THE STATE OF THE CITY
When the very idea of this City is under attack
San Francisco sets borderless example
Complete text of Address
fogcityjournal.com photo by Stephen
By Pat Murphy
October 27, 2005
More than a place, San Francisco is an enduring and cutting-edge
idea positioned today on the crest of the new global economy,
Mayor Gavin Newsom reported yesterday on the State of the City.
To assure the city remains on tomorrow's forefront, San Francisco
will build a science and technology high school in Mission Bay
- world anchor to stem cell research - and immerse all high school
students in the Chinese language.
The city will equip leadership to demonstrate that an inclusive
economy breeds prosperity where divisive wealth kills ingenuity.
Newsom sketched that vision at San Francisco State University,
in McKenna Hall filled with residents, city officials and the
"Ladies and gentleman - the state of our city is strong
and growing stronger every day," Newsom stated.
"Ahead of us lie great challenges - and great days.
"But we are ready. We are a small city that dares big, bound
only by our capacity to imagine. In these times when the very
idea of a city like ours is under attack - I offer a vision not
for a hollow city but for a whole city."
Shaped in his youth by the political teachings of Robert F. Kennedy,
Newsom said San Francisco demonstrates a better world path than
the national hollowing out of tolerance and diversity.
"In this era of divisive prosperity and growing poverty,
when mediocrity has replaced talent and ideology has trumped compassion
at the very highest levels of government, San Francisco stands
for something great.
"This city has always been more than a place
is an idea.
"The idea that diversity builds a stronger society, that
tolerance advances democracy, that compassion is essential for
a better world.
"This is what we stand for.
"That's why it has never been more important to be a San
"From Washington to Sacramento, the very foundations that
support a diverse and tolerant city like ours are being undermined
and hollowed out.
"But here, anchored firmly in our enduring values, San Francisco
is leading the country and the world by setting a different example.
"We are on a clear path forward, powered by our imagination
"We've successfully adapted to the new world economy, laying
stake to new industries and emerging as a center of creativity,
discovery, talent and tolerance."
FULL TEXT OF STATE OF THE CITY 2005 ADDRESS
Thank you all very much for being here today.
I'd like to start by acknowledging the members of the San Francisco
Board of Supervisors.
I thank you for your hard work and commitment to solving the
challenges we all share as San Franciscans.
In particular, I'd like to recognize Board President Aaron Peskin.
Supervisor Peskin took the reins at the Board as we faced our
fourth straight year of fiscal crisis.
He showed true leadership, along with Budget Chair Tom Ammiano,
helping to shepherd our budget to unanimous passage.
I thank you both for your dedication and hard work.
I'd like to also acknowledge our Treasurer, Jose Cisneros, Our
Assessor, Phil Ting.
Our City Attorney, Dennis Herrera.
Our District Attorney, Kamala Harris.
Our Sheriff, Mike Hennesey.
Our Public Defender, Jeff Adachi.
City Controller, Ed Harrington.
And our new City Administrator, Ed Lee.
Thank you all for your service to our city.
I am also proud to be joined today by the command staffs of the
City's Fire and Police Departments.
And in particular, I'd like to recognize Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White
and Police Chief Heather Fong - they have both shown tremendous
leadership in the face of great challenges.
And thank you to the students, faculty, and administration of
San Francisco State University for opening your campus to us today.
It is unorthodox, I admit, to deliver the State of the City at
a state university - but the choice was made with purpose.
It is on our university, community college and high school campuses
that our future is taking shape.
It is here at SF State's Biotechnology and Life Sciences' Institute,
at City College's stem-cell research training facility, and at
Lincoln High School's Biotech Academy that San Franciscans are
being trained to collaborate, connect and compete in today's knowledge-based
Never has this collaboration and connection - and the knowledge
it generates been more important to our city, our state, our nation
or the new world we are trying to shape.
We are, after all, living in a world of rapid and historic change.
A world of discovery - fueled by the talent and creativity fostered
on campuses like this.
Increased mobility of talent has shattered our concept of nations
In this age of supercharged globalization our challenge is clear:
Sit still and be passed by - or imagine and lead the way.
Here in San Francisco - we have always been pioneers, innovators
150 years ago, when the gold rush slowed to a trickle, San Franciscans
thrived by re-imagining a city where manufactured products like
blue jeans - came to be worth more than gold.
