Jane Kim Mayoral Questionnaire

Please describe why you are running for office.

San Francisco can and should be, a beacon for the rest of the country. We have the resources to make progressive ideas into reality if we have strong leadership that has the vision and will to act; I have proven that my ideas and values are not simply words – I have repeatedly fought, led and won battles to bring progressive initiatives into fruition.

My vision for San Francisco has us setting a higher standard for quality of life and city services, addressing income inequality and the opportunity gap, tackling homelessness, and reactivating our civic pride, starting with demanding clean streets.

 

Please describe your qualifications for office.

I have represented one of the more complicated neighborhoods of San Francisco– representing our wealthiest and our poorest, a district with the most new construction and growth, as well as the areas that need the most help.

As a member of the Board of Supervisors, I taken this lesson to heart and worked for a city that works for everyone. I have fought for policies to expand opportunities for everyone and have asked those who are doing very well to give a little back to support the city we all love.

I’m proud to have led the fight to make City College free for all our residents so everyone has the chance to continue their education and acquire new skills. We funded this by levying a modest tax increase on ultra luxury property valued over $5M so that the people who make San Francisco what it is should benefit from our growth and prosperity.

And I’ve not just advocated for these policies – I’ve won for our residents.

I will fight for concrete policies that will help us maneuver through this period of great transition, support San Francisco values while making services better for everyone.

 

What are the three main issues you will focus on if elected?

Income inequality has created interwoven issues that we must address: our affordability crisis, homelessness and decline in city services and quality of life. We are a wealthy city with dirty streets – it’s unacceptable and addressing street cleanliness this will be my top priority at City Hall.

We also need to do more to retain and re-grow our working and middle class families. We need to address the financial burdens our working families are facing. We need to preserve and build more affordable housing necessary to retain our low- and middle-income families and move people off of our streets. I’m proud to have fought for the highest levels of affordable housing– I’m not afraid to step up and negotiate for my residents. I am also fighting for free and affordable childcare to reduce the cost burdens for our working families.

We need to continue to work to make progress on homelessness. Far too often, a homeless resident dealing with serious mental health or substance abuse concerns is shifted into our criminal justice system or taken to emergency rooms rather than getting the treatment they need. I’ve advocated for more medical respite shelters and a Behavioral Justice Center to support individuals who need sustained help.

Finally, we need to be investing in smart education policies like Free City College and universal affordable early education for 0-3 year olds – to help us expand opportunity for every residents.

Housing and Homelessness

Do you believe San Francisco is facing an affordability and displacement crisis? If so, what do you think caused it and how would you address it?

Absolutely. Between 1980 to present, the federal government has cut funding for subsidized and affordable housing in half– our country used to be in the business of building affordable housing for low-income and working class households. As the federal government invested less, homelessness and related indicators went up.

In less than ten years, we’ve added 100,000 residents – that’s equivalent to New York City adding a million residents in the same period of time. Our infrastructure and housing has not kept up with our growth. During this time, low-income residents and increasingly middle-income residents have been displaced and pushed out.

Displacement isn’t just a tragedy for the individual families affected; it hurts our city and overall community. We cannot be a healthy city if we are a hollow city with room for only the very rich and very poor and everyone else commuting in. I’ve fought hard for increasing inclusionary housing requirements in our market rate development and spearheaded the effort to include middle-income families in private developments for the first time. As we add housing we need to make sure we’re adding housing the majority of San Franciscans can afford.

 

What is your opinion on the zoning regulations in San Francisco? Do you believe that dense, urban infill development is environmentally beneficially?

I’m all for revisiting zoning regulations, as well as administration, post entitlement process and enforcement. Dense, urban infill that is affordable will allow residents to remain in San Francisco close to their jobs reducing their need to commute by car or endure long transit trips. Transit is the #1 source of greenhouse gas emissions in California. The growth must also occur on a regional level– San Francisco cannot solve the housing and affordability crisis alone. We need to coordinate the region and ensure we are all building together.

 

What neighborhoods do you think are best for the creation of new housing in San Francisco?

There are large development sites I’d like to see built more quickly– Park Merced, Shipyard, Pier 70, Candlestick and Treasure Island are large entitled projects with higher levels of affordable housing and are being slowed down by lack of funding for infrastructure. In addition, we need to look at the long tail– the huge numbers of smaller dwellings (1-15 unit residential developments) that could accommodate additional dwelling units throughout the City. There are tens of thousands of potential additional units we could build more quickly and affordability if we can streamline the process and standardize planning and fire requirement guidelines.

 

Do you support inclusionary housing requirements for new housing developments in San Francisco? If so, would you support raising the inclusionary rate higher than the current agreement reached by the Board of Supervisors?

