Mayor Lee's Op-Ed's

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Mayor Lee's Op-Eds 2014

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SF Examiner

Season of Giving is time to show support for SF’s nonprofits

SF Examiner


December 04, 2013


It is with pride and excitement that we celebrate this year’s Season of Giving campaign. When I launched the campaign two years ago, I had great hopes and expectations for its impact on our community — expectations only matched by the incredible generosity of heart that exists within San Francisco.

This campaign, celebrated during the holiday season between November and January, is designed to remind us how important it is to give back to our community. Although generosity and volunteerism are important throughout the year, the promise and warmth of the holidays creates a unique opportunity for reflection and service. The tragic typhoon that recently struck the Philippines is yet another reminder of how important it is to support those in need, and it should serve as inspiration for us to support one another both here in our immediate San Francisco community and abroad.

The Season of Giving represents an opportunity for us to recognize local nonprofits and organizations and their tireless work to improve the lives of San Franciscans. During the Season of Giving, which will last until Jan. 20, I encourage businesses and residents to find ways to get involved with their community to show our thanks and connection to one another.

I urge all San Franciscans to consider making a donation or volunteering their time during this Season of Giving. By supporting organizations that provide warm food, beds and other essential services to those in need, we can ensure that the spirit of the holidays is shared by all. Visit our website at sfmayor.org to get more information about how you can give this holiday season.

The Season of Giving is a time for us to show our gratitude by using our gifts for the service of others. As we prepare for the holidays and enter a new year, it’s important to take positive action in our community. Our city is blessed with many things, but the power of the people is truly our greatest asset. During this Season of Giving, dedicate your hearts and spirits to supporting those in our community who need it most.

For more information or to give, go to www.sfmayor.org/sfgives.

On behalf of The City, I would like to thank those who give back to our community generously to help people in dire need, especially during the holidays.

May you and your family and loved ones have a happy holiday!

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Make a big difference by shopping small for the holidays and every day

SF Examiner

November 29, 2013


The holiday season is upon us. Not only is this a time to celebrate with our family and friends and give back to people in need, but it’s also a time for our communities to come together and celebrate one another. Our diverse neighborhoods, filled with unique small businesses, light up and shine when locals and visitors shop during the holiday season.

As our economy strengthens, with San Francisco’s lowest unemployment rate in years — 5.3 percent — we need to continue supporting our small businesses. Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, they enliven our neighborhoods and they employ our residents.

Over the past several years, San Francisco has participated in the national Small Business Saturday campaign, which encourages people nationwide to get out and shop small.

I would like to call on all San Franciscans to visit and shop at all their favorite local small businesses this weekend. Whether it’s your favorite independent bookstore or gift shop selling items that are made in San Francisco, why not tell your friends and neighbors about them and bring them with you on Small Business Saturday?

While shopping small on Saturday will give a boost to small businesses during the holiday season, it is also important for San Franciscans to continue supporting these same businesses throughout the year.

I created an Invest in Neighborhoods program to provide customized assistance to meet the specific needs of our neighborhood commercial corridors. We provide low-interest loans, grants and resources to small businesses that are looking to expand or improve their storefronts, or need legal assistance.

The Office of Small Business is also serving as a one-stop shop for all small-business needs in San Francisco to support this vital business sector. The City is partnering with numerous nonprofit organizations that serve our small businesses and provide technical assistance, access to capital, business counseling, commercial kitchen space and much, much more.

Remember, when you shop small, you are making a big difference to our local economy and you are supporting your neighborhood.

Each year, many of these nonprofit organizations hold holiday gift fairs to promote the small-business owners and micro-entrepreneurs whom they’ve helped. From artisanal foods to unique locally made gifts, I encourage you to visit these gift fairs to do some additional holiday shopping while supporting a good cause.

Working Solutions-Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center-Pacific Community Ventures: Wednesday (wsgiftfair.jimdo.com)

SFMade: Dec. 7-8 (www.sfmade.org)

LGBT-Women’s Initiative: Dec. 11 (wsgiftfair.jimdo.com)

Urban Solutions-Fillmore: Dec. 12 (www.urbansolutionssf.org)

La Cocina: Dec. 13 (www.lacocinasf.org)

San Francisco really is the best place to start, maintain and grow your small business.

Let’s go out and support our small businesses this weekend, during the holidays and every day of the year.