100 years ago, when the City was leveled by the '06 earthquake,
San Franciscans re-imagined a modern City.
A center of banking and commerce.
A city alive with culture.
And 6 years ago, when the dot.com boom became a bust, we imagined
what could be - and today, we are becoming a center for biotech,
commercial life sciences, stem cell research, clean tech and digital
This is not by accident.
We are San Franciscans.
We are a city of dreamers and a city of doers.
We are steadfast in our refusal to accept the status quo when
it has outlived its usefulness.
We are firm in our commitment to progress - when others would
be content to retreat...
As we enter the centennial of that great 'quake - that tested
our resolve and revealed our strength of character - our city,
our state and our nation are being tested once again.
Last month, we bore witness to the collapse of another great
A city pushed to the brink of extinction by the failure of our
At the same time, we have suffered steady attacks from 2 Republican
administrations determined to hollow out all that we stand for.
But we have stood united.
Beating back the attacks by holding true to our values of tolerance,
diversity and compassion.
We are San Franciscans - and when others hide behind divisive
ideology we advance common solutions.
When others resort to despair - we choose hope.
We're San Franciscans - and when others give up,
we stand up for what we know is right.
As New Orleans sank, we did not sit idly by.
We offered shelter and care for over 800 Katrina evacuees.
And we sent 37 emergency personnel to assist the impacted areas.
Just last year an additional 1.1 million Americans fell into poverty
last year, and in response we created the first of its kind local
Working Families Tax Credit.
We helped over 9,500 San Francisco working families claim $2.2
million dollars locally and leverage an additional $20 million
dollars in federal tax credits.
And as Medicaid and Medicare face $35 billion dollars in federal
we have expanded universal health care for San Franciscans up
to the age of 25.
And as Governor Schwarzenegger balanced his state budget by cutting
City revenues $25 million dollars,
And cut funding to our public schools by some $60 million dollars,
we balanced our budget by protecting vital services and making
an historic investment of $30.6 million dollars in our public
Ladies and gentleman - it has never been more important to be
a San Franciscan.
We are unique in our refusal to be defined or diminished by the
divisive ideology of "us vs. them."
More importantly, we are adamant about making tough decisions
and leading by example.
San Francisco, today, is earning a foothold in burgeoning industries
like biotech,life sciences, stem cell, clean technology and digital
media - and in the process we are re-shaping the global economy.
It's happening at the Hunters Point Shipyard
a symbol of
the city that we once were - And now the city we are becoming.
This sprawling site that once employed 8,000 San Franciscans
will soon become a vibrant center for Clean Technology.
Strong tides, high winds, constant waves, abundant sunshine,
combined with our highly educated workforce and academic resources,
uniquely positions Bay View and our City to become an international
leader in this emergent industry.
Clean Tech, which is projected to create up to 114,000 new jobs
statewide in the next 5 years, is one of the most significant
economic opportunities for San Franicsco today.
We will create a Clean Technology Advisory Council to advance
the creation, adoption and use of Clean Technology in San Francisco.
Working in partnership with Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, we created
and passed, just yesterday, a clean tech payroll tax exemption
to attract companies in the vanguard of the industry.
This targeted tax exemption will do the same for Clean Tech as
our biotech tax credit did for that industry.
Over the last 25 years, we have watched as biotechnology has
evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry, creating more than
100,000 new jobs in the Bay Area alone.
And while there are over 900 life-science companies in the Bay
Area, until recently there was not one headquartered in San Francisco.
Thanks to our biotech tax credit, championed by Supervisor Alioto-Pier,
and the phenomenal pace of growth at Mission Bay, San Francisco
is destined to become a central hub for this dynamic industry.
Companies like Five Prime and Sirna Therapeutics have recently
moved to the new Mission Bay and more are on their way.
When completed, Mission Bay will be home to over 30,000 new permanent
jobs in life-sciences, biotech and related fields.
Increasingly, the world is looking to us in San Francisco to
end the scourge of HIV/AIDS.
To find a cure for cancer. To find solutions to genetic disorders
like sickle cell anemia, Parkinson's, diabetes and Alzheimer's.
