As the highest-ranking Latina on the San Francisco Labor Council and president of SEIU Local 87, I have the honor and difficult task of advocating on behalf of our city’s working families. This election cycle, I am fully supporting Ahsha Safai for Supervisor in District 11 because he has proven himself to be an ally of working families. In San Francisco, everyone is a progressive but what separates us is ideology versus action. Although some prefer to rewrite history for their own convenience by dismissing his contributions to the Fight for $15 and the Retail Workers Bill of Rights, the reality is Ahsha was there representing our janitors at the table. Every day our members are treated like second-class citizens and are invisible in the buildings they clean. In this race, our members have been called names like “dirty,” “uneducated” and “unaware.” Working families in D11 deserve to have a supervisor who will fight not just to fix a pothole but in making our district and its residents relevant again. I’ve known Ahsha for eight years and I have always been impressed with his passion and dedication to serving the underserved.
Ahsha’s candidacy reflects our city’s rich tapestry. Like many in D11, he is a child of an immigrant, parent and is aware of the safety net that is required to help our people thrive. It is these lived experiences that have shaped his initiatives. Ahsha is a proponent of (citywide and city-funded) universal preschool for four-year-olds because he knows that that is the most effective way to begin to close the achievement gap holding back our black and Latino children; Ahsha supports the creation of more Navigation Centers and permanent supportive housing for our homeless population because that’s what has been proven to work in helping people gain their footing; Ahsha supports the construction of more rent-controlled and below-market-rate housing to maintain our city’s unique diversity; Ahsha also supports the creation of a first-class transportation system and walkable neighborhoods because they are crucial for the environment, economy and our quality of life. These are not pie-in-the sky ideas written to pique voters’ interests, these are things Ahsha truly believes in.
Ahsha is the only candidate who helped save the Mission Childcare Consortium from being evicted, a family serving daycare with over 200 subsidized slots; Ahsha is the only candidate who led a neighborhood revolt against the Park Bond of 2008 which ultimately led to achieving over $4 million for the revitalization of Balboa Park. Now, imagine, how much better our district can be with Ahsha Safai as our supervisor. Ahsha also worked with me on two collective bargaining agreements for the janitors. Ahsha has been in the trenches with labor pushing for the passage of our nation’s highest minimum wage, Proposition J ($15 an hour). Leading Democrats are cheering his candidacy — U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Attorney General Kamala Harris, Congresswoman Jackie Speier and Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom are just a few of the many who are supporting him. Ahsha earned the sole endorsement from the most progressive and engaged tenant organization, the Community Tenants Association. I know where Ahsha’s heart lies and once elected you will too.
The pain on our streets requires bold leadership, and I give no free passes, the livelihoods of those who rely on me to speak truth to power makes me accountable to them and only them. Our city deserves someone who is equipped to take the reins from day one and who can actually work with people across the political spectrum to get things done for District 11, Ahsha is the only candidate who can fill that void.
Olga Miranda is president of SEIU Local 87 and secretary treasurer for the San Francisco Labor Council.