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S.F. celebrating our innovative spirit in October

SF Examiner

October 01, 2013


Last year, I declared October to be Innovation Month, and this year we're continuing the tradition with a monthlong celebration that highlights not just the technology companies that make our city hum, but the people who help create opportunities for innovation in the city of San Francisco.

Innovation is about our connection to people. Whether you're a programmer working at a startup or a construction worker building one of the buildings going up in our growing neighborhoods, your best contribution to this city is innovation. As the Innovation Capital of the World, our city attracts the kind of creative minds that help us be more innovative in how we connect to and take care of the world around us.

My pledge to reduce waste has helped us move ever closer to our goal of zero waste by 2020. Our dedication to public safety has given us better ways for police to operate in the field and made San Francisco one of the safest big cities. Our promise to help companies start, stay and grow in The City has brought more jobs for the people of San Francisco and created one of the strongest economies in the nation.

San Francisco is home to the "maker" movement — an area I am excited to see gaining momentum. San Francisco's maker community is the future of domestic manufacturing and the key to creating both jobs and radical solutions to real problems. I've seen 3-D printing of prosthetic limbs and real innovations that can make lives better. I'm happy to have such a big community working and growing here in San Francisco.

This month, in partnership with the Exploratorium and the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District, we are launching our first Living Innovation Zone on Market Street at Yerba Buena Lane. They'll be unveiling a dynamic public installation that combines science, education and technology — right there on the sidewalk.

The Living Innovation Zone is an exciting way to introduce creativity into our daily lives by placing innovation on the street where you can see it, touch it and experience it.

Innovation is everywhere. It's part of the history of our city. It's in the small business that thrive in our communities, it's in the startups that set the pace of innovation, and it's in our people who come here looking for a city where big ideas can happen.

I look forward to seeing you during the month of October as we celebrate the innovative spirit of San Francisco. For a full list of events and to learn more about October's Innovation Month, go to im.innovatesf.com.

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Balanced budget set to strengthen city's future

SF Examiner

July 24, 2013


Today I am signing The City's balanced budget for fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15. Thanks to Supervisor Mark Farrell, members of the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, and the entire board for their unflagging efforts to ensure that together we developed the best budget for San Francisco and our residents.

I want to particularly thank the hundreds of city residents and community organizations for participating in this public budget process. Their input and recommendations gave us the opportunity to craft and execute a consensus-driven, fiscally responsible budget that smartly invests in basic city services, critical infrastructure improvements and, most importantly, the people of San Francisco.

As a San Franciscan, I am very proud of our budget, which increases the strength of our social safety net, supports our first responders and invests in our city's infrastructure at an unprecedented level. Through hard work and collaboration, this budget adds capacity to the Department of Public Health to implement federal health care reform; funds child care programs cut by the state; and, with the help of the Board of Supervisors, fully funds HIV/AIDS health and prevention service cuts made by the federal government.

In addition to taking care of our social safety net, we also make significant investments in The City's infrastructure, including improving and repaving our city streets, repairing our aging water and sewer systems, and completing construction of our new General Hospital. These investments will save money in the long run and support more than 4,000 construction jobs here in San Francisco in the near term.

Together, we were able to craft a budget that ensures that we will hire 300 new police officers and 120 new firefighters over the next two years. Our first responders make sacrifices each day to keep our city safe.

This budget also ensures our future fiscal health by paying into reserve funds for use during an economic rainy day. These reserves, along with the recent reforms to The City's pension health care funding strategies, will generate savings over the long term, and they have resulted in an upgrade in our bond ratings, giving The City a better return on current and future bond-funded projects.

While the worst of the economic crisis may seem to be behind us, we cannot deviate from our commitment to fiscal responsibility and reform. As the mayor of San Francisco, I am committed to continuously investing in our neighborhoods, in our infrastructure, in public safety, in the social safety net and in our residents.

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Small businesses shape our communities

SF Examiner

May 08, 2013


As a San Francisco resident who eats and shops in just about every neighborhood in our city, I deeply appreciate the contributions each small business makes to enrich our daily lives. That’s why we dedicate the third week of May every year to celebrate our small businesses during San Francisco’s Small Business Week.

One of the largest celebrations of its kind, Small Business Week includes a series of educational and networking events that honor and support San Francisco’s small businesses, the backbone of our local economy.

Each year, I also select one exemplary small business that has gone above and beyond in serving our community and adding to the fabric of what makes San Francisco unique.