Today, thanks to our focused strategy and our successful bid
to house California's stem cell institute, San Francisco and the
Bay Area are ready to lead the world in these new discoveries.
And thanks to the work of our Digital Media Advisory Council,
we are poised to realize the incredible potential of companies
that will soon rival the likes of Pixar, positioning San Francisco
to become the new "Digital Hollywood."
Companies like Lucas Arts, Wild Brain, and The Orphanage.
San Francisco and our mission as a city has never been more vital.
Thousands of jobs are coming online as well - transforming our
economy and our workforce.
Making it imperative that our students study literature AND molecular
life sciences; writing AND applied physics; history AND chemistry.
Fortune, after all, as Louis Pasteur once noted - favors the
prepared mind. That's why I am proud to announce that we will
create a new high school dedicated to discovery, innovation and
a school dedicated to preparing the minds of San
Francisco's next generation.
The Science and Technology Academy will be a unique partnership
between the City, the School District, the University of California,
San Francisco State, City College and the private biotech and
commercial life sciences sector.
Located at Mission Bay, the Academy will create an historic nexus
between government, education, industry and the community, co-locating
high school, two-year, four-year and graduate programs.
It will offer untold opportunities for collaboration, helping
teachers stay current in their fields and it will create unparalleled
possibility by cultivating the creativity we need to sustain our
In this era of shrinking education and research funding - at
a moment when the federal government is shortchanging the No Child
Left Behind Act by some$13.1 billion dollars and also cutting
the National Science Foundation budget by more than $100 million
at a moment when our Governor is engaged in a fruitless
and misguided battle with our teachers
The Science and Technology Academy is an investment in
our children and an investment in our future.
It will be an incubator for their imaginations, expanding their
capacity to think and to dare.
It will be a magnet for talent and a gateway to lifelong employability.
Because while economic growth is a pre-requisite for expanding
opportunity to everyone - a trained, qualified workforce is a
pre-requisite for economic growth itself.
Whether you're a chef or a carpenter, a teacher or a doctor,
today's workforce competes globally on a web enabled playing field
- sharing knowledge and resources in real time - without regard
to geography or regard to distance.
In this environment, the ability of our workforce to compete
is no longer guaranteed simply by graduating from high school.
Rather, it is guaranteed by providing lifelong learning to create
We're competing directly with Mumbai, India; Wellington, New
Zealand; and Dublin, Ireland.
It's not enough to provide skills for employment - we must also
provide tools for collaboration and innovation.
That's why we are partnering with the School District for example,
to expand Mandarin language immersion.
This landmark program will create a pipeline for qualified teachers
through exchange opportunities, help improve academic achievement
and expand our students' capacity to compete in this new age.
We have also made universal, affordable Wireless internet a top
We must view access to information as a fundamental government
service akin to libraries or public schools.
Internet access will allow San Franciscans to become proficient
in the language of technology and connect each and every one of
us to the jobs and opportunities of the new economy.
But the internet, schools and libraries alone are not enough.
We must also ensure that there are jobs available to residents
here in San Francisco to improve their own communities.
That's why we have created CityBuild.
An initiative that utilizes municipal construction projects to
deliver training and employment opportunities to city residents.
I would like to thank Supervisor Maxwell for the tremendous leadership
she has shown in making CityBuild a reality.
We will connect San Franciscans with the thousands of jobs created
by capital projects like Laguna Honda Hospital and Hetch Hetchy
In those areas of our city, where life experience often outweighs
hope - and disappointment too often erupts in violence - City
Build and initiatives like it are helping to replace despair with
But we know all too well, economic development and job creation
are only sustainable if our streets are safe.
That's why we've increased police staffing levels - Training
220 new recruits by the end of the fiscal year, accelerating civilianization
and returning officers to the streets.
We are focused on keeping our streets and city safe today - but
we have not lost sight of the need to prepare for what may come
We do not know when disaster will strike, but we do know that
We are San Franciscans, after all - and we are mindful of our
Barely 16 years after the Loma Prieta earthquake, San Francisco
is more ready than ever to respond to a catastrophe - manmade
The Disaster Council, which had not met regularly in over 4 years,
now meets quarterly.
We have secured some $80 million dollars in Federal Homeland
Security grants, money that we are using to expand our local and
regional capacities to respond to an emergency.
