The class of 2008: an agenda

Pub date January 7, 2009
SectionNews & OpinionSectionOpinion

OPINION Every few years, San Francisco’s political landscape is remade. But we, the new arrivals of the Board of Supervisors’ Class of 2008, know that the last decade of district elections helped ensure that the supervisors truly represent our neighborhoods and our shared San Francisco values.

Despite various efforts by special interests to paint us as out of step with everyday San Franciscans, the very strength of our campaigns was that they were rooted in the lives of actual residents who understood the choices before them. We campaigned on the best of our experiences — neighborhood activism, labor and community organizing, running nonprofits and small businesses, and championing public education and police accountability.

Despite our different districts and diverse constituencies, we rallied voters around real San Francisco values — the faith in the role of government to protect the most vulnerable and bring forth justice and equity; the trust in grassroots democracy and neighborhood-based activism; the pursuit of a safe and clean environment and sustainable development; the belief in the sanctity of immigrant, labor, and LGBT rights; the dignity of working families, seniors, and people with disabilities; and the pursuit of housing justice and economic opportunity for all.

While the Class of 2000 paved the way on many of these progressive values, we enter public office ready to build on this foundation while rising to the new and enormous challenges of today. San Francisco is not just facing a fiscal crisis; we are facing a quandary in which city government cannot do all that it aspires to do.

Our agenda is no less ambitious for the crisis we are in. It is because of the crisis that we need to create opportunity, direction, and hope where there is violence, confusion, and despair. Our San Francisco values mean that we will tackle public safety by addressing the root causes of violence by seeking rehabilitation and restorative justice and push for real police reform by promoting the kind of community policing that is built on relationships between neighborhood residents and the police.

Our San Francisco values prompt us to make our city budget more transparent. We will initiate new programs only with the certainty that important services are not cut in the process. We will do our best to protect critical frontline city workers from privatization and layoffs.

We will work collectively to maintain the city’s commitment to its public schools; promote public transit; foster sustainable development and new affordable housing connected to green and well-conceived public infrastructure; promote community choice aggregation and public power based on renewable energy; support local businesses and the hiring of San Francisco residents; safeguard our sanctuary city to make sure that immigrants can live free from fear of ICE raids; and fight to keep our vital neighborhood services working and our parks, libraries, and senior centers thriving.

We are committed to ushering in a new tone of cooperation and unity in San Francisco. Despite the enormous challenges and contending political views within the city family, we will work to ensure that our neighborhoods always win out over special interests. After all, politics is about improving the lives of everyday people. We look forward to working with you in this noble effort.

Supervisor John Avalos represents District 11. Supervisor David Campos represents District 9. Supervisor David Chiu represents District 3. Supervisor Eric Mar represents District 1.