Yes. As the Supervisor responsible for adjusting the rate from 12% previously set in the City’s constitution to allowing the legislative body to adjust the City’s affordable housing requirements on private development based on fiscal feasibility studies and our economy, I strongly support our inclusionary policy as one vehicle to build more affordable and middle income housing. I also negotiated record numbers including 40% affordable and middle incoming housing at the Giants Project, 5M, and 160 Folsom and other large projects by increasing height and density to fund the affordable units. These negotiations yield more market rate and affordable units. Only 12% of San Franciscans can afford a median priced home in San Francisco, we need to maximize affordable housing for working and middle class residents now. It’s important to push the envelope while maintaining project feasibility.

 

Do you support allowing safe injection sites in San Francisco? Would you support a declaration of a state of emergency regarding public drug use on San Francisco’s streets?

Yes I support safe injections sites.

I have called for a state of emergency on homelessness. There are many reasons why people end up on the streets – substance abuse, job loss, mental health conditions, evictions and domestic abuse are just a few of the causes. A state of emergency would allow us to better marshal public resources to confront every aspect of this crisis.

Economy & Jobs

Have you opposed any new major construction projects (Treasure Island, Shipyard, Parkmerced, Mission Rock, etc) in San Francisco over the past 10 years? If so, why?

I have not opposed any development project in my District- instead I have sat down at the table with our developers and negotiated strong deals for San Francisco residents to ensure we are building for our residents. I authored and led the process that led to the approval of Treasure Island and Mission Rock. I’m proud to have fought hard and won for our city.

 

Do you support a citywide mandated Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for public work or improvement projects, and if so do you support it at the threshold of over $1 million?

Yes. Defining project benefits in terms of jobs and wages and connecting these jobs to training programs gives San Franciscans a pipeline to jobs which support our families. I also strongly supported the PLA when I served on the San Francisco Board of Education. Project Labor Agreements reduces delays which often increase costs.

 

What do you propose as a solution to the problem of rising rents for local businesses?

Rising rents threatens to shudder our local businesses that make San Francisco special. I support grants and rent subsidies for our legacy businesses. We need to stabilize rents for small businesses that are the backbone of our neighborhood corridors and create disincentives so that landlords do not keep their storefronts vacant while they wait for tenants who can afford higher rents. We need to get creative with zoning and other tools to encourage micro spaces that are more affordable for emerging businesses and understand the changing landscape of retail driving consumers to shop online.

 

Do you support more economic development and job growth? Do you support the creation of more office space in San Francisco?

Yes. We also need to balance our office growth with supporting housing and transit needs for new workers all across the income spectrum. Rapid growth has brought great wealth to our city but that growth has not been felt evenly by our residents. We have many San Franciscans who struggle to find good, family-sustaining jobs. We can leverage our prosperity to help our residents obtain good jobs and create good jobs in communities with higher levels of unemployment. I pushed for Free City and funding our only life-long learning institution to help residents acquire the skills needed to get great jobs. I’ve urged our partners in the tech community to develop mentorships and pipeline opportunities for members of our historically disadvantaged communities to learn the skills and build relationships to enter into growing sectors of our economy such as the tech, hospitality and healthcare sector.

 

Do you support the recent compromise at the Board of Supervisors regarding retail cannabis licenses? Do you support allowing more retail cannabis licenses in San Francisco?

I’ve long supported the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana and worked with my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors to develop a balanced regulatory framework for the legalization of recreational marijuana which launched on January 5, 2018.

Now we must begin the more challenging work of building more equity and opportunities for women, people of color and individuals negatively impacted by the Drug War into this growing industry so that they can generate jobs and wealth in all our neighborhoods as well.

Which, if any, local tax measures have you supported in the past? Are there any you’d support or advocate for moving forward?

I have supported progressive revenue measures which ask our residents and businesses who have prospered in San Francisco to invest in our city and fund programs that expand economic opportunity – such as the luxury real estate transfer tax to fund Free City College. I’m currently the co-author of a commercial gross receipts tax on office landlords to fund universal, affordable early childhood education for low-income and middle class families. We have one of the lowest gross receipts rates in comparison to cities like Los Angeles and New York – a modest increase can help fund quality education programs for our youngest learners before they enter Kindergarten and invest in increasing the productivity of our workers, in particular our women workers.

 

According to the Brookings Institution, income inequality, has reached a point in San Francisco whereby the gap between rich and poor residents has been growing faster than in any other city in the nation. Explain what you believe the cause(s) to be and what do you see as short or long term remedies.

Long term wages have been stagnant since the 1980s. Over the same time period, we’ve asked workers to take on far more responsibility for their retirement, healthcare and education expenses– costs that were previously born by employers and government. We have divested from public institutions such as housing, education and health care which long supported our working and middle class. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s economy and wealth have exploded during the same period and we have seen an exacerbated inequity because of the confluence of these trends.