San Francisco has been tasked with creating a first-of-its-kind
regional emergency response plan that brings together the 10 Bay
Area Counties, Oakland, San Jose and the State Office of Emergency
Most notably, we have updated and revised our Emergency Operations
Plan for the first time in over 10 years.
And we have created a new, second Emergency Operations Plan.
This document, which never existed before, is the nuts and bolts
of our emergency response. It establishes a comprehensive plan
to deal with earthquakes as well as other catastrophic events.
And we are putting it to the test. Because the truth is, any
emergency response plan is a living, working document.
That's why our emergency services now conduct monthly tabletop
and field exercises.
For the first time ever, City and regional first responders are
simulating disasters like the London and Madrid bombings, ensuring
that our response is coordinated, fast and effective.
And because we can only truly rely on ourselves to see us safely
through an emergency, we will create our own urban search and
Led by professionals from the Fire Department and Departments
of Public Works and Building Inspection, San Franciscans will
now have even greater ability to rescue residents trapped by a
Whether it's an earthquake, tsunami or a terrorist attack, San
Francisco's first-responders are ready to do their job.
But San Franciscans must be ready too - especially within the
first critical 72 hours following a disaster.
So I ask every San Franciscan - Are You Ready?
Do you have the water, food, radio, flashlight and batteries
that you'll need for yourself, your roommates or your family?
Do you have a first aid kit?
Do your kids know what to do and where to go?
Do you have a carrier for your pet?
Do you have essential prescriptions at the ready?
I urge all San Franciscans to go online to 72hours.org - to learn
how to become emergency ready.
While readiness kits are essential, there is another way for
San Franciscans to prepare for an emergency.
Our Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams are a critical element
of our ability to respond in a disaster.
Currently some 8,000 San Francisco residents are active NERT
volunteers, trained and ready to help their families and neighbors
safely through an emergency.
Over the next several years, we will use Homeland Security money
to continue expanding this national model, increasing the number
of NERT-ready San Franciscans by over 2,000.
I applaud Supervisor Ma for her leadership on NERT and her support
in finding creative ways to make sure our residents and our neighborhoods
are emergency ready.
We will also expand ALERT, or Advanced Level Emergency Response
Training, to increase the number of neighborhood leaders, trained
and ready to assist other San Franciscans and first responders
during a disaster. As both your Mayor and as your neighbor, I
urge every San Franciscan to become NERT certified
your disaster kit
To do everything within your power to become emergency ready.
The City is doing its part - we need you to do yours.
Without doubt, the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina made clear
the absolute necessity for individual emergency readiness.
It also laid bare the catastrophe of American poverty.
A catastrophe that we all know too well
there are places
in our city where streets are littered with blighted hope and
Streets where violent crime remains unacceptably high.
It is clear - we cannot afford to wait for our national political
leaders to find the will to address these problems.
It's up to us to create a new political paradigm - one tailored
to the possibilities of our new world but anchored in the reality
of our communities.
That's why, in August, we launched City Safe.
We've adopted a new approach to crime that focuses on the fundamentals
of violence prevention: youth services, community development,
job creation and a transformed community policing strategy tailored
to the specific needs of our neighborhoods.
This new community policing strategy places two community organizers
and designates two police lieutenants in every district to work
with residents to develop neighborhood specific anti-violence
Supervisor Mirkarimi has been our ally in our effort to make
community policing a more effective tool in the fight against
I thank him for his efforts.
These action plans are a blue print for a safer city, coordinating
everything from job training and placement, to education and street
light improvements, to an expanded police presence in targeted
areas throughout the City.
I'd like to acknowledge the community policing team here with
I Thank you for your commitment to our City.
We have high expectations of you and every confidence that you
will meet them.
This team is on the streets and in the community every day.
Working in particular to connect at-risk youth with education
and economic opportunity to help them build a future.
However we also bear an equal responsibility to our youth already
This year we will reform Log Cabin Ranch, to create a model of
rehabilitation that educates youth and provides long-term support
to help them make a new start.
As part of our goal of redirecting our juvenile population away
from the California Youth Authority, we will explore the development
of Hidden Valley Ranch as a possible regional CYA.
We also continue to search for innovative solutions to the problems
of crime and violence.
