By Supervisor Gordon Mar
With the plan to reopen San Francisco becoming clearer, as more businesses and activities can resume with modifications in phases over the coming weeks and months, we must also plan for San Francisco’s economic recovery.
During this unprecedented health emergency, we are also facing an economic emergency. Renters are struggling to pay rent, homeowners are struggling to pay mortgages, small businesses are struggling to survive, and all of us are struggling to adapt to our new normal.
Nearly 100,000 San Franciscans have filed for unemployment since we declared a state of emergency. This too is now a state of emergency for laid-off workers. The pace of our unemployment crisis is faster than any since the Great Depression, erasing more than a decade of job gains in just a couple of months.
I introduced two pieces of legislation to address our unemployment crisis to help San Franciscans get ready and back to work.
First, I introduced the Workforce Education and Recovery Fund, a charter amendment I hope to place on the November ballot, to ensure that nearly 100,000 unemployed San Franciscans can upgrade their skills and get back to work as soon as possible.
This fund would invest in City College of San Francisco to maintain and expand education and workforce training. These investments should be central to our City’s economic recovery strategy. City College provides the most comprehensive offering of vocational training and adult education programs in our City, and it is tuition free to all San Francisco residents.
Second, I introduced the Back to Work Emergency Ordinance.
This emergency legislation will ensure that laid-off workers are the first ones offered their jobs through a fair process, if and when their employers re-open and start to re-hire. If their job isn’t available but another job is that they are qualified for, they will be offered that instead. And, while they are laid off, they’ll be notified of city resources that can help them weather this storm.
Workers deserve economic certainty. And it’s a win-win-win scenario. When public health allows, businesses will be able to re-open faster by bringing back staff that is already trained and ready to go, benefiting their business, their customers and our entire City.
And in light of the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis, it is more important than ever that our city services are effective, accountable, transparent and trustworthy. More of us are relying on city services than ever, and with a looming deficit, fiscal accountability is all the more important.
Meanwhile, our City is still reeling from public corruption scandals that continue to unfold. Recent ethics investigations have implicated the directors of three city departments, two commission presidents, an additional commissioner, plus a prominent city contractor, a permit expeditor and a billionaire developer.
We need structural reform to address the culture of casual corruption and pay-to-play politics and make our City more accountable, effective and transparent.
So I introduced another charter amendment to create the San Francisco public advocate, a new elected position responsible for investigating and eliminating public corruption, waste of taxpayer money and abuse of the public trust.
This is a long-term solution for a long-term problem. It shouldn’t take FBI investigations by the Trump administration to address corruption in San Francisco. And it shouldn’t take decades to root out corrupt officials. The public advocate will address this crisis as it must be addressed: locally, proactively and structurally.
For further accountability, I also wrote a unanimously passed resolution calling for more data reporting on COVID-19 transmission among vulnerable populations, including nursing home residents, LGBTQ community members and others living in congregate facilities.
Despite the fact that nearly half of California’s COVID-19 deaths are from nursing home residents and staff, San Francisco is not reporting transmission data at these or similar sites. These residents are especially vulnerable to this pandemic, and we need better data on how COVID-19 is impacting them. The LGBTQ community disproportionately experiences homelessness, incarceration, and housing insecurity. Where data is made public, it shows the community has disparate public health outcomes. Yet nobody is collecting, tracking or reporting full Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) data for COVID-19 transmission. If anyone can and should lead on this, it’s San Francisco.
We’ve also been focused on how best to prepare our neighborhood for the next steps through reopening and recovery.
With the People of Parkside Sunset and Sunset Mercantile, I’m proud to announce the launch of the Outer Sunset Farmers Market and Mercantile, starting July 5th! The Outer Sunset Farmers Market and Mercantile is a weekly market featuring farmers, ranchers, food artisans and vendors, makers, merchants, artists and local organizations. With strict adherence to public health guidance, this new weekly community event will help support our neighborhood’s small businesses and local artisans, while connecting community, local commerce, and causes with festive, family-friendly events.
Our office funded this new market and has worked closely with neighborhood leaders for the past year to plan and prepare for its launch. We’re so excited to bring this new weekly event to our neighborhood and encourage everyone to go to sunsetmercantilesf.com for more information.
We’re also proud to announce the District 4 Mobility Study.
Prior to the global pandemic, I asked the Transportation Authority to conduct the District 4 Mobility Study to explore ways to increase opportunity and access to sustainable modes of transit in the Outer Sunset and Parkside neighborhoods.
While driving has dramatically decreased everywhere, we have the opportunity to plan for more mobility options in D4 in the future in order to support sustainability and economic vibrancy while reducing congestion.
The outcome of the study will include specific recommendations for transportation service, projects and programs – and we want to hear from you! For more information and to get involved, visit http://www.sfcta.org/projects/district-4-mobility-study.
I’m proud District 4 has led the way on safer streets during shelter-in-place – from the Great Highway to Slow Streets to bike share – and we’re excited to continue hearing feedback and ideas from our community on how we can best use and improve these spaces going forward, and make adjustments as needed.
Even as some public health restrictions are loosened, it will be a long road forward in restoring and rebuilding our transit service, and we will need to continue to explore ways to make the most of our streets – and we want to hear from you on how we can best do that. These streets belong to all of us, and all of us should help decide their future.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at email@example.com, or to call us at (415) 554-7460. We’re here to serve you, and we’re all in this together.
Gordon Mar represents District 4 on the SF Board of Supervisors. He can be reached at (415) 554-7460 or firstname.lastname@example.org.