Candidate Forum – Dean Preston

By Dean Preston, Candidate, SF Board of Supervisors, District 5

Increasingly, it seems like every proposal at City Hall is meant to silence neighborhood voices and turn our neighborhoods over to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, struggling small businesses get little to no help from City Hall. Congestion and unsafe streets are left unaddressed. Residents are pushed out of their homes and long-term neighborhoods. It’s time to change our priorities.

Supe PRESTON photo SB 10-19

Dean Preston

I am running for supervisor because the status quo in City Hall is not working. San Francisco is the least affordable city in the entire nation, with staggering inequality. I’m an affordable-housing attorney, a former small business owner, an everyday Muni rider, and a public school parent. District 5 has been my home for more than 23 years. I have been on the front lines fighting for neighbors, small businesses and working people. 

There are solutions that would help our struggling neighborhoods, but many of those solutions require standing up to the corporate interests that are making money off of the problems. Here are just a few examples.

Protecting Small Businesses 

In recent years, City Hall has bent over backwards to accommodate massive corporations, including those whose business models violate SF law, while all but ignoring the neighborhood businesses that are key to the fabric of our communities and power our local economy. I am a former small business owner myself. I championed the Small Business Protection Act in 2006 and was an early backer of the ballot measure creating SF’s legacy business program.

One of the biggest struggles in neighborhood commercial districts right now is prolonged storefront vacancies, which are magnets for vandalism and crime, decrease foot traffic and drive up neighborhood rents. The solution: a penalty on vacant storefronts. This will provide a real disincentive for prolonged commercial vacancies and encourage landlords to rent to local businesses at lower rates rather than holding out for big national chain stores to pay higher rents. 

Housing Policy That Creates Affordable Homes

Our city is delivering for developers with robust market rate housing production, while dramatically underdelivering housing that is affordable to our teachers, nurses and working class San Franciscans. We need to prioritize affordable housing by protecting those who are affordably housed, requiring more affordable housing in new market rate developments and create social housing. Otherwise, this city will continue to be totally unaffordable.

The appointed District 5 supervisor is fully behind State Sen. Scott Wiener’s effort to take away neighborhood voices when it comes to luxury condominium development. Residents want more housing that is affordable – not trickle down housing policy that builds for investors instead of neighbors – without giving any new community benefits to our neighborhoods. We need a real housing plan, not more giveaways to developers.

Standing Up to Uber and Lyft

As an everyday Muni rider for more than 20 years, I understand the frustration of commuters in San Francisco. Far too often, buses run late or are too crowded to get on and have an overall on-time performance of only 55 percent, and 45 percent for the N-Judah. Our streets are congested like never before, and pedestrians and cyclists face increasing risks of injury or death. We need to make major changes to get the world-class transportation system San Francisco needs. 

We also need to stand up to companies like Uber and Lyft. City Hall has turned our streets over to these unregulated cabs. I’m supporting this year’s Prop. D, which will force Uber and Lyft to fund transit improvements. And I’m determined to make sure the city enforces our traffic laws against Uber and Lyft at the corporate level and demands geo-fencing to combat congestion. We can solve this problem if we have leaders willing to stand up to the companies causing the congestion.

District 5 has a crucial election this November. I will be a neighborhood voice at City Hall who is independent of the mayor and will stand up to the corporate interests that dominate our politics. 

For more information, visit www.votedean.com. 

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