London Breed Mayoral Questionnaire

Please describe why you are running for office.

I’m running for Mayor to ensure that every San Franciscan has the opportunity of a good paying job, a safe and affordable place to live, and the peace of mind that comes from feeling safe in our homes and on the streets of our City.

My first priority in housing and homelessness is to create an affordable city for ALL of us. I’ll protect and expand our affordable and rent-controlled stock, and honor Mayor Lee’s commitment to build 5,000 units per year. I’ll continue to work with unions to build homes for low and middle income people, and build on underutilized sites around the City like the McDonald’s on Haight and Stanyan.

San Francisco needs a Mayor who will make our neighborhoods safer—and on issues of public safety, I don’t back down. This means confronting the property crime wave, as I’ve done by working to add more police officers to keep up with our rising population. This means reducing emergency response times, as I did when I fought the ambulance crisis in 2014. And this means crafting smart policy that aligns with our values: Championing our sanctuary status, implementing systemic reform, and reintegrating people coming out of jail. Just as I’ve always done.

 

Please describe your qualifications for office.

I have dedicated my entire adult life to serving our communities and improving San Francisco’s housing, environment, public safety, transportation, and quality of life. I have a strong track record and I’m not afraid of addressing tough challenges. I have helped transform unused public housing units into homes for homeless families, and I am leading the effort to renovate thousands more. I have fought for more navigation centers for the homeless and I launched a task force to study whether safe injection facilities can help IV drug users off the streets and into treatment.  My policy positions have been consistent and based on the needs of my constituents — not what is politically popular. My dedication to affordable housing, homelessness public safety, and economic justice makes me an ideal mayor for San Francisco.

 

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

Housing, homelessness, and public safety.

 

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?

I do believe San Francisco is facing an affordability and displacement crisis. I grew up in public housing and so housing insecurity isn’t just an abstract point of policy for me. I’ve lived it. When I was in college, we were told our home was being torn down. It was up to me and my grandmother, the woman who cared for me all my life, to find a new place to live. Affordable housing is essential to preserving San Francisco’s diverse identity and we need to act locally and regionally.

I secured $2 million to renovate vacant public housing units for 179 formerly homeless families, ensuring they were not left waiting in our shelters. I’ve helped invest city resources to create more affordable housing in San Francisco, with a particular focus on addressing the teacher shortage we’re facing today.

Here are the actions I intend to take as mayor:

  • Create an affordable city for ALL San Franciscans.
  • Protect and expand our affordable and rent-controlled housing stock.
  • Increase funding for all types of housing preservation and creation.
  • Keep Mayor Lee’s commitment to build 5,000 units per year.
  • Build housing on underutilized sites, working with neighbors and property owners as we did at a McDonald’s.
  • Reform San Francisco’s archaic approval process for code-compliant new housing and streamline the application process, with automatic approval for code-compliant, 100% affordable projects.

 

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

Yes, urban infill development is good for the environment and will be key to California meeting its carbon reduction goals over the coming years. I am supportive of Senator Wiener’s SB827 with amendments, which are currently in process in the legislature. I believe that transit-oriented development throughout the state is necessary to address our housing crisis.

 

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

 I will push forward Mayor Lee’s directive to build 5,000 new homes every year. We have historically failed to build enough homes for our residents and this effort is an important piece of creating homes for all San Franciscans.

  • During the last 30 years, SF only built on average about 1, 900 units per year
  • Even though we have built or preserved 17,000 units in the last five years, it is not enough

Every neighborhood will need to do its part, I don’t think there is one area in particular that can be responsible for addressing the housing crisis.

 

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?

I have fought for the creation of affordable housing and I was instrumental in reforming our City’s inclusionary housing policies for more middle income housing, for anti-displacement preference for individuals seeking housing and displaced from their neighborhoods, and for the preservation of our existing housing stock. In doing so, I fought to make sure that the city remained within the Controller’s recommendations, as to not stifle the production of new housing.

 

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, and I have led on this issue even when it was not politically popular. San Francisco should establish safe injection sites in high-need areas, which provide an alternative to injecting drugs unsupervised – and possibly overdosing – and reduce the risk of needle sharing and spreading diseases, such as HIV and Hepatitis C, in the process. Injection sites should also provide, though not require, individuals access to treatment and social services to address their needs.

This would have an added benefit of reducing the amount of discarded needles we see on our streets.

 

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?

No.

 

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, I am a co-sponsor of the legislation at the current threshold of $1,000,000. I support the Project Labor Agreement because the agreement is a pathway to higher wages for workers, better protections for workers, and better opportunities for local residents — all of which I have long advocated for and will continue to support.  

Additionally, I am am a proponent of veteran hiring. The PLA requires the use of Helmets to Hardhats program, a program I believe offers real sustainable careers for veterans.

 

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

This is a difficult issue that I’m eager to work with our small business community on. It’s a problem that I see as interconnected to other land use challenges we face in the city. I’ve heard from a number of merchants who would benefit from increased foot traffic in major transit corridors, which would come with the creation of new homes in the area.