Today marks the end of the 90-day trial period for the Western
Addition's Safety Cameras - and the data is encouraging.
Initial figures show that crime dropped 32% at the corner of
Eddy and Buchanan.
Assaults, robberies and burglaries are all down as when compared
with the same period the year before.
In response to this early data, and at the request of the community.
We will place additional safety cameras in high crime areas in
the Mission, Hunters Point and the Bayview.
The new cameras will go up on the same basis as our original
pilot for 90 days.
They will be assessed for effectiveness and community support
before we determine whether or not we will make them permanent.
Though we cannot defeat poverty or crime with a single camera
or a single program, we can create lasting and visible achievements
that will sustain the expectation that each year will bring greater
opportunity than the last.
That is why we created the Communities of Opportunity.
To rethink and retool the way the city delivers services in partnership
with CBOs and residents.
It empowers one lead agency to affect change, with the freedom
and capacity to do what is right for the community.
Instead of City Hall telling residents what they need, Communities
of Opportunity puts decision making in the hands of real people.
Under the leadership of the residents of Alice Griffith, where
we piloted this initiative,
We created a parent university, expanded day care, resurfaced
streets, planted greener refurbished housing and built a new Opportunity
There residents can find training connected to real jobs, access
the working families credit and health care, and learn how to
And that is the key - because whether you're living in Alice
Griffith, Bernal Heights, the Sunset or the Richmond - it's jobs
and asset building that will erase poverty and ease the burden
for our working families and middle class.
For our working families the equation is simple: a stable high-paying
job makes it possible to build assets - and assets make it possible
to buy a home and raise a family in the City.
These are the fundamentals for making San Francisco a family
friendly city - a goal for this administration and something we
are making steady progress towards.
Unemployment is down 30% in the last 21 months
jobs have been created since the beginning of 2004
experiencing a 5.1% increase in sales tax revenue
36 companies have relocated their headquarters to San Francisco,
19 in the last 9 months alone
companies like CH2M Hill,
US Bank, Current TV, Cathay Pacific and Olivia Travel that provide
stable jobs and livable wages.
We are helping families build assets through pioneering initiatives
like Bank on San Francisco, which helps residents enter the financial
mainstream by opening bank accounts.
I'd like to acknowledge Treasurer Cisneros who has taken the
lead developing this national model.
We are also opening doors to home ownership - making it possible
for more San Franciscans to realize the dream of owning their
Working with Supervisor Elsbernd, a champion of homeownership,
we've established Home 15/5, setting a goal to build 15,000 new
units of housing over the next 5 years.
It's an ambitious goal - when you consider that in the 1990s
housing production was just over 1,000 units annually, or just
over 10,000 units for the entire decade.
We have set a goal we can - and must achieve.
Over the next 5 years, we will see the construction of more than
3,000 housing units, every year - the highest annual level of
housing construction since the City was rebuilt after 1906.
We will create 25,000 new jobs and generate $4.8 billion dollars
in new construction activity
We will build close to 5,000
new homes - affordable to low- and very low-income households
with the highest annual production of affordable housing ever.
We will also make a lasting investment in neighborhood planning.
Across the city, we are collaborating with San Franciscans to
create a more livable and family friendly city.
Plans for the Market-Octavia area, Balboa Park and the Central
Waterfront are nearing completion.
And this fall we will begin work on the Geary Corridor, Glen
Park and Visitacion Valley Plans.
In the last 12 months we have completed plans for Transbay, Rincon
Hill and Mid-Market areas - making available opportunities for
the construction of thousands of new housing units - and the enormous
community benefits that come with them.
And by next year, the Third Street Light Rail will be completed
- furthering our commitment to making San Francisco a transit
first City and greatly expanding MUNI's capacity to get San Franciscans
where they need to go - most notably to and from the Southeast
sector of the city.... Anchored by new housing and revitalized
economic corridors. Brightened by open space and parks. Both walkable
and accessible to transit. Notable for public art and smart design
These plans set a new standard of livability, one that includes
such tangible abstracts as architectural excellence and design.
Because the time has come to advance architecture and urban design
that elevates civic pride and inspires the mind.
We will set clear expectations for excellence.
