Given our housing crisis, one of the most important things we can do is to keep people stable in their housing. I recently asked our City Attorney to draft legislation to close a gigantic loophole in our city code that allows building owners to demolish rental units without even providing tenants with notice ahead of time, thus allowing them an opportunity to contest the demolition and effective eviction. Because an owner isn’t required to provide tenants in illegal units with notice, the tenant has no opportunity to contest the permit, for example, by appealing it to the Board of Permit Appeals. The legislation will require the same notice to all tenants – whether or not their unit is officially recognized – before the owner obtains a building permit to demolish the tenants’ units.
You can read more about the proposed legislation here.
Within the next years years, the use of cannabis is likely to be legal in California. We can't wait until legalization happens to start preparing for this policy, which will dramatically impact San Francisco. To start planning now, I've introduced legislation to form a Cannabis State Legalization Task Force, which will consist of residents, businesses, advocates, and government leaders who will consider the numerous social, economic, land use, and enforcement issues surrounding legalization. You can read more about the task force here and here.
Our commercial corridors need active retail businesses like cafes and shops to draw customers and people to our neighborhoods. Too often we see banks and office-type uses come in and take valuable sidewalk space, creating dead spaces on our streets, especially in the evenings and on weekends when these businesses are closed. To encourage more active retail spaces, I introduced controls that requires a conditional use process for office use in sidewalk-fronting businesses. This will ensure we have a thoughtful process for making our neighborhood commercial corridors more vibrant and livable spaces. You can read more here.
Today I'm introducing legislation to allow the construction of new in-law units in the Noe Valley, Glen Park, and Diamond Heights neighborhoods. This builds on previous legislation I've authored to allow the construction of in-law units in the Castro and in buildings citywide undergoing voluntary and mandatory seismic retrofits. These units are generally the most affordable kind of non-subsidized unit available, and allow us to expand housing supply in a sustainable way within our neighborhoods. You can read more about the legislation in the San Francisco Business Times here.
San Francisco was ground zero for the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and now it is ground zero for the effort to eliminate new HIV/AIDS infections. I'm proud to be part of the amazing work being done by the Getting to Zero Consortium, which is comprised of public health leaders and workers fighting to end new infections of this terrible disease in San Francisco. The PBS Newshour interviewed me as part of a look into this effort. You can watch the story here.
California is in a serious water crisis, but this is also a long-term problem. We need to start implementing policies to change how we conserve and consume water. That's why I introduced legislation at the Board of Supervisors to to require onsite water reuse systems – for example, graywater and storm water recapture systems – in new developments and to push city departments to use non-potable water for all cleaning and irrigation of public spaces within the next 5 years. This is an important step towards no longer using our precious drinking water for flushing toilets.
Click here to read about the legislation.
This week, the Board of Supervisors approved my resolution to call for good labor relations between shuttle drivers and the companies who run the commuter shuttles that use our bus stops. Employee shuttles are an important service for San Francisco residents and reduce the number of cars on our streets. We need to make sure that the men and women driving these shuttles are treated fairly and have good working conditions. You can read more about the resolution and its passage here.
Recently I appeared on KQED Newsroom to discuss private transit services, like Leap and Chariot. The fact that these services are drawing commuters means that people are eager to find alternatives to personal automobiles, which is good for our transit first city, and that Muni is neither reliable nor robust enough to meet the needs of transit riders. We need to invest more in our transportation system. You can watch the show at http://www.kqed.org/tv/programs/newsroom/