Spencer's Priorities

San Francisco deserves better. Let’s solve our problems at the source with practical solutions rather than feel-good bandaids. 

Crime & Property Damage

Increased visible crimes on our streets have led to a downward spiral of our once vibrant communities. Increased property crimes has also negatively impacted our local tourism and business conference events. Parked cars have now put up signs begging not to have their windows broken into. This is not acceptable. San Francisco deserves better.

  • Address laws adversely affecting crime. Certain laws, like California’s Prop 47 adversely affect property crimes in our city. Although the intent of this law was to help people stay out of our jail system, it also had a side effect of increased small dollar property crimes. I will push to review the data around laws like this to determine if they have had positive effects on individuals in our justice system as well as the broader community impact.
  • Increased street safety & foot patrols. We have seen an increase in visible street crime over the past years from blatant, daylight break-ins to assaults of individuals in Chinatown and on Polk Street. I will push for permanent increase in foot patrols, to increase the safety and well-being of our residents.
  • Restorative justice with enforcement. When individuals choose not to take advantage of the resources we provide them, we should bring them through our justice system. Additionally, every step of our justice system should focus on restorative justice rather than punishment. I will push to ensure our city has a justice system that supports everyone, including those touched by our justice system as well as all community stakeholders.

 

Homelessness Crisis

For the past several years, San Francisco has played a game of catch-up and largely addressed the symptoms rather than the causes of individuals becoming homeless. City leaders have lost focus of the real issues, gauging success by the number of shelter beds created, rather than the number of individuals on the streets. As a result, the number of individuals living unsheltered has increased 30% over just 2 years. 

My proposal: A comprehensive approach to reducing individuals living on the streets which takes into account the many resources available to the city, largely ignored. This includes resources from local nonprofits in adjacent services, including legal aid and senior services, as well as local companies and small businesses that can offer valuable assistance.

Additionally, I am proposing quick and malleable methods to help us determine the best approaches, without being locked in to long term “solutions” that fail to evolve when circumstances change. These proactive approaches include:

  • Building housing & navigation centers. We must demand that all eleven districts in San Francisco have services to help those experiencing homelessness, including navigation centers, medical centers, job training facilities and legal aid services among many others. We cannot allow these services to be only available in one or two districts, forcing those experiencing homelessness into specific areas of San Francisco. 
  • Audit of funds going to homelessness services. We, as a city, need to know where our resources are going. Recent reports of beds left vacant in shelters as well as an ever increasing budget dedicated to addressing the crisis has made it abundantly clear. Our issues cannot be solved by just increasing our budgets, we must make sure our resources are being used effectively.
  • Zero deaths on the street by 2025. In 2019, we had 275 people die on our streets. It is unacceptable. We must set a goal to have no deaths of homeless individuals on our streets by 2025. I will push to have this goal adopted by the city and ensure that there are enforcement mechanisms if the goal is not met, including holding the mayor, city supervisors, and top elected officials directly responsible.
  • Supporting service providers. We need to help the helpers. This means ensuring that case managers, nurses, mental health clinicians, legal aid lawyers, outreach workers and many others can effectively do their jobs while having a place to live in our city. I will ensure that San Francisco builds the housing necessary to sustain and grow these services providers so that they can give back tenfold to our communities.
  • Fix & use conservatorship laws. San Francisco has a population of about 200-300 homeless individuals who should be conserved under our local laws. These individuals have severe mental health or substance abuse issues to the extent where they cannot care for themselves. We have ignored this problem for too long and have let many of these individuals die on our streets. I will push for these individuals to be brought into our mental health system under our conservatorship laws.
  • Strengthen tenants rights & legal aid services. Let's nip the source of homelessness in the bud. There are many reasons people are forced into homelessness: wrongful evictions, illegal rent increases, harassment and other reasons. I will make sure that local tenants groups and legal aid organizations can work directly with city government and other local resources to keep individuals off the street.

 

Affordable Housing

Lack of affordable housing impacts every aspect of our city. Our public transit is unreliable, our tenant protections lack implementation, and businesses are closing because employees aren’t willing to work in a city they can’t afford. 

Without affordable housing for restaurant workers, public transit employees, teachers, first responders, case managers, and thousands of others, we have no hope of climbing out of the crisis we’re in. We need to focus on housing as a top priority for the city and ensure we build tens of thousands of homes needed to support today’s San Francisco.

  • Updating zoning laws. Our city zoning laws are stuck in the 1950’s. A majority of our city is zoned for single family homes, making it impossible to build new housing for service workers, transit workers, construction workers, teachers and many others. I will push to update our zoning laws city-wide to allow for higher density housing for those who need it the most.
  • Streamlining permitting process & community feedback. Our permitting process is broken as it is convoluted and undemocratic. I will push for a more streamlined permitting process will be 100% transparent. I will transform community feedback process so it's not easily taken hostage by a small, loud group. 
  • Rebalancing office space production. When we build office space in San Francisco, we must also build housing for those who work here. I will push to change our permitting process so that all new office space also includes completed new housing.

 

Small Businesses

Small business is the backbone of San Francisco and it’s what makes our city unique. We have some of the most amazing restaurants, most historic bars, most iconic stores, and most resilient business owners. We must support these businesses through the ups and downs of our local economy and make sure they’re around for years to come.

  • Streamlining permitting process & community feedback. It is currently difficult and expensive to start a business in San Francisco. We force business owners to pay for permits that take up to a year and a half to be approved while also having to pay rent without having income. The process has become so complex that business owners regularly pay consultants to walk them through the process of city permitting. I plan to streamline the business permitting process by removing unnecessary (and often duplicate) steps, fees, fines and complexity. Additionally, we must ensure our current permitting process is replaced by one that is 100% transparent with written rules, regulations and next steps.
  • Support through construction, retrofitting and emergencies. Many of our small businesses have struggled when going through earthquake retrofitting, nearby construction and even local economic downturns. I will ensure we put in place plans that will guarantee support for these small businesses when these issues arise. We must make sure to craft our local legislation and plans with our small businesses at top of mind, not as an afterthought.
  • Protections for storefront rentals. San Francisco’s business have few rights when confronted with huge rental increases. Many businesses have seen their rents triple or quadruple overnight forcing them out of business. It’s time we step up and protect our local businesses against bad landlords attempting to make a quick profit at our expense. I will help support strong rental protections for our businesses.
  • Reducing city fees. San Francisco charges businesses fees for everything under the sun: sidewalk tables, cash registers, candles, burglar alarms and many other ridiculous things. I will push to remove, reduce or consolidate these fees for our small businesses, ensuring they’re not being taxed out of existence by the city they call home.

 

Public Transit

  • Pedestrian, bike & public transit first communities. We need to build our city with a pedestrian, bike and public transit first focus, we can no longer be forced to concede to single occupancy vehicles. Car transit has contributed to global warming, pedestrian deaths, and the destruction of our communities. I’ll push to take back our public spaces, including our roads, and make them places where people are proud to connect with their community.
  • Protected bike lanes. New bike lanes in our city need to have physical barriers to keep cars, trucks and other vehicles from using the lanes. Without physical barriers bicyclists are put in dangerous situations, where they’re forced to weave in and out of traffic. I will push for more protected bike lanes as well as increased enforcement for anyone violating these spaces.
  • Affordable housing for transit workers. All transit workers need to be able to live comfortably in San Francisco, we cannot force them to commute from hours away to do their jobs. I will push for new affordable housing for transit workers and many others.
  • Housing near transit stations. We need to build higher density housing near our transit stations. This is housing that should be affordable to anyone and should foster the growth of our communities and businesses. I will push for higher density housing near our transit stations.