Engaging builders, architects, community leaders and organizations
in the understanding that every act to construct and change, however
small, is a chance to improve our city's livability.
We know, though, that business as usual will keep us from reaching
Under new leadership, both the Planning and Building Inspection
Departments are beginning much needed reforms.
We've invested substantially in new staff and technology to streamline
permitting and planning.
And we are committed to eliminating the backlog of over 20,000
units to speed the approval process.
Assessor Phil Ting is our partner in this effort to make city
government work smarter.
He has made it a priority to eliminate the four-year backlog
of new construction appraisals that cost the city millions in
For families, though, while home ownership, asset building and
jobs are important - livability is determined first and foremost
by the quality of our public education system.
That's why we have made an unprecedented commitment to our schools,
our students and our teachers.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that quality teaching makes
a real difference in student results and academic achievement,
our schools are seeing a steady decline in teachers with four
or more years of experience.
They are leaving just at the point when they have mastered the
art of teaching largely because they cannot afford to live in
We must turn this tide.
Over the next 5 years, we will make a significant investment
to bring the best and the brightest to teach in difficult-to-recruit
subject areas and hard-to-staff schools.
We will create a new pilot initiative that will allow the city
to repay student loans for qualified math, science and special
We will create a first-time home buyer's program that helps teachers
and their families buy their first home in San Francisco.
But we can still do more to improve our schools and to encourage
families to stay and raise their children in San Francisco.
Just this past September, we rolled out the first phase of universal
We will expand this effort so that every San Francisco child,
without exception - has the advantages of early learning by 2009.
We will make the Working Families Tax Credit permanent so that
more working families can access the federal earned income tax
credit and save more of the money they earn.
We've set a goal to make universal After-School a reality for
all elementary and middle school kids, so that San Francisco's
youth have a safe place to play and study during the critical
We will launch an information and referral website created by
parents for parents, to better connect families to the incredible
resources and services available in the city.
And we will do more for our homeless families to help them leave
the cycle of homelessness.
The current homeless family system of care helps families only
after they are in crisis.
It is a backwards approach that has resulted in extraordinarily
high-costs and unequal returns.
Because once a family has fallen into despair, it is exponentially
more difficult to return them to stability.
This system must be reformed.
We will apply the same innovative Housing First approach to our
homeless families - that has provided 1,025 homeless adults with
a place to call home.
And has helped create - over 1,592 units of new permanent supportive
I'd like to recognize Supervisor Dufty for his work helping us
get this far.
Housing First will help open the door to permanency for families
just as it has done for single adults.
In the next year, we will refocus the homeless family system
to help our poorest families find stability by expanding eviction
prevention programs and augmenting our rental housing fund.
But having a home goes beyond just four walls.
It's about being part of a neighborhood and the larger community.
That's why we are shaping a new urban environment.
Creating a city rich with public art, green spaces, clean streets,
and community gardens.
We're tapping our creative best to create a more livable city.
We've broken ground on the new Academy of Sciences that will
meet the world's highest standards for green building design.
We've completed the new Octavia Boulevard, transforming an elevated
freeway into a green way anchored by a vibrant new park.
We've opened the new De Young Museum, already an international
And we have inspired a renaissance of public art that can be
experienced at over 200 sites across the city - like the David
Best sculpture at Hayes Green or Michael Christian's ambitious
new work called "Flock" that will be coming to Civic
Center next month.
It is here, in our public spaces - our streets, our squares,
our parks, our buildings - that the resourcefulness and imagination
of our City is revealed. Just last June, Mayors from around the
world joined me in signing the United Nations Environmental Accords.
These accords reflect our commitment to make San Francisco a
model of urban greening and sustainable living - investing in
renewable energy and open space, increasing recycling and improving
neighborhood parks. With these accords, we made a commitment to
the world and to our city.
We can do better - and we will.
We are launching a new initiative that will allow us take a green
leap forward in the next 5 years.
Thanks to our newly adopted budget and our Livable City Initiative
we will invest $11 million dollars to transform major thoroughfares
like Van Ness and 19th Avenues into lushly planted thoroughfares.
Retail corridors like San Bruno and Leland Avenues and Polk Street
will express their unique neighborhood character with distinctive
gateways, trees and flowers.
We will plant 25,000 new trees.
