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Looking Back, Looking Forward

With the holidays here, it’s incredible to look back on what my team and I have accomplished since we took office in January. 

From setting up vaccination center pop-ups with the Department of Public Health, Richmond District Neighborhood Center and Self-Help for the Elderly, to breaking ground on a new community hub with the Community Youth Center on Clement Street, to providing funding for the Richmond YMCA and Richmond Neighborhood Center to continue critical meal and grocery deliveries to our senior population – the teamwork with our community partners to serve our neighbors has been incredible. 

Looking back at my first year in office, I know our successes were possible because of our partnership with city departments, community partners, neighbors and our small businesses. 

During this year’s budget process, my office fought for funding to support community-based organizations, small businesses and residents to continue recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the Richmond District specifically, we allocated $1 million to support long-term recovery for some of our most vulnerable communities, including our seniors, youth and immigrants. Additionally, my office secured citywide funding that helped bolster our community needs and resources:

  • We secured $15 million for a free summer camp for our kids, expanding the City’s 2021 summer camp programming to include automatic eligibility for all currently enrolled public school students in kindergarten through eighth grade;

  • We worked with Supervisor Gordon Mar to continue funding housing programs and to expand the capacity to build and preserve affordable housing on the west side of San Francisco; 

  • We allocated close to $1 million to launch the Neighborhood Anchor Business program I authored, and we expanded the Legacy Business Fund so we can protect and promote our small businesses that have been serving our neighborhood’s commercial corridors for 15 years or longer. The program prioritizes resources for these small businesses so they can fight against commercial eviction and sustain beyond the pandemic; 

  • We also advocated for funding through the Grants for the Arts Program for the Western Neighborhoods Project, to help them launch a pop-up museum at the former Cliff House location;

  • We dedicated $1 million for the next two years for the Department of Children, Youth and their Families to expand capacity for afterschool programming citywide;

  • We allocated funding to make sure we continue the Nature in the City program in Golden Gate Park so our community can learn to protect wildlife in urban environments, and; 

  • We fought for funding to make sure Chinatown bounced back from the pandemic through clean streets, and arts and music programming, because we know when Chinatown tourism thrives – so will the rest of the City.

  • When I ran for office I promised that I would not stop fighting in City Hall for working people, and on day one when I took office, we hit the ground running:

Protecting Tenants and Building Affordable Housing

  • Unanimously passed a resolution urging the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development to prioritize small property owners in the distribution of rent relief funds;

  • Introduced a resolution calling on the Planning Department to formalize a sensitive communities map in the City’s 2022 Housing Element to help guide housing policy and prevent displacement in San Francisco;

  • Co-sponsored the mayor’s resolution to authorize financing for the acquisition of 4200 Geary Blvd., which will soon be developed into a 100% affordable senior housing project with 98 units and commercial space;

  • Co-sponsored Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s legislation allowing tenants to organize in their buildings, and;

  • Co-sponsored Supervisor Preston’s legislation to extend the COVID-19 eviction moratorium and keep tenants in their homes.

Supporting Small Businesses

  • Unanimously passed legislation to create a Neighborhood Anchor Business program to support our longstanding small businesses;

  • Voted to create a relief fund for entertainment venues and fee waivers for small businesses making up to $20 million in annual revenue;

  • Voted to remove startup fees for all new small businesses created this year.

Committed to Preventing Climate Disaster

  • Unanimously passed an ordinance reaffirming San Francisco’s commitment to tackling the climate disaster by eliminating the ability to permit oil and gas extraction and production in San Francisco;

  • Unanimously passed a resolution urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to provide $2 billion in utility bill debt relief to help those who lost their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

  • Unanimously passed a resolution supporting State Bill 612, which would reduce the burden of costly fees imposed on Community Choice Aggregation programs like CleanPowerSF, and;

  • Co-sponsored Supervisor Rafael Mandelman’s resolution urging the state legislature to implement the objectives set out by Gov. Newsom to increase funding for clean transportation programs and subsidy programs for low-income buyers of electric vehicles, and develop a state and regional electric vehicle charging network.

Fought for Equitable, Safe and Sustainable Transportation

  • Unanimously passed a resolution urging SFMTA and the Recreation and Park Department to create a “Beach to Bay” car-free connection throughout Golden Gate Park to provide equitable and safe access for all park users;

  • Co-sponsored Supervisor Preston’s legislation to allocate funding to provide free Muni for all;

  • Co-sponsored the mayor’s and Supervisor Myrna Melgar’s legislation to provide free Muni for youth through August 2022, and;

  • Urged SFMTA to restore its transit lines and service to 100% pre-pandemic levels to ensure we remain committed to being a transit-first city.

Honoring Our Ancestors and History

  • Passed a resolution initiating landmark designation for Lincoln Park, formerly known as City Cemetery and;

  • Passed a resolution urging the National Park Service to maintain the Cliff House location as a restaurant, and allocated funding for a pop-up museum at the site.

Giving a Voice to Non-Citizen Parents

  • Unanimously re-authorized an ordinance for non-citizen parents, guardians and caretakers of San Francisco Unified School District children to vote in Board of Education elections to make sure every parent has a voice.

Looking Forward to 2022

While we were able to accomplish so much this year, there is still much more work to be done. I have heard from many residents about their concerns on the challenges with public transit, increases in daily crime, the lack of efficiency of basic public services and embarrassment with City Hall corruption. So, I will continue to push for greater government transparency and holding city departments accountable. Enough is enough, and in 2022 I will utilize every legislative tool available to me to demand good and clean government so we can deliver efficient and quality city services to our residents, keep our communities safe, our streets clean and shelter those living on the streets. 

I will continue to fight for our working families, making environmental polluters who profit from the climate disaster pay their fair share, to push for more affordable housing development for our workforce and prevent displacement of our most vulnerable and to support our small businesses and help them thrive. 

I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season, and look forward to what we can build together in 2022. 

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

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