Restore Public Safety
Criminal justice reform is needed. But misguided reforms, instead of bringing more social justice, have instead given criminals free reign, without having to fear being held responsible.
1,500 addicted homeless people died because District Attorney Chesa Boudin declines to seek jail time for drug dealers. Hana Abe, Elizabeth Platt and a dozen other innocent fellow citizens were killed by repeat violent offenders who should have been sent to jail by the DA, but weren’t. Our Asian-American neighbors have been the victims of a wave of assaults.
Over the last couple of years, homicides increased by 43%, burglaries by 42%, and car thefts by 34%. There were more than 200 shootings last year in San Francisco, nearly twice the number in 2019. Rampant shoplifting, theft and car break-ins leave us with a sense of general lawlessness and danger.
- Arrest, charge and seek conviction of drug dealers with the goal to protect addicted homeless people in our city.
- Introduce rules that prohibit releasing repeat violent offenders.
- Launch a crime-fighting program protecting our Asian-American neighbors. This will be a combination of more police presence and charging criminals with the aim to convict and jail them.
- Increase funding for the San Francisco Police Department, and fill the more than 400 open positions for police officers.
- Seek the repeal of Prop 47, the proposition that decriminalized shoplifting and theft.
- Seek to repeal Assembly Bill 2942 which made it easier for district attorneys to apply lesser charges against criminals or let them go entirely.
- Seek the repeal of Assembly Bill 3234, allowing judges to offer diversion to defendants even if the prosecutor disagrees.
- Seek the repeal of Prop 57, which allows earlier paroles.
Help Homeless and Drug Addicts
When I first came to San Francisco in the late 90s, we spent about $30 per homeless person per day, and we had about 5,000 homeless people. Today, we spend more than $80 per homeless person, and we have about 10,000 homeless people.
Whatever we are doing to fight homelessness - it isn’t working.
Almost 1,500 homeless drug addicts have died from Fentanyl overdoses in the last couple of years, twice as many as have died from COVID. Open drug scenes are tolerated and attract ever more dealers and addicts. Passed-out addicts high on Fentanyl are scattered across our sidewalks. Addicts live in inhumane conditions in tent settlements, turning parts of our city into slums. There is drug-related crime. Emergency rooms are overwhelmed. “Safe consumption” sites only enable more drug use instead of funneling addicts into treatment.
Effective policies to address addiction and drug dealing do exist. The Portuguese model, successfully putting an end to the drug crises in Lisbon, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Zurich, will work in San Francisco, too.
- Arrest, charge and seek conviction of drug dealers with the goal of protecting addicted homeless people in our city.
- Put addicted homeless people before the choice to enter rehab or go to jail.
- Create 4,000 more shelter beds in San Francisco instead of trying to build housing, which is too expensive and slow to make a difference.
- Dissolve tent campsites.
- Create a city wide mental healthcare system for rehabbing the serious mentally ill or addicted. Unify mental healthcare on the state level instead of on the county level for more effective treatment of serious addiction.
- Introduce annual audits of homelessness non-profits and hold them to account based on metrics: for each million dollars spent, how many homeless addicts have been transferred into shelter and treatment? What’s the percentage of spending that went towards salaries and administration?
Fix Our Public Schools
Our public schools are mismanaged and underperforming. During the COVID crisis, even when it was already clear that reopening schools was safe, the San Francisco Board of Education kept schools closed for more than half a year after. This led to immeasurable harm to our kids’ learning, and their social, mental, and physical development. Instead of helping our kids, the Board decided to give in to the teachers’ union’s demands.
The San Francisco Unified School District, failing to lift up underperforming kids, instead lowered standards to make it look as if it was meeting its goals. Accelerated math classes, gone. Algebra, gone. Advanced placement for talented kids, funding reduced. Meanwhile, on the state level, Democrats are seeking to “deemphasize” calculus. Lowell Highschool’s merit-based admissions, the only path for talented kids from poor families to make their way into elite colleges, have been replaced by the lottery system - disproportionately hurting Asian-American kids.
The Board also managed San Francisco Unified School Districts’ finances so poorly, and created such debt, that it nearly drove the district into state conservatorship. The fact that one in twenty San Francisco families with kids in public schools decided to send their kids to private schools instead in the 2020/2021 school year made the budget shortfall even worse.
All the while our city’s education crisis kept getting worse, the Board of Education wasted time with an ill-conceived and ill-researched scheme to rename our schools.
- Find ways to improve teacher compensation state-wide. Our greatest asset in our fight to fix our schools is our teachers. They are doing a great job under very difficult conditions (especially during the Covid crisis). Their work is often underappreciated and underpaid - and they shouldn’t have to pay for school supplies out of their own pocket.
- Launch a comprehensive program to address learning shortfalls in underprivileged kids.
- Go back to higher standards and testing for more accountability and better education.
- Reintroduce algebra and accelerated math classes and defend the teaching of calculus. Refund Advanced Placement.
- Reinstate merit-based admissions at Lowell Highschool
- Seek a review and reform of the district’s finances and get expenses back in line with income. This will include a review of the top-heavy senior management positions versus the number of students in the district.
- Prohibit indoctrination of our kids in elementary school with socialist or other extreme left-wing ideologies, and sexual education in grades K-4 without parents’ consent.
- Offer school vouchers to all parents with school-age kids. Many parents see the value in sending their kids to a public school - if they do a solid job. If not, parents deserve a choice.
Create Affordable Housing
San Francisco does not have enough affordable housing. Nurses, teachers, cops, firemen, drivers, shopkeepers, waiters - in other words, the people taking care of the tough jobs in San Francisco-, have a hard time finding housing that is within their financial reach. Instead, they often have to move to places far away from the city, with hours-long commutes to the city. They deserve to be able to live where they work.
- Make it easier to create new living spaces by simplifying rules and accelerating approval processes. It must be easier and faster to expand one’s home, redevelop homes into multifamily housing and redevelop underused lots (parking lots, single story commercial buildings).
- Subsidize affordable housing.
- Build 4,000 additional homeless shelters.
Help Businesses Small and Large
A strong economy is the foundation of a flourishing California. Small businesses need more help, and larger businesses need a friendlier environment.
A short walk through any of our city’s shopping districts - be it around Union Square, or in Noe Valley, or in the Sunset District - will show anyone the same picture: one empty storefront after another.
The COVID crisis, the surge in brazen shoplifting, and the state and city’s insufficient support of small businesses has led hundreds of them into bankruptcy. Thousands of our fellow citizens lost their livelihood, and often their life’s work, weakening our economy and our social fabric.
Larger businesses, as well as small ones, struggle under a barrage of red tape and high taxes and fees, as well as a general hostility toward businesses. The result: companies such as Charles Schwab, HP Enterprise, Jamba Juice, North Face, and Oracle have left California in record numbers. In 2020, we lost more than 60 enterprises. 2021 was on track to more than double that number.
Provide more support to small businesses to help them recover from COVID. This could include:
- Financial assistance
- Loan guarantees
- Debt moratoriums
- Tax relief
- Cut back on regulations and red tape and accelerate processes related to opening a business and issuing licenses and permits.
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