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Mayoral Candidate Forum: October 11

September 28, 2011

Tuesday, October 11
6:30pm-8:30pm
Congregation Sherith Israel
2266 California Street (at Webster)

Refreshments
Childcare available
RSVP: Oct11CandidatesForum@gmail.com

Sponsored by: San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee, San Francisco Family Support Network, Parents for Public Schools, Congregation Sherith Israel, CAVEC, and Teach for America

The questionnaires have begun coming back in from the candidates! At the end of this post you can read more about our Forum and our general approach to the Mayor’s race, but first- here are the thoughts from the first candidate to return the questionnaire:

DAVID CHIU

1. As mayor, will you commit to appoint parents raising kids in San Francisco to City commissions and committees to ensure that the concerns of families, children and students are adequately voiced and addressed? Please answer Yes or No.
Yes.

2. Parent PAC is an organization formed to be the voice of parents in San Francisco politics – a voice that is often sorely underrepresented or missing entirely from conversations about public policies that directly affect children and families. In addition to the above priority (appointing parents to commissions and committees), please tell us specifically how you plan to bring parents’ concerns into the mix of considerations when setting your policy agenda. Please limit your answer to 200 words.
In addition to increasing parental representation on commissions in general, there are a number of other ideas I believe are worth pursuing. I think we should consider an advisory committee made up of to assist with the review and oversight of DCYF. We should also strengthen the relationship and alignment between Family Resource Centers and school sites in communities can be strengthened. And I am supportive of parent-generated report cards for San Francisco schools and services that wrap around families (parks, recreation centers, after-school programs, etc.); the success of student achievement are often measured by test scores, which often do not tell the full story of a child’s education.

3. Will you advocate for the renewal of Prop H (the Public Education Enrichment Fund) and use your position as mayor to renew and expand the Prop H funds? Please answer Yes or No.
Yes.

4. What role do you think the mayor can and should play in the school district, if any? Please limit your answer to 200 words.
I believe that the Mayor can and must use the bully pulpit of the office to fight for students. To start, that means leading the effort in ensuring that Sacramento provides adequate and equitable funding for schools, and amends or eliminates Prop 13 which has led to a dramatic and deplorable divestment from education in California. While I am proud to have supported the passage of the June 2008 parcel tax, Proposition H, and support this year’s Proposition A, we must provide city resources from the General Fund to fill in the funding gaps wherever necessary.

Our Mayor should also strongly encourage and incentivize private sector companies that call San Francisco home to make improvement of our City’s under-performing schools part of their overall missions. For example, I recently asked Twitter, as part of the Central Market/Tenderloin Payroll Tax Exclusion Zone, to provide resources to local teachers and classrooms as well as expose students to 21st century work environments.

Lastly, the Mayor can use city resources to supplement in-school learning by investing in childcare, early education, summer school and after-school programs, and by directing the Department of Children, Youth and Families to work more closely with SFUSD.

5. Do you support the recommendations for Rec & Park funding outlined by the SPUR September 2011 (pgs. 9-10) report:
• Doubling the Open Space Fund from 2.5 cents to 5 cents per $100 of valuation, which would generate $37.5M. Please answer Yes or No.
Yes. I support the investigation of this potential funding source to ensure that we can dedicate adequate funds to the original purposes of the fund while also providing RPD with more secure funding sources.
• Forming a citywide assessment district (or multiple small districts) to fund ongoing operations and enhance services, which would generate $15M. Please answer Yes or No.
Yes.
• Taxing unhealthy behaviors (such as a soda tax) to benefit recreation activities, which would generate approximately $16.8M. Please answer Yes or No.
Yes.

6. Will you lead and support a campaign for a new graduated parcel tax of at least $100M dedicated to schools, parks and libraries that provides support beyond Prop H for schools and also provides for funding to staff and programs for Rec & Park and Libraries? Please answer Yes or No.
No.

