On August 20, sf.citi hosted our first San Francisco Supervisor debate of 2020 with candidates running to represent District 1. With incumbent District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer vacating her seat, this is one of San Francisco’s most competitive races heading into the November 2020 election. During our debate, we heard from five of the top District 1 Supervisor candidates: Andrew Majalya, Connie Chan, David Lee, Marjan Philhour, and Veronica Shinzato.
District 1 is home to the Richmond, most of Golden Gate Park, and the University of San Francisco. Not sure if you’re a District 1 resident? Find out here.
IF ELECTED DISTRICT 1 SUPERVISOR, WHAT POLICY WOULD YOU PROPOSE FOR YOUR FIRST WEEK IN OFFICE?
Wasting no time in tackling the hard questions, sf.citi Executive Director Jennifer Stojkovic began the debate by asking the District 1 candidates what policy they would propose during their first week in office. Below is a sampling of what they said.
- Ensure public health and safety. District 1 candidates Andrew Majalya and David Lee named the City’s COVID-19 response as their immediate priority. While Majalya wants to ensure residents of the Richmond have adequate tools and education to slow the spread of COVID-19, Lee would like to see inhabitants of 15-20 tents in the Richmond relocated to hotels to help address the public health crisis.
- Tackle the budget deficit. Resolving San Francisco’s $1.5 billion deficit is the number one priority of District 1 candidate Connie Chan.
- Bring City Hall to the Richmond. Both District 1 candidates Marjan Philhour and Veronica Shinzato want to bring the organizing leverage of San Francisco City Hall directly to residents and local businesses in the Richmond. As part of her campaign, Philhour started a neighborhood summit to address major issues like homelessness, housing, and health and family wellness. Shinzato, in contrast, plans to open a supervisorial office in the Richmond so that constituents can reach her without making the trek to City Hall.
DO YOU SUPPORT BUSINESS TAX INCREASES TO CLOSE SAN FRANCISCO’S BUDGET DEFICIT?
San Francisco’s November 2020 ballot features several business tax hikes, including two that would directly affect the tech industry: Proposition F, a gross receipts tax (GRT) increase and Proposition L, an overpaid executive tax (also known as the CEO tax). Both measures have been proposed as a way to address the City’s $1.5 billion budget deficit, though many of the businesses affected by the proposed taxes are facing their own financial hardships as a result of COVID-19. Do the District 1 Supervisor candidates support or oppose these tax increases?
- Support: Candidates Connie Chan and Marjan Philhour support the proposed business tax increases.
- Oppose: Candidate David Lee opposes the proposed business tax increases.
- It’s complicated: Candidates Andrew Majalya and Veronica Shinzato weighed the pros and cons of the proposed business taxes and did not explicitly state their support or opposition.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WOULD DO TO MEANINGFULLY ADDRESS HOMELESSNESS IN SAN FRANCISCO?
It wouldn’t be a San Francisco debate without mention of one of the City’s biggest and most pressing issues: homelessness. Take a look at how the District 1 candidates plan to tackle homelessness in San Francisco.
- Provide housing and keep people housed. Candidate Marjan Philhour thinks San Francisco’s housing shortage has contributed to individuals living on the streets. She wants to see more housing of all levels. On a similar note, candidate Connie Chan believes the best way to address homelessness is to keep people housed, which means funding tenants’ legal counsel and investing in small sites acquisition.
- Track the right data. Candidate Veronica Shinzato believes more accurate data on San Francisco’s unhoused population, including people on the verge of being unhoused, is critical to receive appropriate funding at the state and federal level.
- Spend wisely, not more. Both candidates Andrew Majalya and David Lee believe money is not the problem when it comes to San Francisco’s homelessness crisis. Lee describes homelessness in San Francisco as a “problem of will,” while Majalaya believes the City has social programs that incentivize homeless people to come to San Francisco.
HOW WOULD YOU APPROACH RETAINING TECH WORKERS IN SAN FRANCISCO AS REMOTE WORK RESHAPES THE LANDSCAPE OF HOW COMPANIES DO BUSINESS?
With remote work on the rise, tech workers are fleeing San Francisco for less expensive cities. Whether or not this a long-term trend remains to be seen. In any case, how do the District 1 Supervisor candidates propose retaining tech workers—and their valuable tax dollars—in San Francisco, especially if remote work is here to stay?
- Make the City affordable, starting with housing. Candidates Andrew Majalya and Veronica Shinzato acknowledge that not all tech workers make a lot of money. They believe the key to retaining them as San Francisco residents is to ensure they can afford to live here. For Shinzato, that includes alternative housing solutions, such as homeshares and co-ops.
- Corporations need to pay their fair share. According to candidate Connie Chan, many tech companies continue to make money in spite of the pandemic and not all of them treat their workers well. She wants to help tech workers organize and experience their rights.
- Stop raising business taxes and cut government costs. For candidate David Lee, the pandemic is not the time to raise taxes on tech companies, many of which employ middle-class San Franciscans. Instead, he would like to see the City government cut costs, especially among some of its highly paid department heads.
- Take a closer look at how we attract businesses. Candidate Marjan Philhour believes we need to stop demonizing certain industries for the City’s woes and focus on attracting new businesses and families. To do this, she advocates a multifaceted approach of investing in housing, transportation, and small businesses.
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We covered many other topics, including San Francisco’s digital divide, micro mobility transportation options, and more. We encourage you to watch our District 1 Debate in full to dive deeper into the nuances of the candidates’ policy stances and priorities.
We also invite you to stay tuned for our candidate questionnaire, which comes out in early October. In addition to our voter guide, this sf.citi election resource will shed light on how the District 1 candidates stack up against one another on various issues. Make sure you’re subscribed to the sf.citi newsletter to keep up with all of our November 2020 election coverage and materials.