The southeastern part of San Francisco has been disproportionately affected by environmental injustices throughout our City’s history. Our neighborhoods, which have the most low-income and working-class residents in the entire City, bear the brunt of San Francisco’s environmental issues. We have the most industrial facilities, truck routes, a sewage treatment plant that treats over 80% of San Francisco’s wastewater, as well as the biggest polluter, the Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard (click here to see section entirely devoted to discussing my policies regarding the Shipyard cleanup). I believe that the environmental issues in District 10 are civil rights issues, and I have an unwavering dedication to addressing this reality, the most public service experience, and a team ready to take on these challenges with me in City Hall.
San Francisco has a comprehensive Climate Action Plan regarding energy usage, water usage, and waste output, but there has been little consideration given to how to implement some of its steps within our low-income, working-class communities. As someone who has worked extensively with many of these communities, I have the experience, dedication to the environment, and personal connections to achieve equitable implementation of our City’s environmental policies in every part of our City. In addition to the following policy areas, I have also outlined a comprehensive plan to increase public and alternative transportation options for District 10 residents that will help decrease our City’s overall car usage (please view transit plan here).
Residents, businesses, and developers all need to take responsibility for their role in improving San Francisco’s energy efficiency. I plan to work with the City’s leadership to prioritize the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s (“SFPUC’s”) Clean Energy Plan, CleanPowerSF, and ensure we use more solar and alternative power resources. This alone, however, is not enough.
Requiring that new developments are built with energy efficient measures will not solve the problems with the City’s existing infrastructure. San Francisco is full of beautiful, historic buildings with outdated electrical systems. It is easy to say that businesses and homeowners need to invest in upgraded windows, insulation, solar panels, energy efficient light bulbs, and other energy saving measures, but the reality is that many cannot afford the upfront costs this requires even if it saves them money in the long run. To be successful when making conservation policies, we must consider the diversity of our residents and their needs.
District 10 is home to many low-income and working-class families who can’t implement these expensive measures on their own, and small-property landlords have little incentive to make the changes themselves. That is why, if San Francisco is truly dedicated to improving our energy conservation, we must provide subsidies to help low-income families make these improvements. We should explore ways to incentivize and/or help small-property landlords and businesses make the larger needed changes, provide subsidies for ratepayers and companies that utilize and develop alternative energy, and allow the SFPUC to continue with opt-out strategies for clean energy as these initiatives go into effect.
In my time as Executive Director at Young Community Developers, I have worked closely with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (“SFPUC”) to place District 10 residents into engineering programs. This has lead to familiarity with their projects for conserving and recycling SF’s water supply and reducing the City’s water usage. Currently, the Westside Recycled Water Project is successfully delivering recycled water to the Harding Park and Fleming Golf Courses and is undergoing additional work to replace the Regional Water and groundwater supplies used to irrigate Golden Gate Park, Lincoln Park and Golf Course, the Presidio Golf Course, and other Presidio landscaping. There is an additional plan for an Eastside Recycled Water Project that will serve a portion of the east side of the City, where District 10 is located. As Supervisor, I will monitor the progress of these projects and ensure their completion.
Since SFPUC’s Large Landscape Grant program is available to any customer with 2.5 acres or more of irrigated landscape, I would also advocate for expanded use of this grant and of SF’s Non-potable Water Ordinance throughout the City. In combination with the SF Groundwater Supply Project that will disinfect and blend groundwater into our drinking water supply, these measures can significantly enhance San Francisco’s internal water resiliency and reduce our dependence on imported water. I believe District 10 deserves a Supervisor with the experience and knowledge needed to immediately begin managing and expanding these efforts.
As Supervisor, I would allow the data on San Francisco’s waste drive my efforts to ensure we meet our Zero Waste by 2020 goal. In this area in particular, it is easy to come up with legislation that gives people the idea of environmental progress but often far more difficult to do what actually makes the most progress happen. That is why, as Supervisor, I would push for a new comprehensive study of our City’s waste output so we can have a clear picture of what divertable materials are still ending up in our general waste streams. With the knowledge that would provide, the City could adopt policies specific to diverting those types of waste into compost or recycling efforts.
Currently, our City’s most recent Waste Characterization study (completed in 2006) shows that compostable material, such as food and soiled paper products, makes up 36.2% of our general waste stream – far more than any other divertable material. So, while I absolutely support continued efforts to reduce our City’s use of plastic materials, I also believe that we need more focus on programs that will educate residents about composting, ensure our restaurants and business are composting, and push for more efforts in that area.
Worked with solar and renewable energy companies to provide job training and job placement in those fields for District 10 residents.
Held developers responsible for community benefit packages that support walkability, mixed-use, and open space.
Developed an internship program with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (“SFPUC”) and joint venture architecture and engineering firms for District 10 High School students that connects them to the Sewer System Improvement Program which provides on the job training opportunities in engineering, accounting, architecture, government relations, and finance and accounting. Young Community Developers has successfully graduated civil engineers from this program.