A Campaign with Integrity — What the Richmond Deserves
I began my campaign for Richmond District Supervisor nearly two years ago. During this time, I’ve spoken with thousands of voters — a true neighborhood campaign. Richmond District voters are, just as I am, tired of divisive partisan politics at City Hall and are still exhausted from the negative Supervisor race that took place four years ago. This is the reason I took my campaign directly to voters early and often, to protect our much-needed dialogue from the (sometimes inevitable) negative climate that arises in the final days leading up to an election.
I have gone to extraordinary lengths to run a positive, issues-oriented campaign, focused on my background, my views on the issues, and my vision for the Richmond. That is why I was disappointed to see opponents of our neighborhood campaign attack my integrity and background in recent weeks. There has been an attempt to bend the conversation away from the issues and towards independent expenditures, something a candidate simply cannot control. So, in keeping with the spirit of my campaign from the very beginning, I will be transparent with Richmond District voters, just as you’ve been so open and honest with me about the troubles and challenges you face.
All of my donations and expenditures are public and, frankly, represent best practices in clean campaign fundraising. Recent and strongly editorialized reports from the Examiner suggest there is ‘dark’ money being spent by outside groups that is somehow untraceable — this is simply not the case, and the use of the term ‘dark,’ which has a well-understood meaning in political circles, has been used in error and should be retracted. In fact, substantial money is being spent on both sides of this race, something that can and should be reported with an eye towards fairness. Having worked with the San Francisco Department of Ethics in my role as a small-business owner, I believe in the power of transparency and already have plans to ensure in my role as Supervisor that such reporting be made even clearer for the public.
I have made clear my vision for the Richmond through as many channels as possible, months before other candidates announced their interest in the race. I was the first candidate to declare, the first to apply for, and the first to receive public financing through the City’s strict and transparent public fundraising mechanisms. My views on the complex challenges our neighborhood is facing have been posted publicly since we started this campaign. Last-minute spending in support of my campaign by outside groups, with whom I am forbidden to coordinate, will not change my views or these plans. (For example, I’ve made it amply clear that we need much stronger accountability from, and clarity in the law for, those in the home-sharing business.) I wouldn’t expect the money being spent in support of my opponents by independent groups to change their views either. This is simply not how ethical people behave, and I have strong faith that all of the candidates in this race are acting with the interests of the neighborhood at heart.
I have always felt strongly that the Richmond deserved better than the standard campaign vitriol used to scare people just before votes are cast. This is why I’ve been talking to neighbors, sending neighborhood newsletters, and holding drop-in office hours for more than a year.
I wanted to let residents know that my campaign is not politics-as-usual, and that we should instead have a reasoned, thoughtful neighborhood conversation — the conversation that the Richmond deserves. The Richmond has been lauded citywide for the tenor of this campaign, something for which I’m very grateful. We have a lot to be proud of.
There are just days left in this election. As I’ve suggested many times, the best thing we as candidates and you as voters can do to benefit the Richmond is to focus on the issues. I hope you will stand up for independence and transparency, and stand against the politics of fear. The Richmond deserves better, and I plan to deliver leadership that we can all trust.
MY FOUR CORE ISSUES
- Ensure safe and clean streets — despite the amount we pay in taxes to the City, basic public services have been neglected in the Richmond for too long. We need to adequately fund the SFPD to help with the rash of property crimes we have seen. We need to do more to keep our streets well-lit and free of trash and we need to address dangerous intersections among major transit corridors to protect residents. I’m the only candidate endorsed by all three major San Francisco public safety organizations — police, firefighters, and deputy Sheriffs, as well as District Attorney George Gascón, Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, and former Public Defender Geoff Brown.
- Prioritize housing affordability — create the new and affordable units we need to lower rents and keep families and working people in the Richmond. We also need to protect neighborhoods and renters, preserve rent controlled units, stop illegal evictions aimed at profiteering, and transition the homeless to permanent supportive housing. We need to stop burying our heads in the sand about the challenge we face here (read more here.)
- Support small businesses — as a small business owner myself, I know how hard it is to navigate City Hall. We need a neighborhood advocate who can bring our commercial corridors together to promote the vibrancy of our District. I helped found the Balboa Village Merchants Association and the Richmond District Asian Business Association as a private citizen, and as Supervisor I will continue to do all I can to reduce empty storefronts, clean up our major corridors, and protect our local businesses!
- Invest in transit infrastructure — this doesn’t mean ripping up Geary and putting people out of business, but we are the only district in the City not served by any type of rail system despite having the most-used bus line west of the Mississippi. I will advocate for the underground subway that our neighborhood deserves as well as collaboratively work through some short-term and medium-term fixes that will improve service and reduce congestion.