Saving our Urban Forest

December 17th, 2012
The Huffington Post

Trees on San Francisco's sidewalks beautify our streets, make our city green, clean our air, filter storm water and cool our neighborhoods. They also cause huge -- and totally unnecessary -- headaches for San Francisco residents.

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The Castro’s Bright and Challenging Future


December 6th, 2012
The Bay Area Reporter

Few neighborhoods in our city - indeed, in our country - approach the Castro's cultural significance. Particularly for the LGBT community - but for many others as well - this wonderful neighborhood represents so many of our community's aspirations of equality, acceptance, and forging a life for oneself.

The Castro has seen its fortunes rise and fall over the years, from the highs of the 1970s to the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s to the strengthening of our community with the advent of protease inhibitors in the 1990s. Today, the Castro's future is bright, yet challenging. The neighborhood's fundamental strengths remain, and our challenge is to retain those strengths even as inevitable change comes to the neighborhood. Here are a few thoughts on the state of the Castro and its future:

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Making SF Housing More Affordable by Design: Efficiency Units

July 8th, 2012
The Examiner

It's no secret that housing is expensive in San Francisco. Only 11 percent of San Franciscans can afford to purchase the average-priced home. Rents, always high, are even higher these days. It seems like we are perpetually at risk of pricing out our young people, working people, seniors, families and our middle class generally. To address this crisis, we need to think broadly and creatively and make our housing policies more flexible.

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Muni Can’t Afford Free Fares for all Youth


April 9th, 2012 SF Gate

A proposal to provide free Muni fares for all youth, of all income levels, is under consideration in San Francisco. While this proposal is well-intentioned, Muni cannot afford the $8 million annual price tag. We need to increase access to transportation for low-income youth, but a new and expensive obligation for Muni - at a time when Muni cannot pay for its basic operational needs and is expanding parking meters and increasing parking fines - is a bad idea.

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Nightlife: Fun plus jobs

February 28th, 2012
San Francisco Bay Guardian Online

OPINION We all know the cultural benefits of nightlife. It's fun. We get to meet people -- friends, lovers, and all the rest. We build community. We hear great music. We dance. We spend time outside on our streets. For LGBT people, we meet other LGBTs and keep our community strong. The list goes on: Without a strong entertainment scene, including bars, clubs, live music venues, arts venues, night-time restaurants, and street fairs, our city would be a less interesting and less diverse place.

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Huffington Post: A Start to Reforming Our Dysfunctional Ballot Measure System

Two of the most common questions I'm asked as an elected official are "Why do you make us vote on so many things?" and "Why doesn't the Board of Supervisors do its job and pass legislation without asking us to pass it for you?" Last Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors placed a charter amendment I'm sponsoring on the November ballot -- a measure that will start us on the long road of reforming our ballot measure system.

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Maintaining San Francisco’s trees – lots to do and no money

July 18th, 2011
Huffington Post

A thriving urban forest is a key part of a great city and great neighborhoods. Trees help define neighborhoods. They make streets more walkable. They allow for greater absorption of water into the ground instead of our flood-prone sewer system. And, they reduce global warming. 

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Fixing Our Ballot Measure System and Maintaining Our City’s Trees

bowlingalley.jpgJuly 18th 2011 BeyondChron Shortly after I was sworn in as a member of the Board of Supervisors, I was introduced to a woman who was trying to do something good for the Mission and San Francisco: open a bowling alley at 17th and South Van Ness. Maybe I'm a sucker for bowling alleys because of my New Jersey roots - after all, I love greasy spoon diners and roller rinks, both very New Jersey. Maybe it was because I think that the greater the diversity of entertainment options in our city, the better. Or, maybe I just love it when someone wants to be an entrepreneur in San Francisco. Whatever the reason, I was immediately interested in the project.

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Historic Preservation in San Francisco: Balancing our past with our need to evolve as a City

sfgatephoto.jpgJune 26th 2011

SF Gate

San Franciscans are proud of our history. We're a city of neighborhoods, and we work to maintain our neighborhoods' unique identities and histories. I'm particularly honored to represent the oldest neighborhood in San Francisco, Mission Dolores.

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Closing a Loophole in the Transit Development Impact Fee

The Board of Supervisors recently passed legislation I authored to close a loophole in the fee developers pay to account for the transit impacts of new development. San Francisco is experiencing an unprecedented development boom, with significant housing and commercial space being added as our city's population and job base grow. As we add this development, our public transportation infrastructure and capacity must keep up. Muni currently lacks capacity - due to years of short-sighted transit under-investment by policy makers - to meet current demands, let alone future increased demand as our city grows to a million residents and many more jobs, and we must aggressively invest to shore up the system and expand its capacity. Our transit impact development fee contained a loophole that would have allowed some large or insects in Mission Bay to avoid the fee. My legislation closes that loophole and ensures that projects pay their fair share.

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