Downtown Recovery: build universities
Our downtown economy is struggling due to vacant office space and a reduction in office workers, which has led to a devastating lack of patronage to local businesses and a feeling that our streets are less safe. So let’s do something different: let’s convert downtown into an academic village, with a dozen university campuses, and 10,000 students permanently living here. I started the movement to bring a university to downtown San Francisco, and I will collaborate with city and state officials to pass legislation to streamline office to housing conversions that can support students and teachers to live here. Transforming our downtown into an academic village will bring patronage to the small businesses and nightlife, employ thousands of local workers, and help keep San Francisco a hub for technology, healthcare, and the arts.
Housing: accelerate the permits
To transform our downtown, or even remodel a single family home, we need to streamline our unjustifiably burdensome permitting process. As a board member of YIMBY Action, I broke the SF Chronicle story that it takes 87 permits, 1000 days, and $500,000 in fees to build in San Francisco, indicating we are the slowest city to approve new buildings in the entire state. That’s not progressive. In fact, it’s embarrassing. We must tackle government bureaucracy to build housing faster, and I will advocate for initiatives that accelerate our permitting process - from investments in technology to speed up application approvals, allowing parallel permitting and planning approvals, and the reduction of discretionary permits to effectively cut the time to build affordable housing in half.