A couple years ago, Muni removed the signage for a bus stop in the Castro. Day after day, neighbors waited on the sidewalk as buses passed them by, unaware they were even waiting. Finally, on a Sunday evening, my friend Sara called her supervisor — Scott Wiener.
The bus stop was back in service Monday afternoon.
Sara learned what so many of us who have worked with Wiener know: He is a tireless champion for his constituents, his community and San Francisco’s progressive values. He is the best choice to represent us as state senator.
Wiener hails from humble beginnings, a public school student whose mom was a teacher and whose dad opened a small business rather than endure the discrimination for his disability.
“A skinny kid with a funny name,” as President Barack Obama once said, Wiener came out at 17. He’s been a leader ever since.
Scott isn’t the life of the party on the Board of Supervisors (that’s London Breed). He isn’t the one you’d want to have a beer with (that’s Mark Farrell), or three beers with (Aaron Peskin).
He is cerebral and a bit stiff, traits made more noticeable by his opponent’s charm. But that doesn’t mean he’s uncaring. Scott cares about this city and its people with all he has.
My friend Gary McCoy was a formerly homeless, HIV-positive, recovering meth addict when Scott helped get him back on his feet. “Much of my life today, I owe to Scott,” Gary says now.
Scott helped marry a gay couple in the hospital when one of them was dying and they just wanted to wed before he was gone. Scott never said anything to anyone about it. I only know the story because one of his staff members told me.
It’s not charity or glamour or fame that motivates Scott; it’s the quiet hope that his hard work will help others.
Because of Scott Wiener, every mother and father who works in San Francisco will receive 100 percent paid parental leave after their child is born or adopted. Hillary Clinton personally commended him for this achievement.
Because of Scott Wiener, we are building new rent-controlled housing in San Francisco for the first time in more than 20 years. Scott is the only Senate candidate — in fact, the only person — to figure out how to do that. And when about 250 HIV-positive tenants were at risk of losing their homes to rent increases, Scott protected them, changing the law to ensure they have rent control.
Because of Scott Wiener, we have increased funding for Muni by tens of millions of dollars and expanded nighttime service so low-income workers and families have a public transit system they can rely on.
Because of Scott Wiener, San Francisco increased the legal tobacco age to 21 and is taking on Big Soda’s impact on our public health, particularly on kids and people of color. Scott sides with our kids, not the American Beverage Association.
Because of Scott Wiener, we are requiring water recycling, solar panels and green roofs on new developments and expanding our use of Hetch Hetchy’s 100 percent clean electrical energy. Scott has worked for years to protect our city’s trees, and he earned the strong endorsement of the California League of Conservation Voters.
And because of Scott Wiener, every transgender man and woman in San Francisco has access to full, compassionate healthcare and a specialized transgender surgeon at UCSF, who Scott secured the funding to hire.
Scott has backfilled every dime of federal cuts to HIV funding and helped reduce the price of critical HIV drugs. He is a courageous leader on the HIV-prevention drug PrEP and a major supporter of the organizations that serve LGBT people fighting homelessness and addiction.
Occasionally, I hear someone hesitate to support Scott because they disagree with him on a particular issue. But think about that one disagreement in the context of all the other things he’s accomplished for us. Anyone who’s prolific will at some point do something you don’t like. (Unless we’re talking about Bruce Springsteen; that man can do no wrong.)
Scott Wiener fights for mothers, for renters, for transit riders, our kids and our environment. He is one of the strongest LGBT leaders of his generation, poised to take San Francisco’s successes statewide. He is the true progressive in the race for state Senate. And he deserves your vote.
Conor Johnston is chief of staff to Board of Supervisors President London Breed, and co-founder of the East of Twin Peaks Neighborhood Association. The views here are his own. (“Sara’s” name has been changed to protect the innocent.)