City Hall

City Hall: Joel Engardio

A New Start at City Hall for D-4

There are lots of opinions about who a district supervisor should be, what ideologies they should support and which identities they should represent.

For example, I’m the first openly gay supervisor elected in a westside district. Some find that interesting because San Francisco’s western neighborhoods have been historically conservative.

How much does it matter?

I knocked on the door of an 81-year-old woman who told me she is a lesbian. She has lived with her partner in their Sunset home for 50 years. She remembers when being LGBTQ meant shame, persecution and no hope of equal treatment. She knows transgender people still face terrible discrimination.

So, it’s meaningful to her when the Board of Supervisors has more LGBTQ members. But she also wanted to know where I stood on the issues that affect her daily life. She grilled me on crime, traffic, education and homelessness.

Being gay was not the only reason to vote for me. I had to offer a larger vision for creating our best San Francisco. To win the election, a majority of voters needed to feel that my vision best matched their vision.

I believe we must focus on the basic ingredients for a healthy city: safe streets, good schools, affordable housing and vibrant small businesses.

Nothing else matters if residents don’t feel safe. And our public schools need to attract families, not drive them away. Our City’s future depends on being a more family-friendly city.

I recently visited the police station that serves the Sunset and met with officers one-on-one and in small groups for 10 hours. Our beat officers need to know their work is valued and that their supervisor supports them.

The Sunset saw a big increase in larceny theft last year. We need to make thieves know that they’re not going to get away with it in San Francisco.

As supervisor, I can’t control the schools. But I will do everything in my power to ensure families are getting what they need from our public schools. We need to fix the pain points that cause families to leave San Francisco – like a lack of advanced classes and not being able to attend your neighborhood school.

I support building more housing because I want the adult children of longtime residents to stay in San Francisco.

I also support small businesses. Let’s give entrepreneurs the freedom to create the next big idea. It could be the one to save our local economy.

There is a lot to fix in San Francisco. But we are far from a dystopian city. There is much joy to be found and creating more joy is what motivates me to work on what needs fixing.

Sandra Jeong sent me a message describing herself as a 66-year-old, third-generation San Francisco native.

Here’s what she said: “I hope that you will bring sanity and common sense back to our local government.”

Thank you, Sandra, for your trust. I will be a supervisor for all Sunset residents. That includes the 49% who did not vote for me.

My job is to listen to your concerns. Whether it’s a broken street light, a needed stop sign or a place for kids to skateboard.

My job is to work with you to make everyday neighborhood improvements, no matter where you stand on the citywide controversies.

And when it comes to the big stuff, my job is to work with my colleagues in good faith to find the compromises that get things done.

We must move forward as a city that values ordinary residents like Emil Tran, who sent me this message:

“Thank you for taking the time to listen to ordinary citizens like me. Residents of this district will no longer tolerate politicians who ignore our needs.”

Thank you, Emil, for expressing your concern. I am here to represent you.

Joel Engardio is the District 4 representative on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He can be reached at

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