I have selected Devil’s Teeth Baking Company in the Sunset as this year’s Small Business Honoree. Hilary Passman, owner of Devil’s Teeth, is a longtime resident of the Sunset district, and in 2010, she seized an opportunity to open up a bakery at Noriega between 45th and 46th avenues. This is a true “invest in neighborhoods” story. She has worked in partnership with her neighborhood and regularly volunteers her time along with merchants and residents to reinvigorate the beachside portion of Noriega Street. She spearheaded the organization of Noriega’s first block party in late 2011 and worked with The City’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and former Supervisor Carmen Chu’s office, to create a parklet that has become a citywide model for parklet design.

And while we try to attract more investments across every sector of our local economy, we always continue our focus on small businesses so that they can start, stay and grow here.

Through The City’s Office of Small Business, new and existing business owners can receive customized, one-on-one assistance on licensing and permitting requirements, legal and financing resources, business planning and counseling, and more. Working together with the Office of Small Business, my Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative and the Job Squad provides focused, customized assistance that meets the specific needs of San Francisco’s neighborhood commercial corridors and businesses to create jobs, fill vacancies and bring positive change to a neighborhood.

The theme of this year’s Small Business Week is “Small Business: Shaping Our Communities.” In addition to the great events happening during the week of Monday to May 18, many neighborhood merchants associations are working with their merchants to put on sidewalk sales for days of shopping for all and to celebrate our treasured small
businesses.

Please get out to your local commercial corridor and support our small businesses all year round, but especially during Small Business Week!

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Invest in future: Hire youths for summer

SF Examiner

April 30, 2013


As summer rolls around, I am challenging employers throughout San Francisco to participate in the second annual Summer Youth Jobs+ program. Last summer, we rose to President Barack Obama’s challenge to create jobs for our youths, and the results were unprecedented public, private and nonprofit partnerships that successfully placed more than 5,200 young people in jobs and training opportunities, including large numbers from our city’s disadvantaged and low-income communities.

Though unemployment rates are dropping, San Francisco must continue to be a national model for youth programs. This summer, our goal is to provide 6,000 opportunities for young people — a 20 percent increase from last year’s initial goal of 5,000 jobs.

Youths in our city suffer from an unemployment rate up to three times higher than the general population and often face barriers to employment and difficulty competing for work.

That’s why I am urging private companies to join me in creating opportunities so that youths gain the experience and skill sets needed to prepare them academically and train them for transition into the workforce. Last year, more than 86 private companies provided entry-level jobs and internships in a variety of fields including retail, hospitality, manufacturing, finance, technology and many others.

The City is the largest employer, so we must lead by example. Through partnerships within city agencies and the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, we are providing thousands of opportunities this summer and focusing on our most vulnerable young people, including those in the foster care and justice systems, and youths in low-income families. They will establish and build their skills and work experience while taking advantage of all the opportunities we have to offer in San Francisco.

I recognize we can’t do this alone. I am urging educational institutions, community-based training programs and private sector businesses to join me in creating jobs this summer. Whether you are a small or large business, you can participate in the Summer Youth Jobs+ program by:
•Making a commitment to hire youths for jobs or internships.
•Volunteering to participate in mock interviews, review résumés and talk to youths who will attend our upcoming May 11 Youth Resource Fair at the Moscone Center.
•Contributing financial support toward youth programming that prepares them for work and life skills.
•Spreading the word to your networks about the Summer Youth Jobs+ program.

The investment we make for our youths today will help build a better future for our city for generations to come. Please join me and our partner United Way of the Bay Area by visiting www.matchbridge.org/
summer-jobs and learning more about how you can get involved.

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1906 Earthquake anniversary reminds us to be ready

SF Examiner

April 17, 2013


One hundred and seven years ago today, the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, one of the nation’s most significant catastrophes, devastated our city. San Franciscans came together as a community to recover and rebuild the San Francisco that we know and love today.

We live in earthquake country, but that doesn’t mean we should feel scared and overwhelmed about earthquakes. Instead, let’s prepare now before the next disaster. Knowing what to do before, during and after a disaster will help you take care of yourself, your family and your neighborhood.

The good news is that most of us are more prepared than we think. Being prepared isn’t necessarily about buying an expensive emergency kit. It’s about having basic items gathered and ready at hand. It’s about talking with your family about where to meet after a disaster or making sure everyone knows where your emergency supplies are.

