Why are we fighting so hard to keep San Francisco affordable for everyone?
Because this is a city worth saving.
We have always been a place that welcomed dreamers, artists, students, immigrants and innovators. These new San Franciscans joined natives, and this wonderful mix of people and cultures and created a city so special that the world rushed in. So here we stand, in many ways the victim of our own success. So many people want to be here that they are displacing the people who are here.
Our job is to keep San Francisco that special place that can welcome artists without displacing seniors, that can host entrepreneurs without evicting families, that can make room for more homes in a way that enriches everyone, not just the developers and real estate interests.
The key indicator of the affordability crisis is the still rising tide of evictions — particularly the so-called “Ellis Act” evictions that see whole buildings cleared of long-time tenants. What is particularly pernicious about these Ellis Act evictions is that it could happen to any renter at essentially any time, placing just about every renter under the constant threat of eviction.
To address the crisis, we need to build all types of housing — for janitors, teachers, accountants, nurses, artists, students and seniors. The developers are making billions of dollars. We need to make sure some of those profits are invested in keeping our working and middle class residents here.
I know we can require more affordable housing because I’ve done it before.
I’ve fought for — and won — record levels of affordable housing in new developments, adding hundreds of homes for low- and middle-income families.
I’ve fought for — and won — new protections for renters so people can stay in their long-time homes.
And I’ve fought for — and won — new housing and shelters for the homeless so they can move off the streets and get the services they need for stable lives. And I’m fighting to declare a statewide emergency on homelessness — so we have more resources to fight this crisis and our city doesn’t have to go it alone.
But that’s just the beginning. We also need to make sure every person has the chance to join the middle class. I authored the successful ballot initiative to raise our minimum wage to $15 an hour.
As a former school board president, I’ve fought to strengthen schools at all levels because the best way to help people join the middle class is to give them a great education. I worked for more resources to help students at risk of not graduating stay in school and get their diplomas. And today, I’m fighting to make City College free once again.
In this campaign, the real estate lobby and other special interests have spent nearly $3 million to elect my opponent. They want to continue to transform our city into one for the elite.
I have a different vision: More affordable housing, more jobs, stronger schools — this is how we make this a city that actually works for everyone. When Sacramento makes the big decisions on housing, Ellis Act reform, school funding or transit, I want to be there to make sure you — not the special interests — have a voice at the table.
I’m running for state Senate because San Francisco has been a place for everyone — and that’s worth fighting for.
Jane Kim represents District 6 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.