sustainable City
According to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, nearly 70 public infrastructure projects were delayed due to PG&E creating obstacles to connect affordable housing, parks and emergency services to power. The project delays cost the City more than $10 million annually. The City should Continue to advocate through the San Francisco Local Agency Formation Commission, of which Supervisor Chan has served as Chair, to push the city forward to acquire our power grid from PG&E, and move away from the monopoly the company holds over so many city projects. Additionally, we must continue to green the City’s power grid and power sources and invest and green our energy, water and sewage systems.
The Equitable Recovery Act aims to build a future where all business sectors, big and small, all workers, wage and salary earners, everyday working San Franciscans citywide can continue to live in San Francisco and thrive.
This article was published in the Richmond Review on March 2023