It’s about securing moveable and breakable items in your home. It’s about knowing to drop, cover and hold on during an earthquake.

While you do your part, The City is doing ours. We have completed more than 200 seismic retrofits on city buildings, and we’re not done. San Francisco’s new seismic retrofit program will give our soft-story buildings the backbone to stand firm when the earth starts shaking and keep residents safe.

We don’t need to look far to learn from recent disasters. Superstorm Sandy reminded all of us of the importance of emergency preparedness, which included not only having emergency supplies on hand, but also having community connections. During the storm, people checked in on each other and opened their homes for shelter, meals and even to charge cellphones. I have no doubt San Franciscans will do the same in a disaster. So getting to know our neighbors, lending a hand and sharing our knowledge and skills to help our community is key to a resilient San Francisco.

Our city is also full of resources that help you get prepared and connected. The website 72hours.org provides easy tips on preparedness for any situation. AlertSF sends text messages that instantly deliver emergency information — more than 25,000 people have registered! San Francisco’s free Neighborhood Emergency Response Team training connects you to your neighbors while you learn skills that can help save a life.

As we reflect upon what happened 107 years ago, let’s commemorate by taking stock of our resources, and then adding a little bit to that stock. Take the time to meet your neighbors — at home, at work or through social networks. After all, these are the people we rely on every day no matter the crisis. Let’s not wait until the next disaster to show how connected and prepared we are.

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SF Chronicle

A strong hand needed now at CCSF - Brice W. Harris and Ed Lee

SF Chronicle


July 7, 2013

Over the past year, City College of San Francisco has done some good work to reform its operations and finances, but it has come up short. By its own account, City College has not yet come into full compliance with the standards under which all community colleges in the West have agreed to operate. Last week, the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, the peer-review organization that grants accreditation to community and junior colleges, announced that it has decided to terminate CCSF's accreditation in July 2014. The college remains open and accredited until that time or until appeals are exhausted.

For CCSF, the pace of reform needs to be much faster. We also believe that City College has reached the limit of what it can do on its own.

What's needed now is a stronger hand, a single individual with the experience, trustworthiness and focus to turn City College around. Appointment of a special trustee, with appropriate powers, is the only way City College can quicken the pace of change and position itself for long-term viability. We both agree that City College does not have the luxury of any more time, and that a special trustee offers the only realistic hope of saving the institution.

Continuing with the current governance structure is not in the best interest of City College students or the city of San Francisco. Given the difficult choice of preserving local control versus ensuring City College's viability, the path is clear. The 85,000 students who look to CCSF for quality educational and career-building opportunities need to know that this College can and will be a dependable part of their lives.

A year ago, the accreditation committee rendered a harsh judgment on City College of San Francisco. In its report, the commission cited 14 areas of deep concern, ranging from fiscal and operational management, to tracking the effectiveness of teaching and learning. In the academic world, accreditation is a school's license to offer credit courses, grant financial aid, confer degrees and facilitate transfer. By placing the college on a "show cause" status, the accreditation commission gave CCSF the equivalent of a "D," a barely passing grade. That's not acceptable for a great institution such as City College and the students and community who depend on it.

As the next step, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors will consider appointment of a special trustee when it meets Monday. The special trustee would replace the local board's authority during this recovery period. It is important to keep these facts in mind:

-- City College is open, accredited and is accepting students for the Fall 2013 term. The school is not closing and we are doing our utmost to ensure that outcome never comes to pass. Enroll at www.ccsf.edu.

-- Credits will count. If you have a degree from CCSF, that degree will always count, as will any credits you have or will accumulate.

-- Current collective bargaining agreements will stay in force. If appointed, the special trustee cannot abrogate existing collective bargaining agreements. We know this is a concern of the more than 3,000 members of organized labor who work at CCSF. Contracts still under negotiation will need to be agreed to.

We know this decision will cause discomfort for many, but the alternative is almost certain closure of one of America's great community colleges. That would be a tragedy for San Francisco, for our state community college system, and, most important of all, current and future students who depend on City College of San Francisco.

Brice W. Harris is the chancellor of the California Community Colleges system. Ed Lee is the mayor of San Francisco.

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Neighborhood Newspapers

San Francisco must be prepared

October 2013

In September, we celebrated the completion of the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge severely damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake and it once again reminds us that we need to be prepared and ready for the next disaster. We are working on a number of programs and new initiatives that will help protect vital city infrastructure and help residents, businesses and property owners rapidly recover after the next major earthquake.