7. What do you believe to the be cause(s) of the lack of housing stock appropriate for families and what specifically do you propose to do about it? Please limit your answer to 200 words.
Thanks to planning codes that don’t incent family housing and a proliferation of market rate housing developments with inadequate affordable set asides, the housing stock for families has plummeted over recent decades. As a Supervisor, I’ve worked with the City’s Planning Department and the Mayor’s Office of Housing to pass a comprehensive update to the City’s low-income affordable housing program, bringing it in line with recent state requirements while ensuring that affordable units are built. As Mayor, I want to craft a new housing program, modeled after the Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program, under which new development projects will be required to have a percentage of units be affordable and suitable for our families and workforce.

8. Do you support free MUNI for all youth (under 18)? Please answer Yes or No.
Yes. I will continue to support initiatives that support young transit users, such as free MUNI passes for youth under 18, particularly with funding cuts for school buses.

 

and now, to continue with information about our Forum and approach to the mayor’s race…

Why We Stay: Building the Public Institutions That Serve SF Families  

The Parent PAC decided not to endorse a candidate for mayor, but instead to provide an opportunity for the mayoral candidates to address families about family issues. We submitted a relatively short questionnaire to the candidates ahead of time, and have enlisted the help of talented moderators to continue the thread of the questions as they see fit.  The questions we submitted are listed below, and after the Forum we will post their answers for you all to review in deciding who deserves your top vote (and second, and third…)

Every year there is much hand-wringing about Family Flight, and a renewed focus on why families leave San Francisco. We think this is a red herring — people leave for all sorts of reasons, and to spend too much time trying to identify the causes and trying to provide what they are seeking or fix what they are avoiding is not possible, and probably not worth doing even if it were. Rather, we think that the more important and relevant question to ask is, “Why do families stay in San Francisco”? From there, we can and should focus on how we can build and scale the public institutions that create the rich tapestry of urban life that those of us who are here enjoy.      

These questions do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Parent PAC. Rather, these are questions about issues affecting families and children on which we think voters should know the candidates’ views. 

Questions for the candidates:  
1. As mayor, will you commit to appoint parents raising kids in San Francisco to City commissions and committees to ensure that the concerns of families, children and students are adequately voiced and addressed? Please answer Yes or No.
 2. Parent PAC is an organization formed to be the voice of parents in San Francisco politics – a voice that is often sorely underrepresented or missing entirely from conversations about public policies that directly affect children and families. In addition to the above priority (appointing parents to commissions and committees), please tell us specifically how you plan to bring parents’ concerns into the mix of considerations when setting your policy agenda. Please limit your answer to 200 words.  
3. Will you advocate for the renewal of Prop H (the Public Education Enrichment Fund) and use your position as mayor to renew and expand the Prop H funds? Please answer Yes or No.  
4. What role do you think the mayor can and should play in the school district, if any?  Please limit your answer to 200 words.  
5. Do you support the recommendations for Rec & Park funding outlined by the SPUR September 2011 (pgs. 9-10) report: 
 • Doubling the Open Space Fund from 2.5 cents to 5 cents per $100 of valuation, which would generate $37.5M. Please answer Yes or No.
• Forming a citywide assessment district (or multiple small districts) to fund ongoing operations and enhance services, which would generate $15M. Please answer Yes or No. 
• Taxing unhealthy behaviors (such as a soda tax) to benefit recreation activities, which would generate approximately $16.8M. Please answer Yes or No.  
6. Will you lead and support a campaign for a new graduated parcel tax of at least $100M dedicated to schools, parks and libraries that provides support beyond Prop H for schools and also provides for funding to staff and programs for Rec & Park and Libraries? Please answer Yes or No. 
 7. What do you believe to the be cause(s) of the lack of housing stock appropriate for families and what specifically do you propose to do about it? Please limit your answer to 200 words.  
8. Do you support free MUNI for all youth (under 18)?  Please answer Yes or No.

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