Residential districts will be improved block-by-block with traffic
Schoolyard gardens will take root and new parks will bloom.
We will create a matching grant program called the Community
To encourage neighborhoods to partner with the city and transform
unused public lands, medians and sidewalks into landscaped, friendly
And this spring, we will shut down the polluting Hunters Point
Power Plant - for good.
And we will expand our Community Benefits Districts to include
6 new neighborhoods, further building on this proven, grassroots
economic development tool, that 5 communities have already adopted.
We will introduce a landmark Better Streets ordinance that sets
comprehensive standards for landscaping and street design.
I look forward to working with the Supervisors to share this
vision and make it a reality for the city.
Greening, though, is just part of making our City more livable.
The Livable City Initiative will also make San Francisco a leader
in green building design, setting the highest standards of efficiency
and sustainability for new developments.
We are also looking at long-term solutions to the problem of
energy costs and energy consumption.
That's why I have directed all city departments to place solar
panels on their roofs.
Because for every 50,000 square feet of solar panels we install,
We will generate 500 kilowatts of energy - enough to power a
building the size of City Hall.
Truly, creating a sustainable - livable city is an environmental
imperative and an economic necessity.
As we re-shape our urban environment, we are re-imagining San
Francisco as a city of possibility
A city that will attract
families - and so nurture the next generation.
A city that will attract economic investment - and so ensure
that our basic needs are met.
A city that will attract talent and creativity - and so guarantee
that we are positioned to connect, collaborate and compete in
the new world economy.
We are looking to the future, even as we tend to the present.
For we recognize that we can neither thrive nor compete if we
don't first fulfill our obligation to take care of those living
in our city.
That means providing universal health care access for ALL San
We estimate there are 83,000 San Franciscans without health care
This does not mean, though, 83,000 San Franciscans are without
In fact, many of these residents already access primary care
through the City's comprehensive health system.
Every year over 98,000 people are seen at SF General and more
than 100,000 at the 15 primary-care clinics across the city.
We spend over $1 billion dollars annually - yet still thousands
of San Franciscans fall through the health care cracks every year.
We must do better.
We must create universal access for all residents.
But, how do we do this?
One - we will audit our public health system to re-engineer primary
care delivery so we know what's working and what's not.
Two - we will build on the lessons learned at the Tom Waddell
Clinic, where we have cut visit time from 90 minutes to 45 minutes,
shortened waits and increased productivity by 30%.
Savings like this will allow us to provide more immunizations
and checkups to more patients throughout the City's network of
care - without increasing costs.
Three - we will expand clinic hours so that working families
can access the care they need on evenings and weekends.
And lastly - we will hire a new Chief Operating Officer to work
with the Department of Public Health to ensure universal access.
At every level, we are investing in a health care system that
will sustain us through this new century - by providing universal
access for every San Franciscan, young and old alike.
Senior citizens represent the fastest growing population in the
City, accounting for over 18% of our residents.
With advanced age, comes the need for more services and increased
care, both to prevent elder abuse and neglect, and to ensure that
seniors can remain in their homes, living in dignity and in place
rather than high cost, impersonal institutional care settings.
To help make this possible we will create a new Long Term Care
Coordinating position to ensure that our seniors have access to
the full array of living and care options.
This is compassionate policy and good government.
And it is also a clear illustration of our resolve to reform
the way San Francisco does business.
If we are to compete with cities like Toronto, Tokyo and Tel
Aviv, we can no longer afford to do things simply because that's
how they've always been done.
If we are to compete we must first put our house in order.
SFStat is the first step.
This innovative management tool is transforming the way city
We've eliminated 1,500 positions and reduced payroll by $78 million
We have consolidated 6 city departments.
Workers comp costs are down 15% from the previous year, a savings
of $5.6 million dollars and overtime is down $9.3 million dollars
as compared to 2 years ago.
The Fire Department alone has lowered overtime by $2.7 million
dollars. We have reduced the city's vehicle fleet by 21% resulting
in $1.2 million dollars in annual savings.
Cell phone use by city workers has been reduced by one-third
- saving taxpayers $1 million dollars.
And we have initiated new cost-saving measures, investing some
$10 million dollars in efficiency projects that will produce an
estimated $23.7 million dollars in reduced costs - or increased
revenues over the next 10 years.