We can solve this if we work together. As a wealthy and progressive city, we have the opportunity to leverage our wealth to better support our most vulnerable residents and lift up our working families to expand opportunity throughout our city.

In the short-term, we can and should improve our quality of life and our city services. Clean streets, Free City, affordable child care – these are steps we can take now to expand opportunity and make our city more pleasant for everyone.

In the longer term, we need to push for more affordable housing throughout our city – not just large developments but smaller projects – accessory dwelling units and 3-15 unit projects which can expand capacity without overwhelming or changing the character of our neighborhoods.

We must evaluate how we build housing, how we invest in our infrastructure, and how we lean into our regional partners to support addressing this crisis together.

 

Transportation

Do you support the expansion of bus lanes and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on existing major city streets?

Yes.

 

What is your opinion on ride-sharing services (Uber, Lyft, Chariot, Scoot)?

It’s clear that taxi services were not meeting the need of our residents and ride-sharing services smartly stepped in to fill the gap. However, that doesn’t mean those services should be exempt from common-sense regulation.

Recent reports show that ride-hailing services represent about 20% of the traffic on our already congested streets. They also cause the majority of moving vehicle violations on our streets. Many of the drivers are not San Francisco residents which makes it difficult to control what these commercial businesses are doing on our streets.

Ride-sharing services use a public resource (our taxpayer funded city streets) to do business. It’s only right that we ask them to fund the resources they use. We need to change state law to allow cities (or the state) to levy a per ride fee on these services – the revenue can be used to repair our roads and improve transit. I use ride-sharing services but I also support a cap on the number of drivers in our city (if permitted by the state). Further we should explore how we can ensure drivers from other jurisdictions are licensed and regulated to make sure they meet the high standards we expect in San Francisco.

 

Do you support policies to incentivize the use of modes of transportation other than private vehicles? If so, which policies in particular?

I support a robust public transportation infrastructure that moves people around at a competitive price. Specifically, I think about regional transportation like ferries– I’m really excited about the terminal that’s been approved for 16th street near UCSF, and how that will connect that part of town to the East Bay, as well as to the 3rd street MUNI line. I’m supportive of extra cars on MUNI, and extra busses, as well as new technologies that may help us plan smarter. I’m willing to consider a lot of options here, and will do so in connection with how we think about new housing.

Quality of Life

San Francisco currently has the lowest percentage of children of any major city in the United States. What would you do to make San Francisco more hospitable to families and children?

Clean streets, parks, quality public schools and affordable housing are important for retaining children and families in San Francisco. My track record demonstrates my commitment to supporting working families and my commitment to reducing the costs of housing, childcare, school enrichment programs while advocating for cleaner streets and activated open space.

San Francisco boasts incredible natural resources and cultural institutions. Cost of living is one of the biggest hurdle for families. Further, the very people who support working families, childcare providers, teachers and paraprofessionals cannot afford to live here. Educators are pillars of every community and we need to ensure that they can afford to live in the communities they serve. We can do better.

What will you do to promote greater public safety in San Francisco?

We can and should double the resources to clean our streets, house our most vulnerable and provide higher quality education and workforce opportunities to all our residents. Income inequality is at the root of our public safety issues. In addition, we must also fund near term improvements, additional foot and bike beat police officers, better lighting, cameras and doorbell cameras to assist our public safety agencies.

While we have one of the lowest rates of violent crime and homicides, we have one of the higher rates non-violent property crime also known as “crimes of opportunity.” We need to invest in our vulnerable residents and also create a dedicated district attorney unit and centralized investigative unit in SFPD to address auto burglaries and other theft to disrupt the larger pattern of property crimes we are seeing city-wide.

Recently there has been an increase in property crimes and “smash and grab” car burglaries. How would you address this issue?

We must create a dedicated unit in the District Attorney’s office and a centralized investigative unit at SFPD to address and disrupt property crime. We also need to be smarter about how we deploy our public safety and police officers. One of my priorities is addressing congestion and pedestrian safety issues– instead of asking SFPD to shift resources away from serious crime, I worked creatively with SFMTA to utilize our parking control officers (PCO) to enforce “blocking the box” and double parking as non-moving violations.

Do you support allowing SFPD officers to carry tasers?

I do not currently support adding tasers as an additional weapon utilized by SFPD. We must first build trust with all our communities and fully implement de-escalation strategies and other Department of Justice (DOJ) reforms before we consider tasers. I am sensitive to voices of officers, including our women officers, who are asking us to consider tasers as an alternative to guns while acknowledging that tasers have led to unintended deaths recently in near by cities like Daly City and Oakland. We must continue the conversation but first we must in good faith continue our good work in implement DOJ reforms that build a safer city for us all.

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