One of the keys is that we are preparing together. Preparedness means gathering supplies and having an emergency plan for ourselves and our loved ones, but it also means building community connections with our neighbors. When disaster strikes, we can lend a hand and share resources and skills to help each other in our neighborhoods.

The City is here to provide assistance and help our communities connect and develop that safety net. A new preparedness website www.sf72.org, provides simple emergency preparedness steps that we can all take and offers ways we can work together with our neighbors and community partners to be prepared for a disaster.

We have also developed an Earthquake Safety Implementation Program, a 30-year plan to mitigate the impacts of a major earthquake. A key part of our planning is to strengthen our critical infrastructure and lifelines. City Administrator Naomi Kelly is taking the lead to establish a Lifelines Council. This group of city officials and private utility providers is taking steps to make sure our infrastructure withstands an earthquake or can be restored quickly after one occurs. Getting vital services up and running after a disaster will help our residents recover faster and help the entire City be more resilient.

Reinforcing our public buildings is another important task underway. Since the 1989 earthquake we have reinforced or upgraded 220 city buildings. And, under our City’s 10-Year Capital Plan, we are making other facilities and infrastructure more resilient, including a total replacement of the Hall of Justice which houses many of our first responders who we will rely on after an earthquake. We are also developing an energy assurance strategy to ensure power availability at critical public and community facilities after a major disaster.

The mandatory seismic retrofit ordinance for Soft Story wood frame buildings that I signed into law in partnership with our Board of Supervisors is another example that we are putting preparedness into action. This legislation helps the City tackle the challenge of retrofitting the thousands of soft-story buildings around our City that are at risk of collapse in a major earthquake.
These actions that we are taking together will help us make San Francisco stronger, safer, and more resilient.

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Giant Sweep: Join the team to keep San Francisco clean

September 2013

Every day as I walk, drive and even bike through in San Francisco, I am reminded of our city’s natural beauty: the hills, the Bay and ocean views, our public parks – spectacular features known all over the world. 

I also am reminded as I travel through the City that we need to do more to keep San Francisco beautiful, to serve as the stewards of our magnificent home. I see litter on the streets and trash left behind in the parks and on Muni. That is distressing, but not impossible to change.
In fact, we’re already making a difference with Giant Sweep, the anti-litter campaign that my administration launched in February in partnership with the World Champion San Francisco Giants. The idea: Create a culture of clean in San Francisco through hands-on activities and public education.

Impressively, since the kickoff of this anti-litter campaign, nearly 18,000 people have taken the Giant Sweep pledge in which they agree to do their part to keep San Francisco clean. People are not just signing the pledge, but also rolling up their sleeves and helping out. More than 45,000 hours have been logged by Giant Sweep volunteers who are cleaning parks and streets across the City.

We work very hard to engage our younger generation and help them create a culture of clean. Giant Sweep reaches out to elementary, middle and high schools, teaching students about the environmental damages caused by litter, and the costs to clean it up. This campaign is drawing the attention of our youth. Last spring, more than 300 young people entered the Giant Sweep poster contest. The great success of the poster contest takes us to next level: A video contest with prizes for students who produce the best Giant Sweep videos.

The San Francisco Giants make a great partner of the Giant Sweep program. Giants’ All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence is a firm supporter. Throughout the year, volunteers can win baseballs signed by Hunter Pence, tickets to Giants games, t-shirts and more. There are also prizes for neighborhood cleanup volunteer teams and schools to compete for most bags of litters collected and most hours worked.

Cleaning up the streets and keeping our City clean and beautiful is hard work but we try to make it fun, too. We’ve brought in dancers, mimes and music, and had a Giant Sweep contingent running the Bay to Breakers and at the Pride Parade. And you may have seen Sweepy -- the energetic orange-and-black Giant Sweep mascot with broom in hand -- at schools and street fairs to convey messages about the importance of being a responsible member of our community.

Giant Sweep isn’t about finger-pointing; it’s about working together to improve our neighborhoods and strengthen civic pride. To sign up for Giant Sweep and to learn more, go to www.sfgiantsweep.org. Join the team. Keep SF clean.

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Protecting our Communities through Service Coordination and Partnerships

June 2013

Since we launched the Public Safety Initiative-- IPO (The Interrupt, Predict and Organize for a Safer San Francisco) last August, we’ve seen measurable results: no homicides in the month of August last year for the first time in 30 years and homicides, and gun violence down by nearly half this same time last year.