I would also explore ways for the city to work directly with owners of vacant storefronts to find creative solutions to find tenants for these properties to ensure the vibrancy of our commercial corridors.

I have sponsored and passed legislation to protect and support local small businesses including first-in-the-country legislation to protect live music venues, rewriting San Francisco’s outdated game laws to help three small businesses open including the one currently activating the famous Harding Theater, and working to establish the Japantown Community Benefit District which will improve one of only three remaining Japantowns in the country.

 

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

Yes. An unfortunate byproduct of the housing crisis is that some people, as a result of rising rents and home prices, think an economic downturn would be good for the city. I remember the Great Recession, and I know that economic recessions hurt the most vulnerable among us the hardest. 

We need to ensure that we do our part to create enough housing to keep pace with our growing economy. With this growth, we also need to ensure that we’re investing in our transit and transportation infrastructure to keep pace.

 

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?

Yes. I support San Francisco following Oakland’s footsteps and developing an equity framework for recreational cannabis business that prioritizes applicants who have borne the brunt of the failed war on drugs.

 

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

I am currently supportive of the Housing for All ballot measure, a commercial rent tax which will provide needed funding for housing for all communities including working families, teachers, and formerly homeless individuals.

 

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.

There are a number of historical causes, both national and local, that have resulted in the income inequality gap we see in our city today. Today, our biggest challenge to addressing this gap is addressing our housing crisis.

I have seen generations of my family, friends, and classmates leave San Francisco. Today, my housing situation is like many living in San Francisco. My home is a rent-controlled apartment in the Lower Haight. Until three months ago I still had a roommate. I’m still paying off my student loans. I drive a fourteen-year-old car and bring coupons to the store. San Francisco is experiencing an affordability crisis, and I’m right there with you.

The post-recession boom created tens of thousands of jobs in a city that was already feeling the squeeze of high housing prices and a chronic housing shortage. Unfortunately, not many of us have access to the high-paying jobs that pay enough to afford San Francisco’s market rate prices.

We aren’t producing enough affordable housing to meet the needs of our low-income population. People who earn middle-class incomes — teachers, nurses, non-profit workers, police officers — make too much to qualify for affordable housing, but not enough to afford market prices without a second job. The result is rising income inequality and the out-migration of many communities of color from San Francisco. This crisis has dramatically weakened the most essential structures of support in our community.

I am the only candidate in this race to release a detailed housing platform, which you can find on my website at www.LondonForMayor.com. In it I describe how I will lead the City to create more homes while ensuring protections for our most vulnerable populations.

 

Transportation

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

Yes, we must increase our subway system dramatically, not just to relieve the congestion we currently have but to be prepared for the population growth we anticipate.  I’ve supported BRT expansion in San Francisco, and hope we can learn from the delays we are experiencing with Van Ness BRT in future projects.

 

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

After months of urging from the City Attorney’s Office, Lyft has finally agreed to share data with the City, and it seems likely that Uber will follow suit. We need to take a look at the practices of these companies and figure out how we can best coordinate to make a San Francisco that works for everyone.

 

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?

The housing crisis has forced many too people to move farther away from San Francisco. We need to build more affordable housing for young families, working people and folks who want to stay here in our great city. We need to invest in our schools to make them worthy of our children and commit to funding the Free City College program so anyone has the opportunity to further their education.

 

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

I know what it’s like to grow up in a community ravaged by drugs and violence, held down by unemployment, and held back by neglect. I’ve lost friends; I’ve lost family to gunfire, drugs, and despair.

Now, years later, and living only a few blocks away, I know what it’s like to have your car window broken not once, but repeatedly, even when you had nothing inside to steal.

San Francisco needs a Mayor who will make all our neighborhoods safe, a Mayor with a record of standing up for public safety and fighting for the resources we need. I am that Mayor.

I’ve released a comprehensive public safety plan on my website that describes how I will address the public safety challenges we face, which you can read at www.LondonforMayor.com.

This includes 1) increasing our police presence and fully staffing the SFPD 2) fixing loopholes in our laws that allow for property crime suspects to evade prosecution 3) working with the SFPD to create dedicated teams for property crimes that use predictive policing methods and 4) educating our residents and tourists on how to best protect themselves and their property.

 

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

Please see the above response.

 

Do you support allowing SFPD officers to carry tasers?

The Department of Justice (DoJ) conducted a thorough review of the SFPD’s policies and practices, motivated by requests from Mayor Lee, myself, and others.  The DoJ report contained 94 findings and 272 best practice recommendations, one of which was for the SFPD to implement tasers.

I respect the judgement of the Obama Justice Department.  I respect SFPD Chief Scott.  I respect the careful deliberation and decision of our Police Commission.  I recognize that Sheriff Deputies in City Hall, where I work every day, carry tasers.  And with all I’ve seen and experienced in my life, I hate guns. If tasers — with thorough training and oversight — can stop one shooting, then I support tasers.

I will fund their implementation.  And NO ONE will be more vigilant than me in making sure they are implemented and used appropriately.

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