Mayor Lee's Op-Ed's-2015

SF Examiner

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SF Examiner

Setting the Stage for Our Youth and Families to Succeed

SF Examiner

May 24, 2015

As a father of two daughters growing up in San Francisco, I understand the importance of a meaningful summer experience and the critical role it plays in the lives of children, youth and families in our City.

That’s why I have made it a priority this summer to provide opportunities for our young people, by eliminating wait lists, expanding academic and recreational activities and challenging employers to provide more summer jobs through Youth Jobs+.

The Youth Jobs+ Initiative targets young people, ages 16-24, to provide training, skills and work exposure while helping them experience the connection between education and their future careers. 

This innovative program is in its fourth year and has connected more than 19,000 young people to jobs and internships including 23-year old Jose, an immigrant from Guatemala and former foster youth. As a Chocolateer at Ghirardelli, he is building confidence, improving his interpersonal communications skills, and learning how to work in a team while he pursues a degree in criminal justice at City College.

Last month, hundreds of youth came out to Moscone Center to attend our annual Youth Jobs+ Initiative Resource Fair, a signature event to help our young adults find jobs citywide. More than 100 job and internship offers were made just at this event.

Over the last year, thanks nearly 200 employers including city agencies, non-profits and companies like Starbucks, Old Navy, Square, Glide Memorial, the Third Street Youth Center, our young people received valuable work experience in downtown offices, in the arts, in computer science, retail, engineering, landscaping and more.

Youth Jobs+ specifically focuses on our most vulnerable youth including those in foster care, in the justice system, from low-income communities and those who do not have the right-to-work documents.

I am calling on all employers to participate in our Youth Jobs+ and create opportunities to mentor future industry leaders, and to consider giving youth like Jose a chance to access quality jobs.

I am also calling on our youth to put a resume together, register at, and view the hundreds of job openings available to them. And if you don’t have a resume, our energetic support service team can help you get started.

Be our partner, participate, and support the Youth Jobs+ Initiative. Visit or call 311 or 211 to learn more and to open up a world of possibilities for our young people.

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Celebrating the Success of Small Business

SF Examiner

May 18, 2015

Every day, as I walk the streets of our dynamic city, merchants, residents, and visitors tell me what they love most about our city-- the charm of the historic North Beach Bar, the lively conversations of their Leland Avenue salon, the craft of the local manufacturer in Bernal Heights, and the leadership of a merchant association in the Excelsior, who all strive to make our neighborhoods better places to live, work, and play.

In San Francisco, where small businesses makes up 95 percent of all businesses they are shaping the character and culture of our city.     

With great pride, we come together to celebrate the incredible contributions of the small business community during the 11th Annual San Francisco Small Business Week (May 16-22) where a series of educational and networking events recognize and support our small businesses and the people behind our locally made products.

This year, in honor of the thousands of small businesses that drive our economy, create local jobs, innovate and inspire our communities, we recognize both small businesses and those who help them thrive.  They include The Market, Sun Rise Restaurant, Vesuvio Café, Body, Soul & Spirit Salon, the Excelsior Outer Mission Merchants, and the organizers of Dancing on Waverly.  I would like to commend them for their contribution to our city’s growth, culture, and diversity. 

As my Invest in Neighborhoods initiative enters its third year, let’s take a moment to reflect on some select accomplishments achieved in partnership with community groups throughout San Francisco.

We awarded more than $4 million in grants to 115 neighborhood projects that support small businesses, strengthen neighborhoods and build community capacity all over the City.

We’ve provided 385 American with Disabilities Act Assessments for small businesses, given $1.8 million in façade and tenant improvements, and have given $12 million in small business loans to 460 San Francisco businesses, directly impacting the creation of 875 jobs. 

Our commitment to small business continues to grow stronger.  In order to provide assistance to those who are interested in starting their own business in the City, we launched the business portal website last fall.  Since then, more than 16,000 users visited and learned how to transform a great idea into a successful business.

Let’s celebrate our small business community and the thousands of dedicated individuals who make our city truly extraordinary by working hard every day to share with us those only in San Francisco experiences.  Check out the websites to learn more about and

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Good Samaritans are all around the City

SF Examiner

March 6, 2015

When a large apartment building in the heart of the Mission erupted in flames one evening in late January, the results were catastrophic. The fire left one resident dead, one severely burned, several businesses displaced and more than 50 people without a home.

Several fires have affected our city in the last few months and our residents and affected businesses have experienced a tremendous loss. But just as our city comes together after major emergencies like earthquakes, we have come together to help those affected to recover and rebuild.

Immediate first response came from our brave women and men at the Fire Department, the Human Services Agency and the Department of Emergency Management. Our partners such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army provided basic necessities for those in need. Our city's small businesses, such as Tartine Bakery and the Bi-Rite Market, donated food and clothing.

And our city's residents stepped up in a big way by creating GoFundMe and HandUp campaigns in partnership with the Mission Economic Development Agency and Project Homeless Connect to raise much needed funding from our generous residents.

Today, many of those who lost their homes have found temporary shelter with family or friends. Others have turned to The City for help. And we, in turn, have enlisted the help of some our city's most generous providers of housing like the John Stewart Co., 2B Living, Parkmerced and others.

Many of our affected families have lived in their homes for years, even decades, in rent-controlled apartments, so when they are forced to relocate due to a fire or some other disaster, they are often unable to afford today's rents. This is where property owners have stepped in to provide reduced-rate housing until families can get back on their feet and return to their homes.

Affordable housing is essential in helping San Franciscans recover after natural or man-made disasters, but we need more landlords to open their doors to our families and residents affected by fires and other emergencies. To make it easier for property owners to help displaced families, Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced the Residential Rent Legislation for Good Samaritan Temporary Occupancy legislation, and I signed it, back in 2011. This legislation allows landlords to temporarily rent to families displaced from their homes due to a fire or other emergency at the rate that the family was already paying.

Establishing a robust network of good Samaritan property owners, now, means that when the next disaster hits, we can provide immediate support to affected families and help ease their hardship in their time of need.

Parkmerced is a great example of what we can accomplish together. Parkmerced has set aside units for displaced families for years giving them temporary homes where they can recover and rebuild. They've shown the way. Now I call on property owners across The City to follow suit: Please step up and lend a hand. If you are a landlord in San Francisco, call 311 or go to to learn more.

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