IPO is a comprehensive approach between law enforcement partners, city agencies and community based and faith-based providers to create safer neighborhoods in San Francisco.

However, we all know our long-term success in crime prevention and public safety depends on partnerships with our community. When gun violence occurs in San Francisco, the ownership belongs to everyone, and the responsibility to stop it must also be shared. 

With the support of the community, we’ve created the Street Violence Response Team (SVRT), a collective effort among city departments, law enforcement agencies and community based presentation from non-profits and faith based communities. The SVRT’s multidisciplinary team has offered every victim of violence and their families’ comprehensive behavioral health and other social services. After being activated for six months, the team has already met with multiple families and at risk youth to provide effective violence prevention interventions to stop the violence before it occurs. As of April 2013, 74 victims received direct interventions and social services from the SVRT.

My Office has been working closely with city departments and our partners from the community to get prepared for the summer time. I have made job creation for youth a top priority because I want to make sure our youth get quality education and training so they are well equipped when competing in the tough job market. That’s the motivation behind the creation of the IPO Employment program that 24 candidates just graduated last month, and the reason I urge our public and private partners to participate in the Summer Jobs + Initiative offering 6,000 employment opportunities for our City youth.

A diverse group of city agencies, community organizations works together on a new project called the Community Assessment and Services Center (CASC), an innovative “one-stop” community corrections model that will provide on-site supervision, and a wide range of services. The goal of CASC is to help its clients gain the knowledge and skills they need to permanently exit the criminal justice system.

There is no place for bullets on the streets in San Francisco. We are zero tolerant on crimes and gun violence. Supervisor Malia Cohen and I have signed legislation into law, which became the nation’s first ban on possession of hollow-point ammunition. We are also creating an early warning system to alert us when individuals make massive purchases of ammunition, because if there’s even a remote possibility we prevent a tragedy like Sandy Hook, we are morally bound to do so.

It takes a village to fight crime and violence. We need your support and commitment. To report any crime or access services you may contact 9-1-1 in an emergency and 3-1-1 for additional city service referrals; to access further information on Summer Jobs + contact 2-1-1.

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Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative Rolls Out Support for the City’s Commercial Districts and Small Business

April 2013

As San Francisco’s unemployment rate has fallen over the past year, the growth of technology companies and real estate construction has been getting most of the headlines. But my administration has maintained a laser focus on another source of economic growth: supporting our neighborhood commercial districts and small businesses.

Last summer we launched Invest in Neighborhoods, a new initiative to provide our neighborhood commercial districts and small businesses with the tools and services that they need the most. City services—like streetscape and façade improvements, public art, and the Small Business Revolving Loan Fund—can be effective at sprucing up our commercial corridors, but only if they are utilized responsively and strategically. Invest in Neighborhoods is designed to deploy City resources and services more effectively and efficiently, so that communities are healthier and small businesses are able to flourish.

Over the past several months Invest in Neighborhoods has achieved a number of milestones. We have identified the list of 25 neighborhood commercial districts that the initiative will focus on in its first phase. This includes the Upper Market / Castro commercial district, Noe Valley, and commercial corridors in other neighborhoods. City staff and community partners are currently completing work on assessments of each of those commercial districts, the results of several months of research and community engagement. Those reports will be released this spring and will inform future City investments.

As part of Invest in Neighborhoods, the Jobs Squad – a team of staff dedicated to helping small business owners cut through red tape and access the help that they need – has begun conducting on-the-ground outreach in commercial districts around the City. Keep an eye out for the Jobs Squad in your community, walking down Castro Street!

Also, this month we announced the grant awards for the first round of the Invest in Neighborhoods grant program. The list of funded projects includes a program to activate Jane Warner Plaza, in partnership with the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District. In total, we are funding 14 projects in support of 12 commercial districts around the City; we’ll re-open the request for proposals later this year for another round of funding.

This spring my staff will meet with residents, merchants and other stakeholders in commercial districts around the City to present assessment findings and gather feedback on which services and interventions are most needed in the neighborhood. The City will work together to ensure that neighborhoods have access to the services that they need, and that will boost economic activity, fill vacant storefronts, and assist local businesses.

We will continue to work closely with community groups to celebrate and support the neighborhoods and commercial districts that make San Francisco a world class city. By working together we can create jobs and economic opportunities for all San Franciscans.

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