This op-ed was first published by the San Francisco Examiner on September 6, 2016
Supervisor Scott Wiener is the right choice for a progressive environmental agenda for the state of California. (Anna Latino/2013 S.F. Examiner)
By Amandeep Jawa on September 6, 2016 1:00 am
San Francisco’s state Senate race gives us a choice between two great candidates. Both candidates have a list of accomplishments of which they can justifiably be proud, and of which we as a city can be proud as well. Yet, for me, as an environmentalist, the choice is clear: Scott Wiener is the kind of leader we need in Sacramento to focus our state on addressing climate change and moving toward a more sustainable and greener future.
Moreover, when addressing these challenges, California needs to lead. In San Francisco, Scott Wiener has led, and continues to lead, with progressive approaches to clean energy, water conservation, sustainable transportation and transit-oriented development. As a state Senator, there is no question that Scott will be a statewide leader on environmental sustainability, which is the biggest reason why I am supporting him.
Wiener is a leader in the effort to move away from fossil fuels and toward a clean energy future. He authored legislation making San Francisco the first large city in the country to require the installation of solar panels on rooftops of new buildings. This week, he is building on that legislation by introducing first-in-the-nation legislation to expand green roofs, which clean the air, absorb carbon and reduce stormwater runoff. Wiener also passed legislation to expand the use of clean hydro-power in San Francisco from the Hetch Hetchy public power system. We need leadership in Sacramento to aggressively continue California’s transition from a carbon economy to a clean energy economy. I’m voting for Wiener because he will provide that leadership.
I’ve also been impressed with Wiener’s efforts to modernize our outdated water policy — to drag our 19th-century water system into the 21st century. Wiener authored first-in-the-country legislation to require new developments to include water recycling, legislation to make it easier for residents to install simple gray water systems that cut down on water waste, and legislation to require that new multi-unit buildings be individually metered for water, to encourage residents’ awareness of the water they use and strategies to reduce their water usage. I’m voting for Scott Wiener because he will help move California toward a sustainable water future.
What has particularly drawn me to Scott Wiener over the years is the fact that he is the leading fighter in City Hall for better public transportation and consistently supports sustainable transportation, such as biking, walking and car/scooter/bike sharing. It should come as no surprise, since he is a daily Muni rider. Scott simply gets it. He authored legislation tying transit funding to population growth and forcing developers to pay transit impact fees, and he plays a key role locally and regionally in generating funds for Muni, BART and Caltrain. The state needs to do much more to expand transit, including high speed rail, and I’m voting for Scott because he is a strong voice for transit and other sustainable transportation modes.
Wiener also clearly understands the connection between transportation, affordability and quality of life. He recognizes the need to build more transit-oriented, compact housing in walkable neighborhoods. He authored innovative legislation allowing for new, rent-controlled in-law units, streamlining the approval process for affordable housing, and allowing for increased density in transit-rich areas. I’m voting for Scott because he understands what it takes to make cities work for everyone.
And when it comes to environmentalists who understands what kind of leader Scott Wiener will be in the State Senate, I’m not alone. The California League of Conservation Voters has endorsed him and I can’t put it better than Sarah Rose, the League’s Chief Executive Officer, who said: “California is at a cross-roads, and we need environmental champions to help us move an aggressive sustainability agenda in the State Legislature. Based on his track record of championing environmental initiatives on the Board of Supervisors — including water recycling, clean energy, and sustainable transportation and housing — we are confident Scott Wiener will be a key partner in helping the environmental movement achieve its goals.”
This November, Scott Wiener is the clear choice. I’m voting for Scott for state Senate, and I hope you’ll join me. He’ll do us proud.
Amandeep Jawa is president of the San Francisco League of Conservation Voters and a longtime environmental, bike and transit advocate.