And we have invested in a 3-1-1 system, that will greatly improve
customer service and satisfaction at City Hall.
Imagine having one point of contact - one number to call - answered
by a human being. 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
to report your wallet stolen, to have graffiti removed, or to
have the street lamp in front of your house fixed.
3-1-1 will revolutionize the way the City does business, making
City Hall instantly accessible and more accountable.
We have also undertaken a comprehensive overhaul of San Francisco's
century-old Civil Service system.
We will require mandatory performance evaluations - as the cornerstone
of efficient and effective management. And since 43% of our workforce
is now 50-years or older, we have directed all departments to
create a seamless workforce transition plan to ensure there is
no interruption in essential services. We will also simplify civil
service rules, which comprise 4-encyclopedia-sized volumes. The
old rules relied on a cumbersome hiring process.
It could take a City Department 6-12 months to hire a qualified
candidate - compromising our ability to compete for the best and
Today, thanks to the reforms that we are putting in place, it
will soon take just 60 days for departments to make a permanent
We simply cannot afford to do business as usual.
I am firmly committed to reforming City Government and our civil
Across the board, City Hall is responding to the challenges of
this new age.
We have become more nimble and more flexible, providing better
services more efficiently
and we are doing it in partnership
with our residents.
The concept for governing a city today is simple: government
works only if the people it serves are connected to the services
That's why Project Homeless Connect has proven such an effective
A solution that we see in action every month at Bill Graham Auditorium.
Since we started Project Homeless Connect last October, some 11,000
San Franciscans have volunteered their time to help connect over
5,000 homeless individuals with food, medical care and other vital
We've partnered with over 150 private companies like Lens Crafters,
Nextel and LuxorCabs, as well as over 100 non-profits, including
Dolores Street Community Services, the Haight Ashbury Clinic and
Glide Memorial, tappinto our city's diverse network of resources,
expanding our capacity to care.
We've provided hundreds of homeless San Franciscans with immediate
detox, shelter and housing with case management, helping them
take the first step toward stability.
One such person is with us today. Kendra Stewardson, is a Vietnam
Veteran and transgendered.
She is also the Homeless Connect Volunteer of the Year - and
a former Connect client.
Last December, a Connect volunteer found Kendra lying in a doorway
on Larkin Street.
She agreed to go to a linkage station.
She was given lunch, a check-up and housing.
And that's when Kendra started to turn her life around.
Today, Kendra is in permanent housing and is a member of Homeless
Connect's Senior Leadership Team - teaching Connect volunteers
how to approach homeless people.
Kendra's story is but one example of the extraordinary outcomes
that can be achieved when we refuse to accept the status quo and
instead dare to ask "What If."
Kendra is just one reason why 17 cities, including Miami, Chicago,
Portland and Atlanta are taking part in a National Homeless Connect
Day on December 8, when cities across the country will implement
San Francisco's model of innovation and change.
And Kendra is just one reason why now, more than ever, it is
essential for us to be San Franciscans.
In this era of divisive prosperity and growing poverty, when
mediocrity has replaced talent and ideology has trumped compassion
at the very highest levels of government
San Francisco stands
for something great.
This city has always been more than a place
is an idea.
The idea that diversity builds a stronger society
tolerance advances democracy
that compassion is essential
for a better world. This is what we stand for.
This not an idea, however, without adversaries.
That's why it has never been more important to be a San Franciscan.
From Washington to Sacramento, the very foundations that support
a diverse and tolerant city like ours are being undermined and
hollowed out. But here, anchored firmly in our enduring values,
San Francisco is leading the country and the world by setting
a different example.
We are on a clear path forward, powered by our imagination and
We've successfully adapted to the new world economy, laying stake
to new industries and emerging as a center of creativity, discovery,
talent and tolerance.
I have set the bar high - and we continue to push it higher,
taking risks and identifying solutions to the challenges we share.
Ladies and gentleman - the state of our city is strong and growing
stronger every day.
Ahead of us lie great challenges - and great days.
But we are ready.
We are a small city that dares big
bound only by our capacity
In these times when the very idea of a city like ours is under
attack - I offer a vision not for a hollow city but for a whole
And I ask you to join me as we embark on a shared voyage of possibility.